The following article was written by my son Michael for his Facebook page, and we thought at least some of my readers might benefit from it.
I Surrender… Some?
Most of us know the hymn “I Surrender All”. But when was the last time we really thought about the words?
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 blessèd Saviour,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
How many of us can honestly sing that? Do any of us truly surrender everything to God? Do we really forsake all our worldly pleasures? Do any of us really give ourselves completely to the Saviour who died for us?
Not That — but I’ll Surrender Everything Else
God, I know You want me to go speak to that person about you. But really, that’s pushing me out of my comfort zone. It would make me feel awkward. And they might not like it. I won’t do that, but I’ll surrender everything else to You.
Yes, I have that secret sin that nobody knows about, that I do when nobody else is around. But really, God, it’s not that bad. I like the way I am and I won’t change that, but I’ll surrender everything else to You.
I have some movies that have some inappropriate scenes, or encourage a worldly mindset, or stir up sinful, fleshly desires. I know You want me to get rid of them, but I like these movies. I like the way they appeal to my fleshly desires, and I don’t care if it’s sinful. I enjoy them, and I won’t get rid of them, but I’ll surrender everything else to You.
I ought to “submit myself to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13). That means I should obey the government, even the stupid laws, the laws I don’t like. But God, don’t You think it’s unreasonable to expect me to obey the speed limit? No, when I’m in a hurry, I’m going to drive as fast as I think I can safely get away with. But I’ll surrender everything else to You.
I waste too much time doing things that have no value, time that could be spent serving You. But I like those things, and You’re really asking a lot if You want me to go out of my way to serve You. But I’ll surrender everything else.
I know I need to go apologise to that person. But I can’t do that, God. I’m too proud to admit I was wrong. And the problem was 90% their fault, anyway! I won’t go apologise, but I’ll surrender everything else to You.
I have a self-focused attitude. I want to do what I want to do, and I don’t care as much as I should about how it impacts other people. But God, I’m just looking out for myself like everyone else. I know You want me to love people the way You do, and that You loved us enough to die for us, but I’m not prepared to do that. I know You want me to put others first, but I want what I want. I’m a nice person – isn’t that good enough? I really do love others, God, I really do, I just love myself more. But I’ll surrender everything else.
I know what You think of my music collection. I know there are some things You want me to change. But I like my music, and really, it’s not that bad. I won’t change my music, but I’ll surrender everything else to You.
I know I should forgive that person. But God, You saw what he did to me! I don’t want to forgive that! I won’t forgive that! No, I won’t do what You want, but I’ll surrender everything else.
You wouldn’t like some of my books, God. They portray sin as fun and harmless, or they encourage worldly mindsets, or they stir up sinful desires. But I like these books. They’re exciting, they’re fun to read. I won’t get rid of them, but I’ll surrender everything else to you.
I should be reading my Bible more. But God, it’s hard to understand, and parts of it are boring! I’ll read through an exciting novel of the same size in a few weeks, but isn’t it good enough if I get through the Bible in… maybe two or three years? I don’t want to take more time out of my day to read my Bible, but I’ll surrender everything else to You.
I know I should be memorising more Scripture verses. You told us to hide Your Word in our hearts. But God, it’s so time-consuming! And my memory isn’t very good! I won’t memorise Scripture, but I’ll surrender everything else to you.
I should be spending more time in prayer. But God, I have things to do! I’m too busy to talk to You! I’ll try to squeeze in time to talk to You for a couple minutes this evening… if I’m not too tired… But I’ll surrender everything else to You.
I should have been in church last Sunday. But it was such a nice day for a barbecue with the family! Really, God, You’re trying to interfere with my life in so many ways. It’s my life to do with as I want. I’ll be in church if I’m not too tired and I’m feeling fine and there’s nothing else I want to do. I won’t make it a priority to be there no matter what, but I’ll surrender everything else.
I know You want me to stand up publicly for what’s right. But God, some of my friends won’t like it! I’ll lose friends over this! People will hate me! They hated You, and I don’t want to risk that happening to me. People don’t like to be made to feel uncomfortable, and when I stand up for what’s right, they know it’s true and it makes them feel guilty. And when they feel guilty, instead of repenting, they attack me, and I don’t like that. I won’t stand up publicly for what’s right, but I’ll surrender everything else to You.
You Ask Too Much, God!
I know You want to have first place in my life. But really, God, aren’t You asking rather a lot? I can’t put You on the throne of my life, because I kinda like sitting there myself. I want to put myself first. I really do love You, but I love myself even more. I know, I know, You died for me, You gave everything for me. But isn’t second place good enough for You? Or third? Or fourth? Or fifth? But I’ll surrender everything else.
Yes, God, I surrender all. Unless it’s something I like, or the cost is too high, or it pushes me out of my comfort zone, or it might make people dislike me, or it inconveniences my life, or it takes too much time that I want to spend on other things, or it’s just not as much fun, or….
It’s my life, and I’m gonna live it my way. And I really don’t appreciate that little twinge in my conscience when you want me to do something, and I wish You would stop it and leave me alone. I’ll go Your way and do what You want if I feel like it, if it’s not too far from what I want to do, and then and only then will I surrender all to You. I know You want me to live a holy life, but I’m having too much fun!
What Do Our Actions Say?
Most of us would never actually come out and say any of that. But do our actions say it? Do we go ahead with what we want, ignoring that little twinge in our conscience, and coming up with excuses for why it’s not really all that bad? Are there things we’re hanging on to that we won’t surrender to God? Do we do what we want, then dress it up in spiritual terms, perhaps even twisting Scripture to make it look like we’re doing what God wants when deep inside we know we’re still just going our own way? Are we too busy having fun to be holy?
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
Read through the things above again, and prayerfully consider if any of them apply to you – probably every single one of us is guilty of at least a couple of them. Try to think of some other areas in which you’re not surrendering everything – pray and ask the Lord to show you.
And then change it. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Ask the Lord to help you, to give you the strength to change. Tell a friend and ask them to pray for you – perhaps ask them to help you, and maybe hold you accountable. If you’ve hurt someone, swallow your pride, apologise, and make it right. But whatever you do, don’t be content with being a half-hearted Christian.
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
If we fail to surrender everything – everything – to God, we’re robbing Him just as much as Israel was in Malachi’s day.
Christ gave everything for us. He died for us. The least we can do is to live wholly for Him. To do anything else is a horrible rejection of His love for us, to say that His death doesn’t really matter all that much to us. Living a life dedicated to His service will come at a cost. But the cost will never come close to what He gave for us. And it is our duty. And if we serve Him faithfully, He will greatly bless.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow me.