Surrender Is Not Sacrifice (or Jesus Don’t Want to Sink Your Ship)

So God has been teaching me a lot (A LOT) about surrender recently and I’d love to share some of the golden nuggets with you.
Growing up in the church, I’ve heard a lot (A LOT) about surrender. First, you surrender your life to the Lord, and He takes over, apparently.
But wait, sometimes we don’t let Him take over completely, so we have to surrender more. He needs everything, they say. Everything.
Which, is true…but…
Here’s the thing.
Nobody really told me how exactly to surrender.
Is that stupid?
I don’t know, I guess surrender is kind of like the word grace. It gets thrown around a lot but barely anyone explains it or actually understands it.
Welcome to the Christian life.
So since the picture that came with surrender always is us giving all of our stuff to God, I assumed that surrender was giving God everything that was yours.
Which is only partly true.
It’s an incomplete picture, an unfinished book.
There’s more to surrender.
Surrender is not having to give up everything in your life.
Surrender is about giving up control to everything in your life.
There’s a HUGE difference.
Let me explain.
So before the Lord revealed the heart of surrender to me, I thought of surrender in a insane totalitarian kind of way, where you give up everything you care about to God, and He then just burns it up.
Basically, I equated surrender with sacrifice.
And don’t get me wrong, surrender is a sacrifice.
But it is not a sacrifice that consumes the things you give up, but rather it is a sacrifice that consumes your grip on them.
When King Saul disobeyed the Lord’s instructions to destroy all the Amalekites he was chastised severely for his sacrifice that he made.
Because the Lord required obedience (read surrender) and Saul sacrificed instead. God wasn’t looking for a sacrifice, he was looking for a king that would obey his commands.
Because here’s the thing. Sacrifice can often be selfish. We give up our desires and our pursuits in a blazing fire and offer them to God saying “Here Lord, take it! I did this for you.”
But the Lord isn’t interested in obliterating every single thing from our life, He simply desires people that would obey Him and follow His heart.
He never told the rich young ruler to get rid of every single passion in his life. Only one.
The one that stood in the way of a heart devoted to God.
God desires a surrender that would erase any other loves before Him but He does not need nor desire to destroy every single thing from our lives.
He just wants us to surrender our control of those things to Him.
But see, that’s something I never understood. I always pictured God asking me to surrender and then Him taking what I surrender and destroying it.
He is not that kind of a Father.
When we surrender to God, we simply are asking Him to call the shots. We’re scooting over to shotgun and letting Him take the wheel. (cue Jesus Take The Wheel)
Surrender is part of trusting Him with every little thing. For me, before, it was motivated out of duty and a sort of mistrust.
I thought He didn’t like me to have certain things, and I thought for sure the reason He was asking me to surrender them was so He could destroy them completely.
How skewed is that image of God.
How distorted is that image of surrender.
When an army surrenders, they are not saying “Here are our lives, come destroy us.” They are simply giving up control of the situation, realizing they will be defeated if they continue. They surrender out of humbly acknowledging that they are not able.
We are not able.
But He is more than able.
The Lord knows our passions, our desires, the little things in our lives that we hold dear. He does not desire to destroy them. Many of our passions and desires came from He who knit us together. He does not wish to rid us of everything, He just wants to rid us of us. Of our control.
The wheel of the ship is in much better in the hands of the Captain than in the hands of a cabin boy.
The Captain knows the sea, He knows the wind and the waves, the currents and storms.
Surrender control of your ship.
He does not wish to sink it.
He wishes to drive it into fairer waters.
Step aside.

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