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Even Jesus had an “I don’t want to surrender” list.
His list only had one item on it, though, not ten.
There in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced His reason not to want to surrender to God: He didn’t want to be separated from Him.
Christ knew the instant He took on the sin of the world, “became sin” as the Bible says, God would have to turn His face away from Christ. God’s holiness and our sin don’t mix.
If Jesus chose to surrender to the way of the cross, He was choosing to be separated from God.
Notice that I said Jesus had a list. I didn’t go so far as to say He didn’t want to surrender.
Christ wanted to surrender, but He had a list of one good reason why He wouldn’t want to surrender if He didn’t want to surrender, but He did want to, so He prayed, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
None of us can put “I Don’t Want to Be Separated From God” on our top ten list of why we don’t want to surrender. For us, surrendering doesn’t interrupt our fellowship with God, it assures it.
So what’s on my top ten list of why I don’t want to fully surrender to God?
If we’ve never experienced living a fully surrendered life, nor seen others live surrendered, we’re forced to take God’s Word on faith.
That’s not always our favorite thing to do. Most of us prefer to see where we’ll land before we leap.
Just because God’s Word says it works, or others say so, doesn’t mean we’re naturally going to trust it will work for us.
“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
2. Bad Press
A life of surrender to God is often portrayed as a life of nothing but sacrifice and pain.
The Egyptian Christians surrendered, and ISIS chopped off their heads, right?
That’s not exactly appealing advertising for enlisting us into a life of surrender.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
3. Past Hurts
Most of us have been disappointed by someone or something in which we’ve placed our faith. Those times color our desire to surrender to anyone else again, even God.
We don’t want to believe that God would let us down, but deep inside, we’re scared He will.
Surrendering to an individual can be scary. We’re giving them control over us.
There are people to whom no one should ever surrender in any way, but God is not one of them.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16)
4. Enough is Enough
Since the day we were born, people have been telling us what to do. Our parents, teachers, coaches, boss, the government, etc. have told us what to do.
“Enough!” we say. We’re tired of doing what everyone else wants us to do.
“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46)
What if surrendering to God means giving up our hopes and dreams and accepting a life that will be rigid and trapped?
We’ll be forced to accept God’s dreams for us instead of our own.
We may fear God’s dreams for us will be “important,” but not fun, something we should want, but don’t really want.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)
If we surrender to God, will He send us off to live in a dilapidated hut somewhere in the middle of nowhere as a missionary?
Will we end up in one of ISIS’ death cages?
We’re afraid God’s “best for our life” might actually land us somewhere we’re scared to be.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
7. Loss of Identity
Hollywood has done an effective job painting Christians as pathetic, judgmental, carbon-copy Christians that make even actual Christians watching the movie cheer against them.
To be fair, many of us Christians have given them plenty of fodder to work with as they write their scripts.
We may fear that surrendering to Christ means surrendering who we are to become a Bible-toting, bland version of who we once were. Who wants to become a Stepford wife?
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Some of us are willing to give up some control of our lives to God, but we’re afraid to give Him total control because we’ve built a comfortable life, and we’re afraid of losing it.
We like living under the radar. We want to be left alone.
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)
If we’re truly honest with ourselves, the #1 reason we don’t want to surrender to God is because, in our human pride, we want to be God.
We want to call the shots in our life, until we get into trouble. Then we suddenly want Him to show up and be Almighty God for us. (Actually, we want Him to be our Genie in a bottle. We still want to be God.)
“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)
10. Ignorance or Dellusion
Some of us simply just don’t know we’re supposed to surrender to God. Christianity is new to us, so we’re still learning what a life with God really means.
Others of us believe we have surrendered when we actually haven’t.
We don’t know what it looks like to be fully surrendered, so we think we have, but we’ve come short of full-all-out surrender.
Still, others of us declare we have, but it’s just a show. Our pride may be so strong that we’ve even fooled ourselves.
If you imply we haven’t surrendered, we’ll fight you over it. (By the way, if you’re ready to fight over this, it’s a pretty good sign that you haven’t fully surrendered.)
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
Now for some soul searching.
We have to ask ourselves if we’re living right now fully surrendered to God.
Are we experiencing the Whatever-You-say-God-I-only-want-what-You-want-for-my-life-and-nothing-else-no-matter-what-the-cost kind of surrender?
Our lives will never be what God intended them to be, nor what we really want them to be, until we live fully surrendered to Him.
Surrender is a moment-by-moment choice. It’s not a one-time decision like salvation.
Which of these reasons (or others) may be blocking our path?
We’ll talk about dealing with these obstacles in a later post, but here’s a hint: When you come to know God and His character as He really is, the obstacles melt away.
Now that you’ve seen my top ten reasons for not wanting to surrender, what are yours? Do you have some I didn’t mention? Add to my list in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.
In my next Surrender Series post, we’ll look at an eye-opening realization that helped remove the stumbling blocks in my path to surrender. It was an “A Ha! moment” that changed me. Stay tuned!
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