Are You Really Surrendered?

Updated: Aug 26, 2018

Around three years ago, I came to a fork in the road that every believer faces sooner or later. I’d surrendered to God a number of years before, and had a decent rhythm with God. Church meetings and mid-week services were times I cherished deeply, on top of the Youtube sermons that stirred me up daily. But in between the Church meetings and mid-week services, I’d slowly drifted to the darkest point of my journey with God. I was broke. I was a university dropout. And worst of all, I’d relapsed into sexual sin through a relationship that went bitterly sour. The fork in the road gave me two options to choose from:

1. Really believe everything I professed about Jesus, fully surrendering to God.

2. Taking this to be the end of the road where I became another person who turned away from the Lord.

My passion for God was dying fast, and I didn’t know what to do. So I came to this point when I knew it was all or nothing. I'd determined that I wasn’t going back to Christianity as I’d known it before. It was either I took the path on my right, meaning I would give God my all, surrendering completely to all of His ways. Alternatively, I would take the path on my left, choosing to live life on terms of my own design.

Two paths, one choice.

I’d seen others reach this fork in the road before me. Many took the path on the left, thinking no different from the children of Israel after they’d been delivered from bondage in Egypt. They remembered the bread of their Egyptian slave masters, thinking it would satisfy them more than following after God (see Exodus 16:2-3). Just like the Israelites, some of those who went before me remembered the previous pleasures of sin, thinking it would satisfy their deepest needs. So they took the path on the left, forgetting the brokenness and emptiness it would eventually cost. They forgot that sin often hides itself in a jumpsuit of temporary joy and satisfaction. But no matter how appealing sin can seem to be, its poisonous nature is always exposed when things inevitably crumble.

Close as I was to choosing the road on the left, I knew I hadn’t fully tried to take God at His word. I hadn’t fully surrendered to Him and His ways. So I couldn’t honestly say that I’d tried God and it just hadn’t work out for me. I’d seen enough in my journey with God to know He was real and His word was full of wisdom for life. But because there were some parts of His word that I wasn’t willing to submit to, the dark pit I found myself in wasn’t something I could blame God for. This dark pit was handcrafted by my poor decision-making and rebellion against God’s ways. Knowing this, I decided to make a final attempt to completely surrender to God. I chose the path on the right, deciding that I would take Him at His word and navigate through life in complete surrender to God and His word. My decision was tested sooner than I thought.

Getting real about the secrets in my closet.

God’s word very quickly gave me the roadmap to freedom. Two key scriptures led to a dynamic shift that would eventually breathe new life into my journey with God:

1. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” – Matthew 5:29-30

2. “…confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” – James 5:16

The truth is, in the moment, I enjoyed the ungodly relationship I was in. I hated the guilt and emptiness that remained after we engaged in sexual sin, but I enjoyed the companionship and conversations, so I didn’t want to cut it off. I also didn’t want to expose my secret sins. I had no desire whatsoever to admit weakness and confess my shortcomings. Despite what I did and didn’t want to do at the time, I’d already committed to take God at His word and surrender in full. Complete obedience is what God required, and I knew it was the only shot I had left.

Trusting The Creator, rather than creation

It’s already one thing choosing to obey God’s Word when it challenges your fleshly desires. It’s another thing when you genuinely don’t have any idea where obeying God’s ways will lead. Obeying when you have no real idea what happens after your obedience. Obeying in the face of these concerns means you have to put your full trust in God. The kind of trust that Abraham needed to leave his life behind to follow God’s leading to an unknown destination (see Genesis 12:1-4 and Hebrews 11:8). This is the same kind of trust God wanted from Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden – trust enough to confidently rely on God’s wisdom rather than seeking their own (see Proverbs 3:5-6).

I chose the road of obedience and ultimately ended the ungodly relationship. I also exposed my sin and brokenness by confessing to some of the godly men around me.

These two acts of obedience were two of the greatest decisions I made in that year. They led me out of torment, condemnation and bondage, taking me to new heights in my walk with God. No longer would I pay the price for partial surrender to God, relying on my own wisdom rather than His. Instead, I’d committed to a lifelong journey of complete surrender, even when I didn’t know what would happen after I obeyed.

Back to the fork in the road

So what does this all mean for you? The truth is, the fork in the road is something every human faces every single day. Not just in the major situations like that described above, but in the finer details of everyday life. Will you obey God by choosing to resolve your differences with your brother/sister, or will you disobey God by holding onto offenses (Matthew 18:15-17)? Will you obey God by consistently giving your best at work, or will you disobey by only working hard when people are looking (Colossians 3:22-25)? Will you obey God by not conforming to the patterns of this world, or will you disobey by indulging in the very things that offend God (Romans 12:1-2)? Singing songs about “surrendering all” is easy. Choosing to surrender to God and completely obey is costly.

The testimony of partial obedience

There’s nothing to be gained from partial obedience, only when it suits us best. We can preach, pray and read the bible daily. But if we only partially obey, then at best, we’ll only convince people that we’re godly. But behind this false reputation, we’ll live lives that actively downplay and deny the power of God (see 2 Timothy 3:1-7).

It’s not just the things we say that can downplay God’s power – this is what most of us miss. We think it’s just a case of singing and teaching about how powerful God is. But beyond this, our lives and actions are often the loudest witnesses of what we really think about God. We can say we trust God with all of our heart, and shout about His wisdom. But when our earthly logic thinks it’s crazy to follow God’s Way, will we brave it through the fog of fear that His ways will lead to tragedy? Will we choose to grip His Hand more than before as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Complete obedience to all of God’s ways will always come at a cost. But without the slightest shadow of a doubt, it’s always soooooo worth it. Being made in God’s image, we were designed to function according to His ways and design (see Genesis 1:26-27). So when we say yes to complete surrender and obedience to God’s ways, we’re equally saying yes to functioning properly based on the Creator’s original purpose and design for mankind. This affects everything about our lives and the way we live here on earth. So how will you respond to God’s daily call for you to completely surrender to Him?

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