Joy in Surrender


PrayerAnd we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).  As we come before Your throne today, O God, we recognize that You are He who has created everything.  You are the maker and judge of all people.  We want to surrender our lives to You this day that You, God, would transform us.  Use us everywhere. We pray that the power of Your Spirit would guide and direct us in our words and actions.  Also, we pray that we might be a living testament to Your love, grace, mercy, and salvation.  We will give You all the praise and the glory for anything that is accomplished today. Amen!

Main Scripture: Read Philippians 1:22-26.

Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose.  I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.  Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Associated Scriptures:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you (John 15:9-12).

He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30).

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26).

Correlative Quotes:

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. [1] – Oswald Chambers

…for true solid joy springs from faith in the person, blood, righteousness, and atonement of Christ; and is what may be increased, and is often done by and through the ministry of the word, and the ministers of the Gospel; who do not pretend to have dominion over the faith of men, only to be helpers of their joy, as they sometimes are, as also of their faith, which as it comes by hearing is increased the same way.[2]  – John Gill

Our heavenly Father has given all of us this same right: the privilege to choose a surrendered life. No one is forced to yield his life to God. Our Lord doesn't make us sacrifice our will and give back our lives to Him.  The truth is, we can have as much of Christ as we want. We can go as deeply in Him as we choose, living fully by his Word and direction. The apostle Paul knew this. And he chose to follow Jesus' example of a fully surrendered life.[3] – David Wilkerson


When we think about people in the Bible who surrendered their lives to God, it is difficult not to think of Paul.  Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee.  He referred to himself as a “Hebrew of Hebrews.”  During the time of the early church, in Jerusalem, he persecuted Christians, including Steven, who he watched being stoned, for witnessing to the Jews.

Paul did everything he could to destroy the early church, and he was responsible for driving all of the Christians except the apostles from Jerusalem.  He was a proud and arrogant man who had a single focus: the destruction of Christianity. 

Jesus blinded Paul on the road to Damascus as he was chasing the remnants of the church at Jerusalem (Read Acts 22:6-11).  The miracle resulted in Paul accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior (Read Acts 9:17-19 and Acts 22:14-18).  Paul immediately began to surrender his life to God and to fulfill God’s plan for him on earth (Read Acts 9:20-22).

Experiencing the joy of surrender begins with our salvation.  Looking back to mid-July 1960, it seems now like a very long time ago.  I had just finished my junior year in high school.  Carol and I had been able to get back together again during our last year.  Her parents still weren’t happy with us dating, but they agreed to let me take her to school events and church.  I loved her so much that I would have agreed to do anything to see her.

I had been raised in the high Episcopal Church, which, at that time was almost identical to the Catholic Church.  Episcopal services, however, were in English instead of Latin.  My father taught a Sunday school class, so we never missed a service unless we were so sick that we couldn’t get out of bed. 

I was tall from an early age and therefore was chosen as an acolyte at about age ten instead of the normal twelve.  An acolyte attends to the needs of the priest before, during, and after the service.  I carried the cross during the processional and recessional and assisted at the altar during communion.

As a teenage boy, I had little or no interest in church but since I had to be there, I did listen and stand when we were supposed to stand, kneel when it was appropriate, and sit when those instructions were given. 

The repetitive nature of the mass allowed me to memorize a few verses.  The messages from the priest helped me to understand the life of Jesus and the apostles.  The Sunday school classes gave me cursory knowledge of the characters of the Bible.

As an Episcopalian, I believed that there was a God.  I understood that Jesus was the son of God and that He was born of a virgin mother.  I knew that he was forced to die a cruel death on a cross for our sins, and that was called atonement.  Atonement meant that He died for our sins so that we could have eternal life.  I may have been a little fuzzy about the Holy Spirit, but I did know that He was God and that He was part of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The Episcopal Church in Boardman, Ohio, was a beautiful little white wood-framed building that was hauled, stain glass windows and all, as a precut structure from Connecticut and assembled on Market Street in 1807.

Carol’s church was in Struthers Ohio.  Struthers was an older community than Boardman.  The first time I took Carol to church she directed me down a few city streets.  When we turned onto Elm Street and approached 4th Street, there it was, the Struthers Baptist Tabernacle.  The church was a small rectangular cement block building that had a large red neon sign on top announcing “JESUS SAVES.”  Needless to say, I was taken aback.  What had I agreed to do?

Over the next year, we were at church a lot. I was falling deeper in love with Carol, but her parents would still only allow me to take her to church and school events.  The Baptists had church Wednesday night (prayer and Bible study), Thursday night (prayer and evangelism), Friday or Saturday night (youth), and Sunday morning and evening church services.  There were a lot of opportunities.  We had many dates.

During this time, the teens were continually witnessing to me.  They would say: “You must believe that there is a God who created everything.”  “You need to believe that Jesus is God.”  “You must believe that Jesus died for your sins.” “Salvation only comes through faith in Jesus.”  This went and on and on.

I did believe these things, I believed them all. They were puzzled.  How could someone believe what they believed and not be saved?  I was confused.  I knew that they had something I didn’t.  But what was it?  On a positive note, although my parents wondered why I was spending so much time in church, they figured at least I was staying out of trouble.

That summer, while mowing a field on a tractor, God spoke to me and said, “You know all about me, but you don’t have a personal relationship with me.”  That was it.  That was the missing link to my salvation.  The piece of the puzzle of eternal life that I had not seen before.  I shut off the tractor, got down by one of the big wheels, knelt, and asked Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior.  I was transformed immediately. 

Salvation is not what or how much you know about God, it is a personal relationship with the one who died for us.  It is a father-son relationship based on a new life, a new birth, a spiritual birth.  “You must be born again.  No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:3 and 5).

Joy in surrender also comes through our call to ministry.  God gives each of us a gift(s) that are to be used within the body or community and in our daily walk outside the body of Christ.

Summary Statement:

To find joy in our lives, we must understand that we are subservient to God.  We are his servants here on earth by a combination of His commands and our choice as believers.  To function as servants, we must surrender our egos and wants to Him and follow His lead in our lives. 

We receive the leading of the Spirit by believing in Jesus alone for our salvation (John 14:6).  Prayer, reading, and understanding God’s word the Bible, are the actions that prove our transformation.  It is through these actions, that we may experience the fullness of joy that comes from surrender.

Lessons within the Lesson:

What does it mean to surrender to God?

What happens to us when we surrender our lives to God?

What is the first step in surrendering to God and how is it accomplished?

What does it mean to be called of God and how does he help us fulfill that calling?

[1] Oswald Chambers, The Surrendered Life, My Utmost for His Highest, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, copyright March 8, 2015,

[2] John Gill, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1810, Public Domain, Mathews & Leigh, London, P. 19,336.

[3] David Wilkerson, The Surrendered Life, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, © 2015 World Challenge. All rights reserved. PO box 260, Lindale, TX 75771-0260, (903) 963-8626 January 23, 2002, surrenderedlife.