Surrender. What exactly does that even mean?

One definition is to, “cease resistance to an enemy and submit to their authority.” In military terms, it involves relinquishing control over a territory.

But friend, when it comes to our Christian faith, we aren’t surrendering the territory of our heart to an enemy who makes us a prisoner of war—although before we surrendered we were most certainly an enemy of God. As the Bible says, being a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God (James 4:4).

For each of us, there came a point when we raised our white flag and said, “I surrender.” But accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior didn’t leave us defeated. On the contrary, we surrendered our way right into victory through Jesus Christ!

Incredible, right? The beginning of a new life, relinquishing control to the One who loves us so much that He surrendered His own life for you.

It’s hard for me to admit this, but I like to feel in control of my life. To have a good handle on what’s going on around me, and that I can manage it all with ease. The truth is, I’ve learned that I’m at my very worst when I try to take control—and at my very best when I yield to Jesus and just follow His lead.

I didn’t realize how self-reliant I was until one day, many years ago, I found myself in a place that was clearly out of my control. Our son, born prematurely, had some serious medical conditions that warranted three surgeries when he was only two days old. For the first time in my life, I remember feeling utterly helpless with no control whatsoever. My son needed what I could not give. I couldn’t be in the operating room with the surgeons to make sure they were performing the procedure correctly. I had questions, but no answers. I didn’t have a Plan B solution in my back pocket. All I could do was wait and pray. This was new to me.

It didn’t take long, however, for me to surrender in a very real way every single detail, every surgery, every diagnosis—everything—to God. Over the next several years, there were surgeries and outpatient procedures. Compound medications and machines. Occupational therapies and doctors appointments. Years of learning through experience how to surrender it all.

As Christians, surrender is something we must do on a regular basis. Sometimes willingly, and sometimes not without a fight. Either way, surrendering to God demonstrates that we trust Him, we trust His plan, and we release our burdens into His capable hands. Essentially, we are saying, “Have Your way Lord!”


Welcome those moments of surrender.

Through surrender, God enables us to keep fighting the real enemy from a place of victory.

  • When our thoughts would take us to dark or sinful places, we surrender those thoughts to God and He enables us to take them captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).


  • When we don’t understand why God is allowing things to go a certain way, we surrender to God’s purpose, knowing that His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours; we will see Him move in ways we never imagined (Isaiah 55:9).


  • When we find ourselves in one place but desperately long for things to be different, we surrender our situation to Jesus. We learn that contentment and joy can be ours, in spite of our circumstances (Philippians 4:11; James 1:2).


  • When we are prideful, bitter, or fearful, we surrender it all in exchange for His grace and mercy. For a love that covers our sin, softens our heart, gives way to humility, and leads us to dependent confidence in our faithful, Almighty God (1 Peter 5:5; Ezekiel 36:26; Psalm 89:8).


  • When we are waiting . . . for a prodigal to return home, for a marriage to be restored, for a diagnosis, or an answered prayer. In all these and more, we surrender to God. Will you trust Him? Lean in and listen . . . keep your eyes on Jesus. Let His Word fill you with hope and help as you wait (Isaiah 30:21; Isaiah 41:10; Hebrews 12:2).


We can trust God with every surrendered detail of our lives.

Remember that God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help us (Psalm 46:1). His plans are good and His mercy never fails (Lamentations 3:22-23).

To surrender to an enemy is unthinkable, undesirable, unimaginable. We were once at war with God—but Jesus surrendered His life on the cross for us, and now He calls us friends.

Another definition of surrender is to simply stop fighting. I like this one! Who better to give ourselves to in complete surrender than Jesus? After all, He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Friend, what are you fighting so hard to hold onto right now? I pray you will surrender it into better hands—you’ll be so glad you did!

Sweet surrender?

You bet it is!

Let the words of this song be yours today.

You can have it all Lord, every part of my world.

Take this life and breathe on this heart that is now Yours.

Oh, the joy I’ve found surrendering my crowns

at the feet of the King who surrendered everything.

And oh, the peace that comes when I’m broken and undone.

By Your unfailing grace, I can lift my voice and say,

You can have it all Lord, every part of my world.

Take this life and breathe on this heart that is now Yours.


Have It All, Brian Johnson, Bethel Music