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I Surrender All



From hymns to slogans, the idea we must give ALL to Christ resonates in the church.


“We need to carry our cross.”

“Each day, die to self.”

“Make sure you give God everything you own.”

“Anything more important than God is an idol.”

“All to Jesus I give.”

“I Surrender all.”


Oddly enough, as I sat down to finalize this writing, I heard the last song. I guess it proves that these messages are constantly filling our heads and hearts. As it would turn out, I also heard a few of these in a sermon last night that used this passage (I already had in the first draft):


“So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.” Luke 18:19-23


This story is misused to state Jesus was clear- we need to be willing to part with our possessions. Anything we keep from God shows we don’t really want to be His disciples. Sadly, that story is about trying to make your way to Heaven through self-effort- not about having wealth. But this passage is used with other passages like this one to tell us Jesus wants you to give everything we own up for Him:


“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:25-33


I can hear the preacher now; “Jesus calls us to give up all and take up our cross in order to be His disciple. Have you given Him everything?”


Maybe you have already typed ‘amen’ in the comments or at least said it under your breath but hold that thought. What if I totally disagreed with all this? Not that we shouldn’t put God above everything in life, I just believe Jesus was speaking of something more powerful and deeper.


Students of Scripture envision what is taking place as they read the Bible. We need to put ourselves at the scene so we can grasp the details that can help us understand the context. This will help us grasp what Jesus is getting at in the second story.


Jesus has become a rock star. Word keeps spreading about the miracles and wonders He does. People are following Him but for all the wrong reasons so Jesus decides to give some harsh truth- the ones He seeks to follow Him will have a much different perspective on His mission. The ones He wants are the ones who put their trust- their life, in Him. He wanted people who would say:


“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20


Of course, Jesus had yet taken up His own cross, but the principle was being laid- take stock and count the cost of being my follower. So, what is Jesus asking for? What does He want us to give up? I believe it comes down to three major things that the people at that time were reluctant to give up- self-righteousness (idea we have a part to play in salvation), self-reliance (idea we must ‘do’ to please God) and their sense of justice and fairness (dictating to God what His grace means).


The Pharisees and religious leaders were teaching Israel they could achieve a good standing with God by being obedient and utilizing ceremonial cleansing when obedience lagged. In short, they put the focus on self-effort and Jesus wanted the people to trust Him instead. Incidentally, that is the real message of the story of the rich man in Luke 18:


“And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:24-27


That story wasn’t about giving up riches- it was about giving up self-righteousness (self-effort). With man (self-righteousness) it is impossible- but with Christ (His righteousness) it is possible.


To follow Christ, we must give up our effort- not just to be saved but to live out our salvation. This is the second major concept we need to surrender. This is where many today get tripped up and perhaps why they focus on physical possessions instead of control and trust. I just read this quote from one such gentleman:


“Jesus never has and never will save a sin-filled willful unrepentant sinner....the only way one can be saved is by repenting of their previously committed sins, making yourself sinless in His sight to be saved...”


This man looks to his effort to make himself clean- he is not giving ALL to Jesus. He is relying on himself to please God and ‘keep’ salvation. Whether you think you can lose your salvation or not, this is a trap easily ensnared in. Anytime we believe God must see action (obedience, works, etc.) to be happy with us we have succumbed to self-reliance. Jesus wants ALL- including any idea we must ‘do’ or God won’t be pleased.


Just as we need to surrender self-righteousness and self-reliance, we need to surrender our desire to force God to limit His grace. This one may seem strange, but it is huge. This issue keeps us from accepting the full measure of God’s grace. Instead of embracing God’s grace, we fight it because it steps on our idea of fairness and justice. We recoil to the idea grace has no limits, restrictions, or strings attached. Our sense of fairness quickly intercedes, and we don’t give Christ our ALL. Jesus even gave a parable to show this:


““For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’ “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”” Matthew20:1-16


Jesus lays down the truth- the Master chooses what He desires and if He desires to give grace without any condition so be it! We need to lay down our desire to put OUR conditions onto HIS grace.


Jesus wants us to give ALL- but, ultimately, it ALL boils down to trust. He wants us to trust Him for His Righteousness. He desires for us to trust Him in what He does through us which pleases God. And He wants us to trust His abundant, never ending, boundless, grace. Trust Him in ALL His ways by setting aside ALL of our ways. Surrender all, so much more than your money and home- it is our trust.


Prayer focus: For us to trust God, even in the corrupted political environment of our time.




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