Much of my christianity was spend doing stuff for God, especially doing things to try and build my relationship with him. I would exert every effort to try and get closer to God. However I couldn’t sustain it. Eventually I had to be honest with myself because no spiritual discipline really gave me what I wanted, a deeper relationship with him.
Then one day I said yes to God (if you want to read the whole story check out my about page). I had become frustrated with how shallow the worship was in my congregation and in the ones around me. Sure there were times of connection, times where the Spirit would really move, dancing, laughing, crying. However there was so little change and growth compared to the “height” of these encounters. So when God told me I couldn’t transition into the new thing, that he would unplug me from it and plug me into the new thing I said a “Yes” that would change everything.
Surrender is such a big word, and yes it is so important in our christian tradition. We know that it is one of those words, like “Grace” or “Jesus”, it’s always the answer. However it is a word that doesn’t come naturally to me at least, but I am sure that I’m not alone, and it’s a word I would trip over all the time. How can I surrender everything when I don’t even know everything about myself? How can I surrender all of my future when that is such a long time, I know I will take back my surrender in the future sometime, especially when it get’s inconvenient.
So I found the word “Yes”. It’s a simpler word, an easier word, a more humble word, at least that’s what I think. Now the real reason I love the word “Yes” and the big difference for me between it and the word “Surrender” is that it goes perfectly with a gift. That’s what my problem was. I wasn’t able to receive all that God had given me by using the word surrender. However I have been by using the word “Yes”, it has made it so simple to receive God’s work and his Gift in my life.
After Easter, we live in days that should be full of Resurrection, the ultimate gift of life, the gift of a new life, from a new source. When I think about Lazarus, Jesus and others that have been raised from the dead they were helpless to do anything while in that state. Resurrection is the greatest gift of all, it is given to someone who is in a completely helpless state to change themselves. That was me. I realised that if I was to live this new creation life, from a different source than me, I had to acknowledge my own helplessness, and my own need for resurrection. I had to be willing to purely receive, instead of my old surrender mindset of “What can I give to God, so I can get from God”.
The fear is that we become passive. “Yes” has allowed me to remain engaged with God and yet in a posture that allows me to receive. “Yes” doesn’t cause me to try and make it happen, it helps create a space big enough for God to move, it helps me be more aware of what he’s doing, and then I am free to respond to him the best way I know how. When I tried to “surrender” the focus was all on me and what I was giving up, but with “Yes” it remains more naturally on God.
“Surrender” seemed to me to require that I make the ultimate sacrifice, sort of like the spiritual equivalent of climbing onto the altar myself, and plunging the dagger into my chest and with my last breath setting everything on fire, hoping I would be changed. “Yes” has been to me like agreeing to go into surgery, not liking the idea, but knowing the surgeon is trustworthy and knowing that even when I can’t care for myself I will have him and his staff giving me the best care possible. Then once he has done his deep work in my heart he resurrects me, awaking me to this new life, this new creation.
Check out Hebrews 4 and let me know what you think: