In a sermon I heard recently, preacher Tony Evans said that he thinks we should exchange the word ‘commitment’ (good though it sounds) with the word ‘surrender’ – because when we are committed we are usually still in control, whereas when we surrender, someone else in control.
These words have stayed with me and it’s been interesting to catch myself and change my language. I’ve noticed it mostly when I’m praying – committing the day, myself, or something else, to God. That sounds okay, doesn’t it? But when I switch the word to ‘surrender’ it takes on a different hue: I surrender my day, I surrender myself, I surrender whatever else …. to Another. I’m not in control. In surrendering, I’m giving it up and allowing Him the freedom to do whatever He wants… even if it’s not what I want. It requires more trust. And it’s made me pause a few times: I’m happy to commit x or y or z, but am I willing to surrender it?
We have lots of commitments: family, work, church, faith, community, causes, sport, interests, health, study, projects, activities…and it’s challenging to reframe them as opportunities for surrender. But if we want to become more like Jesus, then I guess we have to. Because when we look to the Gospels, that’s what we see: Jesus wasn’t merely committed to obeying God, but fully surrendered to His will.