What does it look like to surrender?

What does it look like to surrender?

I grew up going to church and back in the day, we would sing primarily out of hymnals.  I used to love these books!  The hymnal was old and the pages worn, yellowed and torn.

As you cracked open the cover, history would unfold before you of songs written so long ago.

As soon as my family would sit down for church in our wooden pew, my brothers and I would usually fight over who would hold the hymnal.  There never seemed to be enough hymnals for every person in the pew to hold on to one.   I don’t know if someone was smuggling them out of the church or what.  But I will say this–I’m surprised there wasn’t a smack down right there in the pew between my brothers and I.  Somehow my mom kept a handle on that.

When I did get a turn to be the designated hymnal holder, I would rush to find the correct page number as soon as the worship leader called it out.  It was a race with time.  Now I grew up in a Christian family that went to church every single time the church doors were open.  Sunday morning.  Sunday night.  And even Wednesday nights.  I guess my parents knew my brothers and I needed it.  They did their job to get us there.  But little did they know that on Sunday nights, when they allowed three of us to sit apart from them, we would often spend the entire sermon time flipping through the hymnals.  Now I would like to say that we were meditating on all of the complex lyrics and that spiritually something wonderful was happening there.  But I’m afraid that’s not the case.  One of our favorite past times were to add on to the song title this simple phrase “in the bathtub.” For example, we would sing “Onward Christian Soldiers in the bathtub” and “Jesus Paid it all in the bathtub.”  You get the idea. We made a mockery out of these wonderful Christian songs.

It makes me wonder—how often do I make a mockery out of the songs I sing at church today?

Let alone all of the scripture that I read and proudly claim to believe.  Would someone looking into my life really see affirmation that I believe in God and that He is my Lord and Savior?  Is it obvious to others that I love Him?  Does my life reflect it? 

Does my talk match my walk?

There’s one verse in particular that has really been tripping me up lately and it is this:

“Any of you who does not give up EVERYTHING he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33

 This verse is talking about Surrender. In 1896, J.W. Van DeVenter penned the words to a hymn titled, “I Surrender All.”  The 1st verse and chorus go like this:

 All to Jesus I surrender;

all to him I freely give;

I will ever love and trust him,

in his presence daily live.

Refrain:

I surrender all, I surrender all,

all to thee, my blessed Savior,

I surrender all.

I can picture it—the church congregation of my youth belting out the words of this song at the top of their lungs.  I surrender all.  I can even fast-forward many years and imagine this same hymn being sung in our churches today and everyone joining in.

Our lips would be moving—but would our hearts be turning?

If I were to rewrite this song of old, I would not add the lyric “in the bathtub” to the end.  Instead, it might sound something like this… I surrender some, I surrender some, little to thee and more for me,

I surrender some.

And so I ask of you today, “Why are we so hesitant to give God our all?  What is our hang-up with this word surrender?”

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