What Does the Bible Say About Surrender?

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What Does the Bible Say About Surrender? Well, since the Christian life is one of surrender, the Bible better says a lot about it, and it sure does! We typically think of surrender as submission to an opponent and it is to their detriment! However, in the Christian context, we are the ones surrendering and our surrender is not to our detriment and is a deeply intimate way of entrusting ourselves to our personal Lord and Savior.

What is Christian surrender?

Christian surrender is the belief that a life surrendered to the will of God results in a gain that is more valuable than any costs from a life of service.

The world is in crisis mode. It doesn’t matter where you get your news. If it’s on social media, newspapers, or television, they all agree. This world is in crisis. There is no doubt in my mind that I don’t know what to do anymore. Our eyes are on you Jesus because that is all we can do.

2 Chronicles 20 tells the story of King Jehoshaphat responding to a crisis moment and how he humbled and surrendered himself before the mighty hand of God. The act of surrendering to God in tough times can seem very difficult, but like King Jehoshaphat, it can lead to great victories.

What Does the Bible Say about Surrender?

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What Does the Bible Say about Surrender?

I recently discovered a verse that has transformed the way I look at life. Yes, literally transformed. There is consistent power of scripture to revolutionize perspectives in life. A book of the Bible that has been read a dozen times suddenly unravels a new previously unseen truth. There is great power in the Scriptures of the Almighty God.  In this case, a passage shifted my perspective simply with the acknowledgment of how little I know.

“We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you!”

2 Chronicles 20:12 ESV

The statement was a cry out to God by King Jehoshaphat on the cusp of a great battle. He declared earlier in the verse that Judah was ‘powerless against this great horde that is coming against us’ (1 Chronicle 20:12).

Powerless. Sound familiar? Especially in a world that is in crisis mode, we can feel powerless against the darkness of this world. Recently, I have felt that quite frequently. Powerless with no control. That’s the thing about Christian surrender. When we surrender and choose to pursue Christ’s will above our own, we surrender ambitions we could never achieve, the life we never had the ability to sustain, and the control we never had into the power of a Savior who controls the future.

When we trust Jesus Christ we trust that he is able to save and lead, guide, and provide for us every day until we reach the kingdom of heaven that he is preparing for us.

Our gain in Christ surpasses any of the real, but shallow losses here on earth.

There’s nothing I can do to control the turmoil the world has seen in the last four years. There is nothing I can do about cities burning, statues toppling, or family and friends verbally at war. Our eyes are on you, Jesus. That’s all we can do.

King Jehoshaphat was afraid, he was terribly afraid (vs 3), and yet he still had enough sense to proclaim a fast across Judah (vs 3), cry out to God (vs 5-12), and worship (vs 18). In fact, King Jehoshaphat had people singing and worshiping the Lord go before the army into battle. Can you imagine?! A worship team going before the army. 

We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you. The more I hear that verse the more powerful it seems. It seems like the essence of surrender in a nutshell. It is a complete acknowledgment that we are clueless in our knowledge, but God is sovereign. In that humility there is strength. King Jehoshaphat humbled himself and in that strength, he won a great battle.

When you humble and surrender yourself before the mercies of God, victories you never thought possible can suddenly become possible.

The entire nation of Judah humbled themselves before the Lord. My pastor recently posed a question to me. He asked, “If our entire nation repented before God of all our evils, would God save us from this pandemic?” After many weeks of contemplating this question, I think the answer is a resounding yes. He would save us from all of 2020’s misfortunes. I really believe it. If we would only humble ourselves before God.

If only we would turn “Our eyes are on you,” we would see great things.

Humility in a sense is to feel low or small in the great scheme of things. In 2020, it can be easy to feel powerless, helpless, and unsure of what to do. Like King Jehoshaphat, we may feel afraid. But King Jehoshaphat’s humility led to a great victory. His humility wasn’t weakness, it was strength.

When we don’t know what to do, this is the perfect time for true humility and surrender to shine through. It is the time for Christ-like humility to lead.

Our Eyes Are On You

When was the last time you felt powerless and sought God with fasting, prayer, and worship? King Jehoshaphat ordered his entire country to fast! In fact, based on verse 4, it seems as if the entire nation of Judah was encouraged to seek God in the hopes the ‘horde’ would not be victorious against them.

More often when the overwhelming feeling of powerless descends upon us, we go immediately into battle mode. On our own accord, we seek to rectify the situation. We solve it, we finish it, we fight it.  Yet for Judah, they stopped and sought God. They turned to God. Tim Keller in his book, Suffering addresses the subject of when life doesn’t make sense, and how the Gospel can impact our lives as we seek God.

Humility and surrender are not weakness. It is actually the opposite.

The story of this particular battle is quite intriguing because there was very little hope for the nation of Judah. Yet by the time all was said and done it took three days to collect all the spoil that the battle gave them. It is obvious by the scripture’s portrayal, that the victory was not Judah’s, but God’s. 

To humble ourselves before God means that we turn away from ourselves and make ourselves low.

