For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. –Matthew 16:25
First of all, I’ve been meaning to write on here again for quite some time now, but, as it turns out, college has taken up a lot of my time and I’m just now getting around to writing. *sigh*
But nevertheless, I’ve felt compelled to share about a powerful yet sometimes neglected truth I have been learning (often the hard way). It’s an underlying theme all throughout the Bible and Jesus’ teachings, yet I’ve found is far too easily forgotten or, quite simply, ignored. It is, however, essential to living, if we so choose to live out life to the full capacity God has given us.
It is the power of surrender.
In a world full of self-help books and motivational speakers (and preachers) which seek to show us how we can “become our best self,” we often forget our desperate need for Jesus. The truth is, we’re all broken, and no matter how hard we try to fix ourselves, it’s just not going to work. Maybe for a while, yes. But in order to find a lasting freedom in our lives, we have to give ourselves up entirely to Jesus.
How do I know this? Well, I can point to scripture that shows this (I’ll get to that later). But I also know this from the reality of what has happened in my life. You see, from the time I was about 14 years old, I’ve always, from a subjective Christian standpoint, had a “good relationship with the Lord.” I’ve prayed, read the Bible, gone to church, and done all the “Christian” things. But these things, although beneficial (and necessary) for my walk with the Lord, really got me nowhere until I decided to fully give myself up to Him.
And honestly, some of the darkest times in my life have been when I haven’t fully surrendered myself to Jesus. Most of the time, the things I chose to “handle on my own” have been good things, per say, like a close friendship, relationship, or my achievements. Other times, I have chosen to hold back things I knew were in direct opposition to His plan, like a secret sin or unhealthy lifestyle. Either way, every time I have chosen to hide something from God (which really isn’t possible, but I sometimes liked to imagine it was), or hold back something from Him that I wanted to handle myself, I have ended up stressed out, anxious, and generally just plain miserable (even if I denied the fact that I was miserable!).
I have found that freedom comes in surrender to Jesus Christ. And by surrender, I mean giving Him my every selfish desire, my every hope, my every plan, and letting Him radically change me. It’s not easy to do, after all, it’s not human nature to give up what we think we can control. But you see, God does want us to have a rich, impactful, fulfilling life. He desires for us to know Him intimately and to feel fulfilled even when the going gets tough. But we can’t experience that until we completely surrender ourselves to Him.
In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Now that’s some radical truth. I think many of us have been so busy trying to “save our lives” that we’ve lost them in the process.
True living comes from surrendering ourselves to Him. It’s a daily choice, but it’s one of the greatest choices we could ever make. It’s not worth the struggle to fight life’s challenges or even control God’s blessings on our own. One of the best things about Jesus is that He wants to have a relationship with you. So give yourself to Him. Lose your life for Him a little. I think you’ll find it one of the most freeing things you’ll ever do.