Surrender. /səˈrendər/ Wait, what? No, I am not telling you what to do. I know no one wants to be told what to do, but have you tried considering it – surrendering? I know, you’ve probably thought that surrender is weak. It could probably even mean giving something up. The question is, what is this something? Do you have something that needs giving up? In one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions, to surrender means to give (oneself) up into the power of another [especially as a prisoner]. I know, it sounds too negative, right? What if I tell you that there is something so much more beautiful to surrendering? Perhaps you’ve already surrendered, but you still have these feelings – the guilt, shame, sadness, or remorse – welling up inside you? Maybe you haven’t surrendered to the right person, or worse… you haven’t surrendered anything at all.
Life is not easy, and I’ve told you about that. We’ve got ups and downs. Yes, a good God can give us problems, but he doesn’t give us anything we can’t give a solution to. It’s part of the Christian walk. We will get laughed at, judged, or even persecuted. It’s a tough road, but there will always be surrender – the best solution to all of the struggles we’ve been facing. Trust me, I didn’t have a perfect life! I used to live in the dark – doing stuff I wasn’t supposed to do, doubting God (or everything), losing confidence in myself, worrying about what people thought of me, dealing with my insecurities (A.K.A. the lies of the Devil), being haunted by the ghosts of my past, and feeling down and lonely. I am still a human being who can still feel stuff, you know? I’ve tried everything to get over all of these feelings that has been welling up inside me then. I’ve been there, done that. I tried gaining my self-confidence back by getting high grades, by excelling in all the stuff I love to do, perhaps even surrounding myself with people [to shrug my feelings of loneliness off]. I’ve even tried hiding it, to pretending it’s not there [or not acknowledging it], but there are days that it just comes back. One day you’re feeling spectacular, but the next you’re triggered by something, and it all comes back to you. All the doubts, negative thoughts, and insecurities come flooding back, and it hurts. It hurts because what I was feeling was something only I could fix, or so, I felt that way. It’s all a mess in my head, and I can’t seem to make the voices stop. They’re bringing me down, and I let them bring me down! I’ve been driven so much by fear that I’ve forgotten to focus on Him and become the person God intends me to be. There will always be bad days ahead of us… Perhaps these bad days can also be an opportunity for you to surrender your heart, or anything, really, that has been making you feel distant to our Father in Heaven.
“There, there.” I thought, “One last try.” I thought of joining a leadership retreat in my church. I was so exhausted of trying to fix this myself, and maybe I could get a grip on things when I refocused my eyes on Him. Sometimes all we need is reminding and encouraging from fellow pastors, d-group leaders, or anyone, and I’m glad I’ve come to the right place. Worshippping Him in the Praise & Worship portion of our retreat was amazing too. Have you felt that? You’re just singing praises to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and you just feel so overwhelmed? You feel the lyrics, and you feel like it sort of… connects to you, in a way. I can still remember what song I sang [and cried] my heart out. It’s Elevation Worship’s O Come To The Altar. It goes something like this,
Are you hurting and broken within,
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling.
Have you come to the end of yourself?
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling.
The lyrics got me. The words spoke to me, and the song just basically summed up what I have been feeling for the past few months of struggling. I thought, “Oh, this is it.” I felt it, the Holy Spirit, trying to say something through the song. Jesus is calling me, and all we have to do is to answer that call. He hasn’t given up on me, and I bet he hasn’t given up on you, either.
This reminds me of one of my favorite verses. It’s in Matthew 11:28 – 30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” To further explain this verse, I’d like to divide it into three parts.
v. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Have you ever been so exhausted with life? Are you trying to fix up the mess you’ve made? Sometimes, as I have observed, what’s keeping us busy is the meaningless work that we do, and this is what wears us down and makes us so burdened. Aren’t we all guilty of this? We are so pre-occupied with irrelevant stuff, and sometimes we forget to rebuild our eternal legacy. I have good news for you though, this is Jesus speaking –this is Him calling you. He offers rest for everyone, all we have to do is come to Him. This is where surrendering comes into the picture. We submit to His authority by being yoked to Him.
v. 29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Before I go on rambling about being yoked with Jesus, we should first know what is a yoke, in the first place.
These are oxen yoked together, oxen get yoked so that they could handle a specific task much easier. This is what Jesus is asking of you. He wants you to be yoked to Him so that He can guide you. If we’d look more closely though, it is Jesus really doing all the work for us. It’s nothing to worry about, though, He does the work but we are yoked to Him so we could enjoy the work together. He also says to learn from Him because He is gentle and humble. This is where Jesus reveals Himself to the people. He also promises to give rest to our souls.
v. 30 “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
He promises us that His yoke is easy, well, since the credit of the task goes to Him. So right now, you should think about it. Is it time for you to come to Jesus and be yoked to Him? Let Him lead you. You are not the master of your own life anymore, at this point onwards, you live for Him. Whose yoke are you under? Are you yoked to Jesus or are you yoked to something else?
The term “surrender” is also used in the battlegrounds. It’s when you give it all up to the conqueror. It’s when you raise a white flag and lay everything down, and let the winners take control of you. It’s quite similar to surrendering to God. He’s got a purpose for our lives, and how can we intend to have this purpose when we have not surrendered to God? What ultimately matters here is not what others people say about your life (not even your say about your own life), it’s all about what God says. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” If there’s one thing I guarantee you after reading this article, it’s that God has the perfect plan for you and me, and our job here is to surrender all of the worldly things you’ve been doing. Take it away from your life. You cannot serve two masters. Live for Him or not at all, it’s that simple. It’s time to refocus on Him. He is calling you for a life of eternity with Him.
This is the last reminder I want to share to you, and it is this: You have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you. You are not your own, for you have been made new. Struggles may come a Christian’s way, but our ultimate response is to surrender it all to Him. Keep on surrendering. Come to Him, and just give it to Him. It is no longer in our hands, but with God’s. Only in the hands of the Messiah can your mess be turned into a message, your test be turned into a testimony, a trial be turned into triumph, and a victim be turned into victory.