True Surrender

By Dr. Jack Graham

I beseech you, or I beg you, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God.

—Romans 12:1–2

Surrender: It’s a word we don’t like very much because it speaks of capitulation or compromise. Surrender implies loss, and in a world that glorifies winners, we don’t want to have anything to do with that. And yet God says to the believer, surrender your life to Me. In this sense, surrender involves complete dedication and consecration. True surrender involves getting off the throne of my life and saying, “Lord, take charge. Lord, You take command of my life.”

God is not a tyrant. He is our loving, holy and heavenly Father. We can trust Him with our families, with our future, and with our fears. Indeed, the only natural response to the beautiful gift of His grace is full surrender, allowing Him to be King in all areas of life. Our dreams and desires, our longings and wants—God wants to be Lord over all. This type of surrender is not limiting, but liberating!

Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew this truth well. When she, a virgin, was told that she would give birth to the Savior of the world, she was more than a little shocked. “How can these things be?” she asked. But despite her perplexed state, she surrendered to God: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

My prayer for each of us is that we would respond in the same way. Sure, we may not always understand the what, when, how and why of God’s perfect will for our lives, but of this I am utterly sure: We can trust God to lead us well. God has a wonderful plan for our lives! He will do His very best for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans not to harm you but to give you a future and a hope.

The fact is, if we don’t surrender to Jesus we’ll surrender to something else—to chaos or confusion, to the opinions of others, or to habits that we can’t control. We will surrender to something or someone.

Several years ago, I discovered a powerful little verse that I carry with me wherever I go: “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9). We please God with our laid-down lives.

Check out Dr. Graham’s recent sermon series All In on Romans 12 here.

Dr. Jack Graham is Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church.