Scriptures About Surrender

There are so many powerful Bible verses about surrender in the Bible. The entire human experience is a fight against attempting to take back control from its rightful place, which is in the Lord Almighty’s hand.

When you really start searching scripture, you find that the book is more about God than it is about you. I’m sorry, did I offend you?

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 11:2 NIV

We like to hear that the world is about us. That self-care trumps self-depravation. Don’t hear me incorrectly, taking care of ourselves is important, but when we turn to scripture, I think we will find more about humbling ourselves than exalting ourselves.

God has lots to say about when we humble ourselves before God. It says in 1 Peter that he will favor you for your humility. He will oppose your pride.

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5 NIV

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:10 ESV

Surrendering to the mighty hand of God involves laying down our own understanding and desires, and trusting that God’s plan is far superior. As Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

This submission is a daily choice in daily life, rooted in the renewal of your mind through the word of God.

The mercies of God are new every morning, inviting us to shed our old self and embrace the new life offered in Christ. We have opportunities every morning to restart the total surrender process.

This transformation is beautifully described in 2 Corinthians 5:17,

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Through this new life, we are grafted into the true vine, Jesus Christ, who empowers us to bear much fruit for the kingdom of heaven.

Looking to Christ

The ultimate act of surrender is found in the life and sacrifice of the son of God, Christ Jesus. He took the form of a servant and submitted to God’s will, even unto death, demonstrating the path to eternal glory. As believers, we are called to follow this example, laying down our own will to embrace God’s will. We are a living sacrifice that will find goodness in surrender. This surrender brings us into the kingdom of God, a realm where God’s purposes and plans prevail.

The story of King Jehoshaphat is an excellent example of how when we humble ourselves, God honors that willing submission and surrender. When we look at 2 Chronicles there are some practical steps that King Jehoshaphat took when submitting to God. If you are feeling convicted to humble yourself before God these are some practical things that King Jehoshaphat did.

Examples of Surrender

How King Jehoshaphat surrendered in 2 Chronicles:

  1. He acknowledged that he was afraid
  2. He prayed, fasted, and encouraged others to do the same.
  3. He verbally acknowledged the good things that God had done in the past.
  4. He worships God through song. The power of song is important during tough times.
  5. He turned to Scripture. During tough times it is important we turn to scripture and press into Christ. Remember you can download the humility phone wallpaper package that goes along with this post.
  6. Ultimately King Jehoshaphat turned to God in complete surrender.

The beauty of surrender lies in the transformation it brings, aligning our lives with God’s will and purpose. It is through the act of faith, the laying down of our own desires, and the embracing of new life in Christ that we truly experience the fullness of the kingdom of heaven. This journey of surrender is not only an ultimate act of faith but also a path to eternal glory in the presence of the God of all grace.

In the Christian faith, the beauty of surrender lies in relinquishing our own desires and old self to embrace the transformative power of God’s will. There are so many times that I do this poorly. Especially in marriage and mothering, which I tend to think are the two most sanctifying things we as women can work through in our lives. God’s way is always the best, regardless of circumstances. When we choose to trust Him with the daily orchestration of our lives, we experience a unique peace that comes from knowing He plans every step we take.

As new creations, true surrender involves trusting in the Word of God and allowing His powerful verses to guide our daily lives. This act of faith brings much fruit, aligning us with the kingdom of heaven and preparing us for eternal glory. The New Testament encourages believers to view surrender not as defeat but as an essential step towards the kingdom of God, where God’s will reign supreme.

Embracing a life of surrender, even for a little while, means submitting our own will to God’s will, and recognizing that He is the God of all grace. The Old Testament and New Testament both highlight surrender as a pathway to experiencing the proper time of God’s blessings. Jesus exemplified the ultimate act of surrender, showing us the way to eternal life. As we follow His example, our daily surrender shapes us into reflections of His love and grace, embodying the kingdom of heaven on earth.

The Power of Christian Surrender

Powerless. They felt powerless, yet God saved them. When we have a limited view of God, our problems and self-perception become overwhelming, overshadowing our focus on Him. However, I’ve learned repeatedly that by elevating our understanding of God, we can find peace amidst uncertainty.

Do you ever feel powerless? The gift of the current time we live in is being able to stop and take a deep inward evaluation of where we are at. We can let go and find total surrender. Where are you spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally?

What if we took the time in these moments to fast, pray, and worship? King Jehoshaphat made the claim, “Our eyes are on you.” What if we turned our eyes completely to the Lord? Can you imagine the impact those few things would have on our lives? For Judah, it meant the difference between a godly victory or a human defeat. 

Life brings conflict. The last four years have proved that (2020-2024). Maybe not an epic battle as in 2 Chronicles 20, but a conflict nonetheless.  The whole world has seen conflicts and turmoil. We have seen family conflict, pandemics, election turmoil, school closings, businesses dying, friendship tension, marital arguments, children’s tantrums, isolation, and racial tensions, and we could continue.

It’s in these moments we can respond like King Jehoshaphat and throw our hands up in godly surrender and cry out,

“Jesus! I don’t know what to do, but my eyes and heart are on you.”

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