Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Call To Surrender

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all,
All to Thee my blessed Saviour,
I surrender all.

I would assume that most all of us are quite familiar with this old Baptist hymn. I’d venture to guess that it’s still sung at thousands of altar calls worldwide each and every Sunday morning. But do we realize what is even being stated here? ALL to Jesus, I surrender? All? Oh really? And when is it that I do that, because lately He’s revealing to me that I’m, in fact, not surrendering all… at all.

Surrender. What a powerful word. Some synonyms are abandonment, relinquishing, resignation, giving away, discontinuing. It is imperative that I learn to be completely obedient in regards to surrender. I must abandon my wants, my desires and my “reputation”. I must relinquish control and release my grip on my life, for it is no longer mine. I must choose to resign from this earthly life and die to its distractions. I cannot simply say with my lips that I “give Jesus my life”. I must be found living a lifestyle of giving myself away in surrender. I must discontinue being the Joel Spencer that I imagined or invented. I must surrender… all. We throw around Christian phrases like “I gave my life to Jesus” and “I surrendered my life to the Lord” like they’re cute little slogans or something. I’m learning that I often have little idea what it means to live a life of complete surrender unto Him.

Over the last ten days or so I’ve been meditating a lot on the depths of Jesus’ sacrificial life. Unto death, He gave. He gave it all, for He understood that it was all about His Father’s plan, not His. He, time after time, surrendered His will (yes, He had one!) to do the will of His Father. For just a moment, can you even attempt to imagine what He went through? He lived thirty years of life never personally experiencing sin – thirty years! Then, with much trial and pain, His time had come. His purpose, His destiny had arrived. In the garden, He faced the inevitable task that lay immediately before Him. He knew the cost before He came down to earth of course, but now the moment had arrived. For us to simply say ”Yes, but He was God in the flesh, He could handle it” would be absurd. He was God yes, but He was also a human as you and I. He felt physical and emotional pain and He knew that He was about to do what no other could do. All history depended upon His willingness to sacrifice, to surrender.

I cannot fathom what it must have been like for Jesus during this time. The scourging, the taunting, the crucifixion, I believe was nothing compared to His being separated from His Father. We must remember that He walked His entire life as Adam was created to - in perfect harmony with His Father. No sin separated Them. At no time in His life had Jesus not been able to approach His Father boldly because of sin, guilt or shame. I sure don’t want to sound like I’m making light of His bearing the sins of all mankind and enduring the cross. After all, we must never forget that a Man who knew no sin became sin in one instant. Every sin of every man ever to breathe a breath of air upon this earth rested upon Him. Every sin. Every sin. It is truly unfathomable, my friend. Our minds simply cannot grasp the depth of Jesus’ love for us! There was none before, nor will there be ever another that expressed love for you and I as greatly as did Jesus, our Saviour.

This same Jesus is calling US to surrender. He’s telling us that He endured the cross so that we don’t have to. His death set us free. His suffering and laying down of Himself enables me to do the same. I will never be able to surrender all without His help. I will never lay down the cares of this world until He reveals to me what they are. I will never step out and openly declare His great love until I truly grasp His love for me and I learn to surrender as He did, my perfect Example.

You see, I must surrender all. I have no choice but to embrace the process of letting go. Is Jesus not worth it all? Is what He willingly did for me not enough for me to lay down my life? The amazing thing is, it’s all for our benefit anyway. Every time we’re called to surrender, it’s ultimately for our benefit. Many seem to think that it’s just God’s way of keeping us in line. I disagree. He is perfecting us – He is transforming us into the likeness of His Son. Only here do we begin to reach our potential and see our purpose.

Even in the painful moments of release, freedom and power come. It’s all because it’s here that we embrace who we truly are. I’m not created to be worldly, carnal and self-seeking. I’m created to lavish all of my love upon my Father. All else is futile and will end in death - it will die one way or another. So, with that in mind, today I choose to willingly surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21


Anonymous said...

amen..amen..amen..and AMEN!

There's nothing else TO say Joel.

Joel Spencer said...

Well said "anonymous"!

Anonymous said...

It's like that picture... surrendering is giving up everything and jumping in. But that first step is a doozy! It's scary, exhiliarating and freeing all at the same time.

Oh to learn how to take that first step. That's what I'm believing and praying for in my life.

Thanks for the reminder of who we are called to be in Him.

Anonymous said...

I have been studying Luke 14 this week. It starts with the parable of the great banquet and taking the high and low postions at the table. Then he turns to the host of the banquet and is no long talking to him in parable but simply imposing on his party telling him who he should invite and should invite. that he shouldn't invite friends,relatives,rich neighboors, but should invite the poor, blind, lame, because they cannot repay you. Then right after that is a great section of Jesus simply asking us to count the cost of dicipleship. As I read those verses of scripture my heart was awakened by the fact that I have never been thought or been taught to "COUNT THE COST" of diciple. And in that chapter Jesus tells them they cannot be his diciple if they do not hate their mother & father, brother & sister, even their lives. Those are pretty bold statements. But I tell you truth, those who humble themselves will be exalted, and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. I believe counting the cost of dicipleship is all the thoughts we think when we are about to take the step of surrender. But when we are never taught to count the cost then we possibly never think to take the steps of surrender or true dicipleship. Go read luke chapter 14 and see how it all ties in.

Love ya man,

Joel Spencer said...

Good stuff Eric. I want to look more into Luke 14 and see to a great depth what my role is. We must surrender all, deliberately putting others above ourselves. I believe that we can only attain this when we submit to our Heavenly Father and allow our submission to others to be birthed in the spirit.

There we get His heart for them and will be able to love as He loves. Thanks for sharing!

Jimmy Hope said...

Hi Joel,

Always enjoy your blogs. They're always great food for thought.
Just thought about the narrow gate.
It's so narrow that if you make a fist to hold something in them, you can't squeeze through. Hold something in your hands against your chest and see how much more room is required to get through the gate than if you lay your hands flat on your chest with nothing in them. With nothing in your hands you can make it through.

Everything has to be laid down to enter the narrow gate. We should be laying them all down for the life of the Lord.

Blessings brother,

Jimmy Hope

Joel Spencer said...

Jimmy: Good analogy with the "empty hands" to enter the narrow gate. It's great imagery relating to how we must let ALL go to seek Him.