Celebrating Weakness was not the name I would have chosen for my blog. I mean, come on, have you heard of any important blogs with a name like that? Surely God was kidding me. I brainstormed powerful words and tested out combinations. My personal favorite was “TotallyWeakPerfectlyStong.com.” Catchy and cute, huh? But in the end, God won, and I surrendered to His will for my blog and gave up my own. CelebratingWeakness.com was born.
Surrender. It is a word that Christians bandy around to describe the process of letting go of “our way” and choosing God’s way instead. Defined, surrender means to cease resistance, to submit, to agree to stop fighting, hiding, and resisting. We humans wouldn’t do any of those things would we? I should have a Olympic metal in recognition of all of my attempts to fight with God. Sadly, I’ve never won.
True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will. Yet God never forces a person’s will into surrender, and He never begs. He patiently waits until that person willingly yields to Him. And once that battle has been fought, it never needs to be fought again.
Biblically we see many examples of surrender. Esther surrendered her life to intercede for her people, saying with great courage, “If I perish, I perish.” The prophet Isaiah went naked and barefoot for three years at God’s command – that was some serious surrender! In the New Testament, we see the Apostle Paul being “poured out as a drink offering”and being willing to live (instead of dying and being with Jesus) for the sake of the Philippians.
When Jesus walked on this earth, He was the epitome of surrender. Jesus actively chose God’s will over His own. He learned obedience to God through the things he suffered (Hebrews 5:8). He delighted to do God’s will (Psalm 40:8). In the Garden of Gethsemane, facing a cruel, painful, and humiliating death, Jesus’ prayer of surrender was “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus won’t ask you to do something that He has not done. He has demonstrated surrender for us.
What is the process of surrendering to God? Here are 6 steps that I’ve discovered.
1) Fighting with God. This occurs when God comes to you and asks you to do something and you respond with, “Who, me? Surely you are wrong, God.” We see this as Gideon argued with God from behind the winepress about his weakness. When God asks Moses to become His corporate spokesman and deliverer, Moses argued about his speech impediment and the fact that he was not eloquent. These great men of old were not zapped or disqualified by arguing with God. A quick obedience might be better but I’m not perfect and I argue with God, too.
2) Considering the cost. When God asks you to do the audacious, you need to take some time to consider the cost. Luke 14:18 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” This isn’t determining if God can do what He has asked you to do, but if you are willing to pay the personal cost of accomplishing God’s will. It’s not always easy but is always fruitful.
3) Being afraid. I know that the Bible tells us not to fear, but the things God asks of us are sometimes costly. If you’ve ever surrendered a wayward child or husband or marriage to the Lord, that is not without some pain. And it’s okay to be afraid to surrender. According to the book Reese Howell Intercessor, the famous intercessor felt the same way:
“Although he was ready to go deeper with God, Mr. Howells confessed that there was some fear…the obedience already had been so costly that he was afraid of what might come now…”.
4) Choosing to surrender. Like love and forgiveness, surrender is a choice, not a feeling. It is choosing to lay down your will and take on God’s will. These are verses that I declare over myself and my will as I choose to surrender:
“I am not my own; I was bought at a price.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20
“I delight to do Your will” Psalm 40:8
“”…not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
“For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Jesus Christ now lives in me. Galatians 2:20
5) Do it afraid. Sometimes when we surrender, we can still be afraid of what God has asked us to do. It may be an area where we have to let go of control, or confront, or press past our fear and step out and lead. Courage is not the absence of fear, but courage is pressing forward in spite of your fear. Do it afraid if you have to. But do it.
6) Trusting God with the outcome. No matter what happens when you choose to surrender to God’s will, you know that you have done what God has asked of you and you have been obedient. You leave the outcome in God’s hands, knowing that He is faithful and true. As Queen Esther surrendered her life in order to intercede for her people, she left her very life in God’s hands. We can, too.
Surrender is the only way to walk closely with God. When He comes and asks, you have a choice to surrender to His will or to continue to walk in your own. If you choose to surrender to His way, it may be costly, but it is also glorious. Knowing that we are smack dab in the center of God’s will for our lives gives us great confidence before God and before men.
I challenge you to choose to surrender today to what He is asking you to do. It may be difficult, but you want regret it.