Surrender to God - What's the Phrase Really Mean?
Surrender to God - it's a term you may have heard, but what does it mean, exactly? Surrender is not a word often associated with positive actions. After all, "surrender in the name of the law" usually means trouble for someone. And we know that when one side surrenders to another in battle, it's a sign they've given up any hope for victory.
Surrender to God - If I Do That, What Am I Giving Up?
If we surrender to God, what are we giving up? Does it mean, as it does for the enemy in battle, to give up on victory in our lives? Is God holding a gun to our heads and forcing us to give Him everything we have, like a bandit or mugger might do? To be sure, there are those who are willing to portray God in that way, especially where self-gain is involved. But when we come to know the true character and nature of God, we quickly discover how false that image is.
Surrender means to yield ownership, to relinquish control over what we consider ours: our property, our time, our "rights." When we surrender to God, we are simply acknowledging that what we "own" actually belongs to Him. He is the giver of all good things. We are responsible to care for what God has given us, as stewards of His property, but by surrendering to God, we admit that He is ultimately in control of everything, including our present circumstances. Surrendering to God helps us to let go of whatever has been holding us back from God's best for our lives. By surrendering to God, we let go of whatever has kept us from wanting God's ways first.
Surrender to God - A Choice for Adam & Eve
In the beginning, God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave them everything they needed. All that was good to eat was available and attainable for them. All, that is, except one tree - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Enter the serpent, the one we now recognize as Satan. Sly and deceptive in all his ways, the serpent's first move was to question the word of God, when he suggested to Eve, "Did God really say that you couldn't eat from that tree?" As we all know, suggesting that forbidden fruit may not be forbidden after all is almost the same as license. Only the wise will question the potential result of giving in to temptation.
What if Adam and Eve had been wise enough to see the deception? What if they had recognized the choice that was being put before them, and rather than doubting God's Word, they had chosen instead to obey God? What if they had realized God was to be obeyed, even if His command didn't seem to make perfect sense to them? But note that God did not say to Adam and Eve, "you can't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Rather, we read in Genesis 2:16-17: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." [emphasis ours]
Surrender to God - A Choice for All of Us
Adam and Eve were given a choice to surrender to God when He said, "you shall not" as opposed to "you cannot." The fruit of this tree is not something we're likely to find in the produce section of our supermarket, but rather it represented the alternative God offered. Should Adam and Eve trust and obey Him for a greater reward down the road, or should they give in to the momentary desires of their hearts? Had they chosen to surrender the longings of their hearts to God, it's possible that we may all be living eternally on a perfect earth, right here and now. Tragically, Adam and Eve did not choose that path. And because of that first act of disobedience, our hearts have become more and more prone to selfishness with each generation. (Consider the evidence presented in chapter 4 of Genesis - when Cain, the very first human born to a woman, murdered his own brother. How quickly the corruption occurred!)
Before you decide to blame every problem throughout history on Adam and Eve, though, it's important to consider that we are all given the same choice they were given. It's just that they were the first ones to blow it.