One of the hardest points of transformation starts right at the very beginning. Surrender. Surrendering your life, from what you do to what you think or say, to God so that He can renew and transform you according to His will. This is something that has never come easily to me because, like many of you reading this, I like to be in control. I like to know that I hold the reins to my own life. Unfortunately, this is not the case… ever. Why? Because I don’t!
Jesus tells us throughout His Word to deny ourselves and follow Him: to surrender our lives for what He has in store for us. Take a look at the following verses:
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25 ESV)
Jesus tells us quite clearly in this verse that an important step to following Him is self-denial. Just look again at verse 25: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” What does that even mean?
Simply put, those who choose not to surrender to Christ easily become so caught up in worldly things that they lose what could have been a life of true joy and closeness to their heavenly Father. Those who choose to submit to Christ discover a whole new way of living, full of eternal hope and a burning passion for Jesus Christ. Yes, surrender is probably one of hardest things for anyone to do. But if you think about it, what are we really losing? What is it that we’re having to surrender? Scripture tells us in Romans 12:1-2:
“So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” (ESV)
By surrendering our wicked ways and even our will to God, He is using that to shape our lives and thinking in a way that is pleasing to Him. When looking at it from this perspective, surrender actually seems really great!
As daunting as it may seem at first, surrendering yourself to God’s will is the best decision that you could ever make in the long-run. I encourage you to pray that God would take your will and instead shape you to His will. The only way to transform to a new self is to give up the old one, and in doing that we have already begun the process of transformation.