1. A yielding or giving up.
A yielding or giving up—that speaks of two things to me. It can mean defeat, or it can mean victory, depending on whom we yield or give up to. We can give up ourselves to despair and discouragement and the voice of the enemy—in surrendering ourselves in unbelief. Or we can give up, in our struggle with despair and discouragement, weakness, unbelief, whatever it is the enemy is trying to get us to surrender to, and yield in faith, (confidence in God’s power and not our own), and resign our whole entire person, body, mind, spirit, to His power, His Spirit in us, and His perfect work accomplished on our behalf for us. We may not understand it all, but we can resign ourselves, by choice to it’s working out in our lives.
No matter how small that surrender is—how weak that faith is—we can persist in resigning ourselves over to it, yielding to it, giving up to it. This is the surrender of faith.
What surrender is not, is a struggling in our own strength of will and resolve to become what God wants us to be. It is never accomplished in ourselves or of ourselves by the power of our will. So many Christians believe it is up to the strength of their will to keep themselves and surrender all to God. All the while, it is God at work in us, calling us to surrender, and then empowering us for it, and maintaining it by working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure—Philippians 2:13. What He requires, He makes provision for.
Andrew Murray, in His book, Absolute Surrender, says this:
“God Accomplishes Your Surrender
“I am sure there is many a heart that says: ‘Ah, but that absolute surrender implies so much!’ Someone says: ‘Oh, I have passed through so much trial and suffering, and there is so much of the self-life still remaining, and I dare not face the entire giving of it up, because I know it will cause so much trouble and agony.’
“Alas! alas! that God’s children have such thoughts of Him, such cruel thoughts. Oh, I come to you with a message, fearful and anxious one. God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you. Do we not read: “It is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure”? And that is what we should seek for - to go on our faces before God, until our hearts learn to believe that the everlasting God Himself will come in to turn out what is wrong, to conquer what is evil, and to work what is well-pleasing in His blessed sight. God Himself will work it in you.”
Surrender is a choice we make, to yield to the power of another. Whose power do you want to yield to? The choices are, 1) our own power, 2) the power of the spirits of darkness and deception, or 3) the power of God. Therefore, surrender is an act of faith in one of those powers. When we see that God’s power is true, God’s Word is true, yet we feel the strength of our flesh to hold on to its power, and struggle with the doubts and fears in our own mind, and the oppression of the enemy, we can know, that if we do not have to yield to any of it! We can know that all we need do is cry out to God, our Abba, and that act of faith in itself is a surrender to His power to come to our aid and deliver us. We are not yielding to the power of our own flesh or of the enemy if we cry out to God in our weakness for His power to come to our aid.
Often we think that we are not surrendering until we feel the full strength of that ability in ourselves to overcome every doubt, fear, and temptation. But the smallest act of faith, in crying out to God is an act of surrender, that says to Him, “this child does not want to yield to the powers that overwhelm him, and sees he is not able in himself to overcome them, but is putting trust in me by calling out to me.” He accepts our very weakest surrender. In fact it is in that weakness of utter helplessness in ourselves that true surrender is possible, as it cannot come from anything but faith in His power and not in ourselves at all.
“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God”- Luke 18:27
We may feel it impossible to bring ourselves to the kind of surrender God requires of us. But it is God who works in our hearts to desire that surrender, and it is God who always gives the enabling power to do what He requires of us. If we look at our hearts, we see ourselves, holding onto that life it has known, and power over itself and its rights. We look to God, and see that though it is impossible with us, it is possible with Him. We don’t have to wait to feel it. We can yield, give our hearts up to His power and ability over our hearts and wait on Him to do His work in filling us with His mind and heart by His Spirit that He has given us.
Faith is not a feeling. Faith is relying on a fact, receiving something as true—God’s existence is fact, His Word is fact, even though we do not have to understand it all to believe it and know it is truth. We can know it is truth and accept it. We can know God is alive and though we don’t know Him or understand Him completely or as we should, we can have faith in Him. Surrender is not a feeling either, but is an act, based on faith. We do not have to have all the answers to surrender, in faith, to God, that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who come to Him (Hebrews 11:6). And by coming, He will teach us more of Himself. If we are guided only by feelings than we are no better off than an animal that is a slave to every impulse for survival. But we have God’s Spirit indwelling us if we have been born again. God gave us the ability to act against our feelings, not being overcome by them, and act in faith in what we know to be true when our feelings tell us otherwise. That faith is there by His Spirit convincing us His Word is truth. We yield ourselves to that truth, regardless of every thought the enemy screams in our ear to the contrary and regardless of our helpless feelings and emotions. We may feel unbelief, but we do not have to act in unbelief. We can yield, give up, resign ourselves over to God in those times to His safekeeping and to His fulfilling His purpose in our lives. We can cling to His Word and give ourselves up to its truth. I’ve heard people say, “I can’t help how I feel”. No—but you do not have to be controlled by your feelings or given over to them. You are not their slave. You have God as your resource to call on!
God accepts our very weakest surrender. Our crying out to Him in utter weakness is never unheard and never unanswered. May our hearts be comforted in this. He never asks us to come to Him in full strength of our own ability. He only asks us ever to come to Him in the humility of our own inability, utter helplessness, and weakness.
Hearing Your call to come, we come Lord, in our weakness, trusting You to be the power of that surrender, relying on You to be resurrection life in us, raising us up to the life You call us to. In Jesus name.