“This action of God surely requires a response. And the response extends over the lifetime of the one baptized, expressing itself in a desire to die in order that one might live. For the life that is ready to die is the kind that lives by faith in the forgiving and life-giving Word of God” Luther’s Works: 35.34
Why is it that when Christians talk about “surrender” it usually means doing something? I’ve been guilty of this.
According to the dictionary, to surrender means to yield to possession by a greater power. The act of surrender is yielding for the purpose of being acted upon. Pop-Christianity has redefined it to mean to demonstrate one’s love and devotion to God. What if true surrender had less to do with convincing God of my love for him, and a whole lot more to do with him convincing me of his love for…me?
Luther’s quote above calls for a response, but the kind of response he calls for is different than we might expect. The response is a desire to die to sin and self so that there can be a resurrection. The resurrection is all God’s work.
I have no issue with the biblical mandate that we bear fruit in good works. However, there’s something wonderfully refreshing about God being the subject of the sentence, rather than all that I’ve done to surrender my life to Him. Could be I’m not as important as I’ve imagined all these years…
If we get uncomfortably honest [which is the whole point of this blog] too much attention paid to surrendering leads to some weird stuff. You create a spiritual class system. Sooner or later there will be more and less surrendered people: folks who’s lives would be a heck of a lot better if the would just SURRENDER MORE. The really surrendered folks will gravitate toward leadership, and the rest of us are the dead weight they’re dragging toward enlightenment.
If all of us were spiritual beggars, think how much less time we’d spend diagnosing someone’s gimpy walk with God, and how much more we’d be struck down in heartfelt worship.
Guilty as charged and in need of grace.