I once did a home fellowship group that focused on the importance of understanding, and embracing, surrender.
Our current culture has saturated the meaning of the word surrender with negative connotations. Examples of what I mean are, “surrender” in battle, or ‘surrendering to a weakness”. These are negative in that they are not what we want to do. They carry shame.
Surrender does mean to cease resisting. But it is not always bad. When faced with overwhelming power, surrender is appropriate. Such is the case with God.
There are positive instances of ceasing to resist. They are different because the object being surrendered to is a good thing, not a carrier of shame. There is liberation tied to surrendering to the right things.
Here is a current example of the “right” type of surrendering. In a contemporary Christian song I heard on the radio yesterday I heard the phrase “I surrender to His kindness.”
Let me flesh that out a bit. We have to be willing to receive in order for an intended gift to be appropriated. God has gifts for all of us, both in-born and experiential. But receiving them is subject to our will, as He will not transgress our freedom of choice.
Our old Adamic man is filled with pride. Many of us live out our lives based on being self-sufficient. It goes beyond the “I don’t need your help” mindset. Ever know anyone who just couldn’t accept a sincere compliment graciously?
In my work on operating the Spiritual Gifts, there is a section that describes of the prerequisite of being willing to receive. Instead of pride, which we all know the Lord rightly resists, surrender is the attitude of humility. It is saying I know you want the best for me, and anything you have to give me that will help me to fulfill your will, I accept with grace.
Notice the attitude of submission in the statement above. Submission is the positive by-product of surrender. At least it is positive when the object of the “ceasing to resist” is worthy.
Much of the same could be said of the real meaning of the word submission. But don’t get me started.