In the world of military strategy, surrendering is just the opposite of victory. But in the life of a Christian, victory over satanic oppression comes only through total surrender to God. When we yield our hearts completely to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide our mind and heart (thoughts and feelings), we find ourselves responding to life’s circumstances rather than reacting to them.
Contrary to popular belief, responding and reacting don’t mean the same thing. I once heard someone explain the difference in this way: If a doctor reports that a patient is responding to medication, that’s good. If he’s having a reaction to treatment, that’s bad. Responding means that we are cooperating with God; reacting means we are not. Reacting means we are allowing our flesh to get in the way (Galatians 5:19-21). When we respond to the Holy Spirit, we allow Him to influence what we think, what we feel, what we say, and what we do (Galatians 5:22-26).
Making the transition from being a reactor to becoming a responder takes time. It requires diligence (effort) and vigilance (paying close attention). We have three factors working against us: The world, the flesh, and the devil. Those who love God and choose to live for Him are at war with all things worldly, fleshly, and satanic. And the evil influence is often so subtle that we often don’t recognize it for what it is (2 Corinthians 4:2-6).
As we draw closer to God and depend more upon Him for strength and wisdom, we must accept the fact that Satan is going to do everything he can to defeat us, to render us ineffective. How does he do this? By convincing us that following Christ means missing out on fun, excitement, and pleasure. In reality, following Christ means we allow Him to change the way we define fun, excitement, and pleasure. Our priorities change, and so do our values.
I used to think that being in church, in Bible studies, and serving in ministry would be terribly dull. I also thought that telling others about Christ and His work of redemption on the cross would be scary. What if they’re offended? What if they make fun of me? One of the amazing things about surrendering our hearts to the Holy Spirit is that our love for God and the desire to please Him overrides our fear of rejection or humiliation.
When something happens that we’re not prepared for, we tend to assume that it shouldn’t have happened. If it causes us pain or interferes with our plans, we decide that it’s wrong. We get frustrated, discouraged, and just plain mad. But once we surrender our hearts fully to God and allow Him to have full control of our lives, then our attitude regarding the unexpected begins to change. We start to trust God to know better than we do how things ought to go (Romans 8:28).
Where we run into trouble and get hung up is when we choose to love people, things, and activities more than we love God. It’s easy to do, especially if you’re a parent. Your relationship with your kids and grandkids can easily become more precious to you than your relationship with God. And when He chooses to allow one of them to die, it can rock your world so severely that you lose your joy. The joy He so lovingly made available to you through His Son’s sacrificial death on the cross (John 3:16).
For some people the loss of an exciting and fulfilling career can be just as devastating as the loss of a child or the end of a marriage. But when we choose to make our service to God our primary purpose in life, we start caring more about how He feels than about how we feel. We start to trust Him to know where we should go and what we should do (Jeremiah 29:11).
Belonging to God through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross means being His child. One of His own. There’s nothing more precious or comforting than that. Being indwelt by His Spirit means we have His power, His wisdom, and His love at work in us constantly. The reason we’re not aware of His presence is that we are too preoccupied with our own fleshly, worldly desires.
Surrendering our lives fully to God means we are allowing His Spirit to work in and through us, even in the most painful, devastating situations. We can choose to walk in the victory He provided us through Christ by surrendering every detail of our lives into His loving care. Once we do that, we are no longer afraid of what might happen. We know that whatever does happen is being used by God, painful and confusing as it is, to draw us even closer to Him and make us mightier soldiers in His army (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Surrender means victory if the One you’re surrendering to is the Lord God Almighty (Ephesians 3:20-21).