Inspiration

Surrender: the Only Way to Live

Though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men." (Philippians 2:6-7 LB)

Everybody surrenders to something or someone in life. If not to God, you'll surrender to popular opinion, money, resentment, or fear, to your own pride, lust, and ego.

We were designed to worship something, and when we fail to worship God, we create gods (idols) to which we surrender ourselves. E. Stanley Jones said, "If you don't surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos." You're free to choose what you surrender to, but you're not free from the consequences of that choice: "So give yourselves completely to God" (James 4:7a NCV).

Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works. All other approaches lead to frustration, disappointment, and self-destruction.

The King James Version of Romans 12:1 calls surrender "your reasonable service." The Contemporary English Version translates it as "the most sensible way to serve God."

Surrendering your life is not a foolish emotional impulse but a rational, intelligent act, the most responsible and sensible thing you can do with your life. Your wisest moments will be those when you say "yes" to God: "So we make it our goal to please him" (2 Corinthians 5:9a NIV).

Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you discover the greatest hindrance to God's blessing in your life is not others but yourself - your self will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill God's purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans. If God is going to do his deepest work in you, it will begin with this.

So give it all to God: your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions, your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Christ in the driver's seat of your life, and take your hands off the steering wheel. Don't be afraid; nothing under his control can ever be out of control.

Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything: "I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency" (Philippians 4:13b AMP).

You may worry, "What if I stumble or relapse?"

If? You will stumble in pleasing God! No one can live a perfectly surrendered life except Jesus.

But God has provided for the inevitability of your sin: "If you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely" (1 John 2:1 LB).

Talk About It

In what ways does the world try to keep you from surrendering?

- How have you let your pride or ambition keep you from surrendering to God?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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