The Practice Of Surrender
By Rick Warren
— May 21, 2014
"If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me." Matthew 16:24 (NCV)
"When you decide to live a totally surrendered life, that decision will be tested. Sometimes it will mean doing inconvenient, unpopular, costly, or seemingly impossible tasks. It will often mean doing the opposite of what you feel like doing."
Paul's moment of surrender occurred on the Damascus road after he was knocked down by blinding light. For others, less drastic methods are needed to get our attention. Regardless, surrendering is never just a one-time event. Paul said, "I die daily." (1 Corinthians 15:31 NASB)
There is a moment of surrender and there is the practice of surrender.
The practice of surrender requires perseverance. It is moment-by-moment and lifelong. You may have to re-surrender your life fifty times a day: "If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives [daily] to follow me." (Matthew 16:24 NCV)
Let me warn you: When you decide to live a totally surrendered life, that decision will be tested. Sometimes it will mean doing inconvenient, unpopular, costly, or seemingly impossible tasks. It will often mean doing the opposite of what you feel like doing.
"Those who are living by their natural inclinations have their minds on the things human nature desires; those who live in the Spirit have their minds on spiritual things." (Romans 8:5 NJB)
We are, by nature, self-centered. When hurt by someone, your natural inclination is to hurt back. It is natural to hoard money instead of generously sharing it, to defend yourself when criticized, to hide your mistakes instead of confessing them, and to try to impress others. You can usually figure out what will please God by doing the opposite of your natural inclination.
Bill Bright founded Campus Crusade for Christ. Through the worldwide Crusade staff, his tract The Four Spiritual Laws, and the JESUS film (seen by over one billion people), it's estimated that over 150 million people have come to Christ and will spend eternity in heaven.
I once asked Bill, "Why did God use and bless your life so much?" He said, "When I was a young man I made a contract with God. I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom. It said 'From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.'"
Have you signed a contract like that with God? Or, are you still arguing and struggling with God over his right to do with your life as he pleases?
It is time to surrender - to God's grace, love, and wisdom.