A New Place of Surrender
All to Jesus, I surrender
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence, daily live.
I surrender all...I surrender all.
All to Thee my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
I grew up singing this old hymn quite frequently at church, but never really grasped the surrender aspect very well. I knew I was supposed to be a good Christian, go to church, and read my Bible, pray for my loved ones...you know...do all the right things. But I missed the understanding of what surrendering to Jesus was truly all about. It seemed to be reduced to a list of rules, instead of an ongoing relationship to deepen my trust in Him. Instead of basking in His love for me, I tried hard to make Him happy so He wouldn’t beat me over the head with His shepherd’s staff. And when I messed up (which happened more often than I’ll admit here), I felt like I had to get saved all over again, because obviously it didn’t “take” last time.
Now, I’m sure you have never experienced anything like that. But for the sake of whoever else might come across this...let’s dig a little deeper and talk about what God is doing right now. At least what I feel like He’s doing with me. Don’t worry, I won’t deem you to be guilty by association.
If you were able to attend the conference with Brian Simmons, you can probably recall the teaching from the Song of Solomon, and the powerful impact of the simple cry of the heart, “Let Him...” It’s the very beginning of the book, chapter 1, wasting no time to call us into an intimate relationship with the King – the Shepherd – Jesus – our beautiful One. “Let Him smother me with kisses – his Spirit-kiss divine.” It is the divine romance of our Lord and His bride...it’s Jesus and His body, the church...it’s Jesus and me. How personal you want to make it, is really up to you.
That Sunday morning after the conference Brian spoke about God choosing us. I thought it was great teaching, and I loved the revelation of the Word that he shared with us. But I also felt a stronger pull in my heart for more. Not a desire for more revelation or understanding, although that’s good too. But it was a longing to know Him more...to hear His voice more frequently...to see His face more clearly. I called it a ‘holy unsettling’ because I didn’t really know what else to call it. But I feel it was a call to surrender; and it was a feeling of desperation.
As the days have progressed, there continues to be a deepening cry of the heart, saying “Jesus, I just want You.” And I find myself on my knees wanting to simply be with Him, giving Him all that I am, or hope to be. This kind of surrender isn’t the same as when a military group takes a prisoner – when the soldier puts his hands in the air to signal that he is giving up so he isn’t killed. No, this isn’t the same thing. This is a yielding...a letting go of preferences and agendas and pre-conceived ideas...a submission for the sake of love. This is a choice. God doesn’t force us to trust Him, nor does He manipulate us into salvation. Not at all. Rather, He loves...and loves...and loves. He has already given everything for our redemption; the price is paid in full. This kind of surrender is much more than just accepting Jesus as Savior. Actually, we can think of salvation as step number one. It’s the door into the Kingdom. But how do we respond once we are in the Kingdom? How intimately do we want to be known by Him?
“Let Him...” I cannot escape this. And if you’re reading this, I pray you cannot escape it either. God created us to know Him and be known by Him. We were birthed out of His heart’s desire for intimacy, relationship, family, and communion. This simple phrase is an open invitation for us to allow Him access to every area of our hearts.
Will I let Him heal every broken place? Will I let Him reveal His higher ways? Will I let Him be everything I need? Will I let Him remove every hindrance in my relationship with Him? Will I let Him lead me into places that I don’t want to go? Will I let Him see the things I try to hide? Will I let Him love me the way He wants to? Will I let Him...
The questions can go on.
This level of surrender also partners with the aspect of purifying. When I draw near to Him in the quiet moments of the early morning, I am surrounded by His light. It’s an other-worldly brilliance, not to the natural eye, but to the heart. His light exposes everything, not to harm or embarrass, but to heal and restore. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:5. His presence is a fire that burns...consumes...and purifies. The Passion translation of Hebrews 12:29 says, “For our God is a holy, devouring fire!” The closer I get to Him, the more of His fire I experience. It will burn away things that compete for His affection...even some things that I like and have held on to for years. He will not be second place.
Am I willing to surrender to the point of being consumed by Him, devoured by Him? I think it’s easy for my first reaction to be, yes Lord, whatever you want...until He wants to do something that makes me uncomfortable or seems to be too difficult. And then the temptation to resort back to what I know seems to rise to the surface. It can be a defining moment. Will I let Him re-define what my comfort level should be?
This place of intimacy with Jesus is what we were created for. Are we willing to go there? The days of shallow Christianity are gone. God has come upon us in a fresh way, and we must respond. Now is the time for us to answer the questions for ourselves and decide if we will fully surrender to Him. Will we yield ourselves to His purifying fire? Will we let Him take control and so radically change our lives, that the people around us come to know Him, just by watching us?
Pastor Doug said it – revival has come. But we must take steps to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in order to continue the momentum He has begun.
I would encourage you this week to make time to be in God’s presence. Be intentional about it. Cancel something else if you have to. It’s that important. Sit with the Lord, and ask Him to speak to you...and then be quiet...and listen. Write down whatever He says, don’t try to analyze it, just write it down. Don’t assume it has to be some deep theological point; it could be a simple truth like, “I love you, and I delight in you!” Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new way. Other times this week, find some good worship music and allow your heart to come into His presence with thanksgiving. A grateful heart is often designated as a landing place for more of His goodness.
And remember your first love. Let’s not be reprimanded like the church at Ephesus, who were known for their good deeds and perseverance, but had abandoned their first love. God alone is our first love. He loved us first – long before we ever took a breath on the planet He made for us. He created us to be in relationship with Him. In this place of intimacy with the Lord, our hearts are stirred...and we can be fully satisfied.
But it begins with surrender. This is a new season, and a new place of surrender. He is moving in the earth...in our state...in our city...in us.