One of the most challenging aspects of becoming a Christian, and then living a dedicated Christian life, is being willing to completely turn your life over to God. Total surrender! Such a concept is rather foreign to the typical philosophy of our culture. We're told to take control of our own lives, take charge, take the bull by the horns and make things happen. To an extent, such a philosophy is good. However, when we understand what should be the real purpose and focus of life, we will also understand that we cannot, by ourselves, maintain absolute control. We must trust God with our lives if we hope to gain the most in our lives.
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of total surrender. In Gethsemane, just before His arrest, He prayed for deliverance from the ordeal that lay before Him. But His desire did not begin and end with His own personal will. He subjected His request to God's will: "...nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will..." (Matt. 26:39). Jesus' personal desire was to be spared having to go to the cross and die a physically agonizing death thereon. But His will was in subjection to God's will on the matter. If God's will was that He die on the cross, then that would also be Jesus' will.
It is often difficult to let go. We want to have certain things, achieve certain things and do certain things. We want to go certain places. Surrendering to God's will could mean having to give up many, if not most, of those things that we want. We equate giving up those things with sacrifice, and in some cases it may indeed be such. But often it is a matter of God rescuing us from our own mistakes. Many of the things we want in life are not what we need. Many of the things we want are not good for us. God knows this truth, He can see the ultimate consequence of our actions even before we make them. We cannot always see the end of the road as we begin to head down that road. By submitting to God's will we avoid a lot of dead ends!
Jesus told Nicodemus "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:3). In order to be born again, we must first die to self and be buried with Christ (Jn. 12:24-26). That happens at baptism (Rom. 6:3-4). We die to the life we had been living, that which was in disharmony with God's will, and take up a new life in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20). Coming up out of the waters of baptism is likened to coming forth from the grave. It is, truly, being reborn spiritually.
But one thing we need to leave buried is out self will. Central to being "born again" is to surrender our life, our will, our entire being to God. We are not only letting Him have control, we are asking Him to take control of our life. Only with such an attitude can we find all that God holds for us in the blessed life of a Christian.
Who is in charge of your life, you or God? Whose will reigns in your life, yours or God's? Your answer could determine your eternal destiny...
Gary L. Hutchens