One of the most difficult 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! This is a concept that is pretty much foreign to our typical philosophy of life. We believe in taking control of our own life, taking the bull by the horns, taking charge, making things happen. And, to some extent such a philosophy is valid. But when we understand the real purpose and focus of life, we will also understand that we cannot maintain control all by ourselves. We must trust God with our life if we hope to gain the most for our life.
Jesus was the ultimate example of total surrender. In Gethsemane, just before His arrest, He prayed to God for deliverance from the ordeal that lay before Him. But His desire did not begin and end with His own personal will. He conditioned His request upon God’s will. “...nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus’ personal desire was to be spared from having to go to the cross. But His will was in subjection to God’s will on the matter. His desire was to be spared a physically agonizing death on the cross. But His will was to submit to God’s will. If it was God’s will that He die on the cross, then that would also be Jesus’ will.
It is often difficult to let go, because we want to have certain things. We want to achieve certain things. We want to do certain things. We want to go certain places. Surrendering to God’s will, letting Him take over our life, may require our having to give up a lot, if not most, of those things that we want. We equate giving those things up with sacrifice. In some cases, it may indeed constitute such. But in many cases 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 take them. We cannot always see the end of the road when we begin to head down it. By letting God have control, we will avoid a lot of dead ends.
Jesus told Nicodemus that a person has to be “born again” in order to see the Kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3). In order to be born again, we must first die and be buried. That happens at baptism (Rom. 6:3-4). We die to self. We die to the life we have been living, that which was in disharmony with God’s will. Coming up out of the waters of baptism is likened to coming forth from the grave. As we come forth from that grave of water, reborn spiritually, one thing that we need to leave buried is our self will. At that point we are surrendering 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