Surrender – the key to victory

Surrender – the key to victory
1      Promises not being experienced
There are many places in the Bible where God promises a victorious life, including

2 Cor 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…

1 Cor 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eze 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

However, few Christians experience that. What are the possible reasons? These include:

Actually, still being unsaved
Not wanting to stop sinning
Trying in own strength

2      So, what is the solution?
The solution is so deceptively simple, that you may have difficulty in believing it. So, I am going to take you there via two books about people who have found and applied the solution in their lives.
3      The Hiding Place
“The Hiding Place” describes how the Ten Boom family hid Jews in a secret room in their house during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. They were betrayed, arrested, imprisoned and ended up in a concentration camp where they conducted illegal Bible studies and ministered to other prisoners.

How would we have acted? Would we even have taken the risk of helping the Jews?

What about in normal life? Are you prepared to stand with the unpopular kid/colleague?

In the concentration camp they experienced a number of miracles. God does miracles as necessary, not as a show to entertain us. That may be one of the reasons why the persecuted church experiences more miracles and healings. Firstly, they are often in a better spiritual place than we are. But they also do not have the support system or access to medical facilities – so they really need the miracles. In Corrie’s case they experienced a “weduwee se kruik” (widow’s jar of oil) type of miracle [1 Kings 17], with medicine. They chose to share the medicine and it miraculously lasted end lasted… But interestingly, the day they got an alternative source the medicine bottle dried up.

They were able to live 1Thess 5:18: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.  They certainly experienced the truth of Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”. Even a flea infestation helped them in that guards avoided that area so they could hold their Bible studies undisturbed!

We also see an illustration of supernatural love and forgiveness. Even in the camp Corrie’s sister felt sorry for guards because they did not know Jesus and foresaw a reconciliation ministry after war. After the war Corrie came face to face with her SS guards and Dutch collaborators and had to forgive. But how? Read Luke 12:11-12. Corrie’s father explained to her that in the same way as when she was a child, he only gave her her train ticket just before the journey, God will supply the strength, ability, and endurance to face trials and tribulations “just in time”.

But what is our role in this? We know we can’t “work it up” in ourselves. We know that the power and faith come from God and the Holy Spirit. Our role is to SURRENDER. Real, and true and full surrender to God – an attitude of whatever You choose will be fine with me.

While we were still digesting this, we listened to another book which drove the point home. The book “God’s Smuggler” is about Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors. In the book he describes his adventures smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain as well as evangelizing there. He emphasizes the importance of total surrender to God and relying on God only. Also being tuned into the Holy Spirit. He describes having to meet a contact in large city and not having any idea where. He went to a side street, prayed, saw a pedestrian approaching and it was the person he was looking for!  Once while smuggling Bible’s through a border post he sensed the Holy Spirit telling him to remove the Bibles from the carefully constructed hiding places and place them on the seat next to him. He was waved through while the cars before and after him were taken apart in searches. He also says the moment you try to be clever yourself – or rely on yourself at all – you have problems.
4      Why does God want us to surrender?
Charles Stanley says there are three main reasons:

He loves us. As long as we hold something back from God, we cannot know Him completely or fully experience His love. When we surrender to Him, we get all of Him.
He wants our service to be effective and fruitful. The closer we draw to God the more impact our lives will have.
He waits for the freedom to bless us. God is omnipotent, but He will not violate His own principles. He draws us to Himself so we can experience His love and forgiveness. He asks for our willing surrender so that He can give us the best blessings He has to offer. Blessings to an un-surrendered person would often do more harm than good! Andrew Murray says the condition of God’s blessing is absolute surrender of all into His hands.

Surrender is key to resisting the devil

James 4:7 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Notice the sequence – surrender is key. You need God’s power, not your own. Surrender and submit to God and resist the devil. Many people are in effect fighting on two fronts. They want to do their own thing and please themselves, so they are not surrendered to God and then try to fight the devil as well. Doesn’t work – yes God gives the victory, but He does so on His terms. Surrender to God is really the key to victory over the devil and sin.

