by Rick Warren
“Give yourselves to God … surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” Romans 6:13 (TEV)
The heart of worship is surrender.
Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser.
Surrender evokes the unpleasant images of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context. Captured criminals surrender to the authorities.
In our competitive world we’re taught to never quit trying, never give up, and never give in – so we don’t hear much about surrendering. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable.
Yet, the Bible teaches us that rather than trying to win, succeed, overcome, and conquer, we should instead yield, submit, obey, and surrender.
And by surrendering to God, we enter into the heart of worship. This is true worship: bringing pleasure to God as we give ourselves completely to him.
Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience, cooperating with your Creator. You say “Yes, Lord” to whatever he asks of you.
In fact, “No, Lord” is a contradiction. You can’t claim Jesus as your Lord when you refuse to obey him. Peter modeled surrender when, after a night of failed fishing, Jesus told him to try again: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Surrendered people obey God’s word, even when it doesn’t make sense.
God is not a cruel slave driver or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us into submission. He doesn’t try to break our will, but woos us to himself, so that we might offer it freely to him. God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering brings freedom, not bondage.
When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend.