“…Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” ~ 1 Peter 5:5
If you don't know the words to the hymn, I Surrender All, don't worry. It was written in 1896 by Judson W. Van DeVenter. Even while singing that song, people may fail to realize the power and significance of the words, “I surrender all”.
To Surrender All
What does it mean to surrender?
Simple definition of surrender from the Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary:
: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed
: to give the control or use of (something) to someone else
This is something most people refuse to do. By nature, we all need to feel we have control. Control is the thing we treasure. We want to have control and not be controlled by anything or anyone. Yet we would like to believe as Christians that we have surrendered our control to God. Yes, we have to surrender it because He will not act against our will.
To Forgive Is To Surrender
Did you know that to forgive someone is to surrender control to them? It means that you give up the right to hold that transgression against them. Some people tend to use past faults or hurts to control others. That becomes manipulation.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” ~ Psalm 103:12
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” ~ Isaiah 43:25
There will be times when we will need to ask forgiveness of others as well. The most difficult times are when we know we are right or justified in our words or actions, yet if the other person is offended, we must give up the right to defend ourselves and ask forgiveness anyway. Why? Because that is what love does.
Love is not what many take it to be. Most of us grow up thinking that love is something we feel for another. The truth is that love was never about feelings. Think about it. You love your child. Yet there are times when they do things that make you want to run away from home! But you care for them in spite of their behavior… or your feelings for them at that moment. Love does that because love is about what one does, not how one feels.
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” ~ Hebrews 6:10
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” ~ Hebrews 10:24
God did not so love the world that he had warm and fuzzy feelings about us. Man's sin made him so sad He wanted to destroy sin. That meant destroying man. But because He loved us so, He performed an act of love. He saved Noah to preserve man. He wanted us to live free from sin so performed an act of love. He gave us His Son, Jesus, to die in our place to pay the eternal price for sin. God surrendered His right to start over and loved us instead.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ~ John 3:16
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13
Failure To Surrender
What happens when we fail to surrender? There are many examples that can be mentioned from scripture. Here are the two that caused the most pain and will have eternal repercussions:
- Satan failed to surrender his pride and want to be worshiped. Because of this, sin was born.
- Adam and Eve failed to surrender their desire and curiosity to God's will and took the fruit. Because of their disobedience, sin and all of its consequences were transferred to humanity.
“By the multitude of thy merchandise (debates or arguments against God) they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned:…” ~ Ezekiel 28:16
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” ~ Genesis 3:6
Surrender Of The Will
Surrendering one's will is the path to love another.
- To love is to surrender your desire to hold things against one another.
- To love is to surrender your right to remain angry with one another.
- To love is to surrender your pride and to submit to one another.
- To love is to surrender your right to get even or offend one another.
- To love is to surrender your right to defend your stance against one another.
It is never easy. It can hurt sometimes. You might feel cheated and think yourself weak in doing so. But to love is not about you, is it? It's about others. They may never be changed by your actions, but in time, you will. And those who see the change will come to love you and will reciprocate.
Is this not what Jesus did? He surrendered His will to the Father and was obedient.
“…Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” ~ Luke 22:42
He surrendered so completely that He surrendered His life. He gave His all and held nothing back. Nothing! Perfect obedience. Total surrender…
“…All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all!”