Last week, I wrote about how I got to teach on the life of Peter in our church’s kids class and how we talked about his example in following Jesus with all of our lives (you can read that post here).
But I skipped something we talked about with them, because I thought it deserved its own post.
Last year, I read a book called “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs which was extremely insightful and encouraging regarding submission to God and contentment to Him. I encourage you to read it as well. I wrote a blog post sharing some favorite quotes and ideas from the book that you can read at this link, but I highly encourage you to read it for yourself.
Our call to surrender to Jesus.
In Peter’s life, we come across an all-to-familiar problem that is often found in our own lives:
Peter was willing to give up everything for Jesus,
But only on his terms.
Here’s what I mean:
Peter is famous for telling Jesus that he will die for and with Him, only to deny Him shortly after.
But I think Peter was ready and willing to die for and with Jesus that day.
But only in the way he wanted,
Not surrendering to what Jesus wanted.
In that famous scene when Jesus is being betrayed,
Among a crowed of armed guards and angry men,
Peter draws his sword and strikes the first blow!
I truly think Peter expected to die that day.
You don’t go up to a crowd of armed people and start a fight you’re clearly going to lose, unless you’re ready to die with your leader (who already said He was going to die).
So what went “wrong”?
Peter was willing to die for Jesus while fighting and standing his ground,
But not by laying down his sword and his life without a fight.
He was willing to die for Jesus on his terms,
But not on Jesus’ terms.
And that is not surrender.
That is merely sacrifice on his own terms.
And I think we often get them mixed up.
Sacrifice is giving up your things,
Surrender is giving up your will to someone else’s.
It’s been said that “a god you fully agree with is just a mirror of yourself”.
Expressed another way: if your “god” can’t tell you “no” or you can’t be wrong before your “god”, then it really isn’t your God. You’re simply projecting what you want onto someone else and calling that person “god”.
Similarly, a “god” whose plan you never have to adjust to is simply just you projecting your plan onto your “god”.
And Jesus hasn’t called to simply sacrifice for Him.
He has called us to surrender.
We even see this being expressed later when Jesus restores Peter to ministry, as He tells Peter that his death will be one of surrender (John 21:18-19).
7 Areas Of Surrender
When we aim to surrender to Jesus, it’s not simply sacrificing (as we saw with Peter). Here are 7 areas to consider as you aim to fully surrender to God in your current season of life:
What is God calling you to do? Are you doing it?
When has God allowed this difficult season in your life? Do you trust His timing of when it started… and when it will end?
Where is this happening? Whether a physical place or maybe a specific area of your life, do you trust God in what He has allowed?
Why is it happening? God promises to not waste any trials or circumstances, but sometimes we cannot point to a reason until long after – and sometimes we won’t know this side of heaven why God allows for some things to happen. Do we trust that He is good and that His ‘why’ is worth it?
How is it happening? Going back to Peter’s example from earlier: sometimes we can be ok with what we need to do or go through, but only on our terms. How is God wanting you to proceed with areas of difficulty in your life?
Who is this happening to? Sometimes it’s easier to go through a difficult time ourselves than to try to watch and comfort a close friend or family member go through something. Whether it’s a “why them” or “why me” situation; do you trust God with the who?
I don’t want to come across as unsympathetic; surrender is painful and difficult.
But surrender is worth it – as long as the One you are surrendering to is truly good.
And, God IS good
Even when our circumstances tell us otherwise.
I’ve written this verse out many times before, and will continue to quote it:
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”Isaiah 55:8–9
God’s thoughts are different than ours,
And just in case we got the wrong idea from that statement:
God’s ways are also better than ours.
Not just different,
His ways are better.
So, as difficult as it can be,
Let us surrender to Him,
In every area of life.
What is next for you?
I’m not sure what you may be struggling with at this moment, but I thought I should link to other posts on related subjects at the bottom of this one. I hope this time of reflecting on submission has brought you nearer to Jesus and that if any of these below resonate with where you are right now, that they do the same.
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
Trust God, Even When You Don’t Know the Details
Waiting On God (And Thriving In The Transition)
God’s Plan Is Not A Straight Line
Verses For When You Face Discouragement And Hard Times
Thirsting for God, and coming up empty – Psalm 42
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