My focus for 2021
New Year, new focus!
Like many, I spent some time considering what “word” to choose as my focus for 2021. As I was finishing the year with a great book, end of year sermons, and my own personal devotions, a word seemed to echo in my heart. So for the year of 2021, my focus will be upon the act of Surrender!
Normally, the word surrender isn’t not one we think of in a positive light. The definition of the word surrender is:
“To cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.”
Whenever there is war, there will be surrender. In war, to surrender means to lay down weapons and to stop fighting for your cause. In war, the losers are the ones who surrender in humiliation and defeat. The climax of some of the greatest books and movies of all time, is the point at which the protagonist is confronted with prospect of surrender. The height of the plot coming when, with all option are exhausted, all strength depleted, and casualties high and the hero is faced with the choice to surrender pride, rights, livelihood, family, and freedom in order to survive. The resolution of some of the greatest battles in history are those in when, against all odds, the underdogs didn’t just survive, they defeated their enemy. Surrender is not something we are supposed to yield to, but rather something we fight against, at all cost.
But as I sit on the couch, the old hymn “All to Jesus, I surrendered” echoes in my head. Surrender!?!? Why in the world would I voluntarily do this you might ask? We just celebrated the Christmas season with the familiar words “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill to all men.” With what has gone on in our world in just the last year even, it’s obvious that this wasn’t a declaration to mankind and a promise that the end of all wars and violence had come to earth. We in America alone have experienced the Revolutionary war, Civil war, World war I & II, and vietnam war…… just to name a few. No, this announcement thousands of years ago held far greater meaning for all of mankind both present and future.
Because of sin, before that wondrous night in Bethlehem, man was always and only at war with God. Mortal enemies with an immortal and all powerful God with the doom of all mankind guaranteed. “But God, who is rich in mercy and great Love” sent His only begotten Son, in order to facilitate the most historic peace accord of all time. We deserved absolute annihilation as enemies of the Living God but Jesus, God’s Holy and Righteous Son, came as a babe and then died on the cross, feeling the full weight of His Father’s wrath and justice. Mankind, once mortal enemies with God could now be “brought near” and “called sons and daughters.” Where all of mankind once had the sentence of eternal death and separation from Christ pronounced upon them, they could now receive not only pardon but also adoption into God’s family. Added to this, a promise was given that man would only be pardoned, he would also become joint heirs with His Son, and gifted with all the rights and privileges that Jesus Christ, the Son of God had. The only action required was surrender.
For the 1st and only time in history surrender wouldn’t mean humiliation, imprisonment, expulsion, the loss of everything, execution, or suffering. This surrender, this bowing of knee to the rule and reign of God, meant adoption and absolvement of the debt we owed and could never repay. Surrender didn’t mean slavery and loss of freedom, it meant provision and power. Instead of the victor taking everything from us as plunder, we received complete access to His evenly treasures, imperishable, immeasurable, and eternal.
This is a gift I received as a young 6 year old girl but for God’s children, the need for and call to surrender is one I must engage in daily. This call to surrender has been a common theme and mantra of our church. A call to Surrender my time and talents, so they can be used for God’s purposes and glory not mine. It is a call to Surrender what is comfortable and familiar and to step out into the battlefield where I will be uncomfortably stretched beyond what I thought possible. It is a call to surrender my desire to have a safe and pain free life for my kids by stepping aside and allowing the Lord to have His way, in His time, with my kids. The day I kneeled in surrender, accepting the free gift of salvation and peace with God, my life of surrender had just begun. Its easy to forget this truth in the midst of a busy life. Its easy to forget my life is no longer mine, because it was redeemed with the most expensive and precious price ever paid.
So for 2021, surrender is my focus. The action of giving up one thing in order to obtain something else of greater eternal value. I know surrender might be uncomfortable and even painful at times, but in the end I know the words of Jim Elliot will prove true:
“He is no fool who gives up what he can not keep,
In order to gain what he can not loose.”
For another blog about surrender click here: “On The Edge of That Glad Surrender”