When we surrender to God, we open our arms and hearts to let Him love us and lead us daily through the trials and tribulations of life.
Standing between the wooden pews at the little Baptist church where I grew up, our pastor would always close the service with the same song each week. As the pianist started to play, the pastor prayed like he always did—the "sinners" prayer. Then we would sing along with the piano:
"I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Jesus, my precious Savior,
I surrender all."
These days, I can barely sing that song without my eyes welling up with tears. I’ve spent over 40 years trying to understand what it means to surrender all to Jesus.
I get emotional when I think about how much God has done for me. All He ever asked of me was to trust Him with everything I have.
The word "surrender" sounds like something you do when you are giving up and giving in. For example, in a battle, the losing side will surrender, or give in, to their opponent before they are overtaken and destroyed.
Surrendering to God is similar; however, when we surrender to God, we give in to the One and only One who longs to give us life, not take it.
I often wonder if God looks at us and thinks: “Why are they doing it the hard way? Why don’t they just listen to me?”
I think the issue is that we really don’t understand what it means to surrender to God.
Maybe we think surrendering to God means we have to drive a beat-up car, live in a run-down apartment, and donate all of our money to feed the poor; or maybe it means going to a third-world country to be missionaries.
I can see how that might be a turn-off for some, especially for those that may be newer in their faith.
Isn’t it possible to surrender to God, right here and right now, in our daily, mundane life?
The short answer is yes! That is actually exactly what we’re supposed to do!
We Worship God Through Daily Surrender
Recently, in church, my pastor explained to us that surrendering to God is a form of worship. He explained that worship is not just something we do on Sunday morning, during the praise and worship service, but it is something we should do all the time.
God isn’t impressed by how loud and beautifully you sing, or by how high you’ve raised your hands if the rest of the week you fight with your husband and children, yell at and cut off other drivers on the freeway, or complain under your breath every time your boss walks out of the room.
Worshiping God must extend into our whole week because it is living our life in a way that is pleasing to God.
Surrender is worship in action. When we surrender to God, we are worshiping God.
When I think about it like this, it feels so much more doable than just giving up everything I have to show my commitment to my Savior.
I’ve put together a list of ways the Scripture says that we are to surrender to God. As you read through this list, search your heart to see if you need to work on any of these areas:
1. Commit Your Ways to God
"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act." (Psalm 37:5 ESV)
"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way." (Psalm 37:23 ESV)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
2. Study Scripture Every Day
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." (Joshua 1:8 ESV)
"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night." (Psalm 1:2 ESV)
3. Don’t Act Like Everyone Else
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2 ESV)
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8 ESV)
4. Pray About Everything
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
"Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV)
"Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18 ESV)
5. Express Your Gratitude to God
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)
"Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20 ESV)
6. Give Up What You Think You Want
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." (Galatians 5:16-17 ESV)
"And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" (Luke 9:23 ESV)
7. Be Generous and Giving
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." (Proverbs 11:24-25 ESV)
"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)
8. Keep Your Thoughts Pure
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9 ESV)
"And he said, 'What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.'" (Mark 7:20-23 ESV)
9. Make Sure Your Outward Appearance Reflects Your Heart
"Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works." (1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV)
"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)
10. Treat Others Like Christ Would Treat Them
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.“ (John 13:34 ESV)
God Says He Will Reward and Bless Us
The best news about all of this is that when we worship God in everything we do, He longs to show us favor with His blessings and rewards. God longs to bless His children and reward us when we obey.
Ephesians 3:20 (ESV) says He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” To tap into this amazing power, all we have to do is trust and obey Him.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17 ESV)
Here’s a short list of some of the many ways God rewards us for surrendering to Him:
Needs provided (2 Corinthians 9:8, Matthew 6:33)
Unexplainable joy (Psalm 4:7, Psalm 16:9, John 15:11, 1 Peter 1:8)
Peace and comfort (Psalm 4:8, Isaiah 26:3, John 14:27, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Fulfilled desires and answered prayers (Psalm 20:4, Psalm 37:4, Matthew 21:22)
While these rewards are meant to be experienced here on earth, there are also ones that we will experience after we physically die:
Eternal life (John 3:16, John 17:3, Romans 6:22, 1 John 2:17)
We get to spend eternity in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:4)
Crowns in heaven (James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, 2 Timothy 4:8
I don’t know about you, but surrendering to God doesn’t sound like giving up at all. When we surrender to God, we open our arms and hearts to let Him love us and lead us daily through the trials and tribulations of life.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Olaf Speier
Jennifer Jabbour resides in the scenic San Diego countryside with her husband, teenage son and daughter, and their hilarious English Bulldog. Jennifer has a B.A. in Integrated Business Communications and a life-long desire to share her faith with others so they can also experience the joy of having a relationship with God. She has finally decided it's time to go after her lifelong dream of writing and publishing her first book, and hopefully many, many more thereafter. Besides being a writer, Jennifer is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a photographer, and an avid outdoors-woman. She loves camping, hiking, running, and playing the piano in her free time.
You can keep up with Jennifer on her website https://www.jenniferjabbour.