Surrender is key to abiding and praying

John 15:4-5: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
1 John 5: 14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: That if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

Andrew Murray says we use “if it is your will” in prayer as a copout, because then we do not have to conclude that God did not keep His promise AND we do not have to look for the fault in ourselves. He points out that John 15:7 does not contain any such qualification. If we are truly abiding, what we ask for will be what God wants. In my experience an improper motive slips in very easily. Again, I think the abiding begins with total surrender.

Surrender is key to faith

Great faith = Great surrender as Andy Stanley says.
Jesus said:

John 5:30 NIV: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me.”
John 6:38: “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.”

Jesus’ agenda was to do the will of Him who sent him.

Surrender leads to more faith – the heart condition where the Holy Spirit can bless with more faith.

Surrender prevents compassion fatigue

If you try to be compassionate in your own strength you will get to “stuff this” very quickly.
5      Why don’t people surrender?
Pride – thinking you know better than God.

Fear and Mistrust – thinking that God will make you do what will make you miserable.

But: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” [Rom 8:32]

And Psalm 84:11 says He will withhold no good thing from those walking uprightly + Jer 29:11 says he has good plans for us for our welfare and to give hope and a future.

6      Surrender is logical

God loves you
Jesus died for you
God wants what is best for you
God knows what is best for you
God can be trusted
Then why have your own agenda?

It is senseless not to want to surrender to him totally, when we know He will accept us and that He wants what is best for us. If you believe God is a loving Father who knows best and can be trusted, why would you have your own agenda? That is illogical. Surrendering to God and going His way is simply the logical way to live your life. The logical response is surrender, not having a life of your own.
7      What does surrender entail?

Accept Jesus as Lord (not only as saviour). This means turning control of your life over to Him.
Surrender is not less of self; it is nothing of self
Self must die

This is what makes surrender difficult

Total surrender; total dependence

Just like Jesus
John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing…

If Jesus could not do anything of Himself, how much less can we? In Christ we died to sin. Think of the sin you are struggling with – would a dead man struggle with it?

Jesus is willing to take total charge of you. Obedience is still essential under the new covenant, therefore entrance into the full enjoyment of the new covenant has often depended on a single act of surrender, something your conscience accuses you of. You cannot pick and choose what you want to surrender and what you want to retain for yourself – e.g. “work I’ll handle on my own”.

Confess and Renounce all known sin and anything keeping you from full surrender
(1 John 1:7)
Is there anything you are not willing to lay down or give up?
The real issue is whether you trust God

To want what is best for you
Do you really believe He loves you totally?

Forgiving others

Eph 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” 
Col 3:13 “…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” 
Matt 6:14-15 “Want as julle die mense hulle oortredinge vergewe, sal julle hemelse Vader julle ook vergewe. Maar as julle die mense hulle oortredinge nie vergewe nie, sal julle Vader julle oortredinge ook nie vergewe nie.”
Mark 11:25-26 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Forgiving others is a clear command. You are not surrendered if you are unwilling to forgive. It is difficult, but you can also bring that to God as Corrie did when she came face to face with one of her SS guards after the war. Ask God to cause you to want to. The first step is to know and admit that you should. Forgiveness does not mean that what was done to you was OK. Luckily it is a decision, not a feeling. Corrie says thoughts about what was done to you may still arise, but don’t dwell on them; act out the forgiveness, renewing of mind. God will even provide the love for our enemies if we are fully surrendered.
8      Surrender results in VICTORY
So, if you are tired of fighting sin, temptation, wrong attitudes, prayerlessness and all the rest, you are actually much closer to victory than the person full of energy who still thinks he can do it in his own strength. Cast your burdens on the Lord.

“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” – Andrew Murray.

A word of hope: As Philippians 2:13 says “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure”. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all say: The things that are impossible with man are possible with God. Luke 1:37 says nothing is impossible. So why would making you a surrendered person be the one and only exception? Andrew Murray: Just say “My God I am willing that you should make me willing” Your Christian life will be a series of impossibilities (like forgiving others and surrendering totally) that is made possible by the very power of almighty God.

“The cause of weakness in your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly and to let God help you. And that cannot be. You must come utterly helpless, to let God work. He will work gloriously.” – Andrew Murray