Adrian Rogers, a famous 20th-century Baptist pastor, once went on a missions trip to Romania. Over the course of two weeks, he bonded with his interpreter but hadn’t learned much about his thoughts. So toward the end of the trip he asked, “Tell me, what do you think of American Christians?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” came the strange reply. This, of course, only made Dr. Rogers more curious, so he began to press him for an answer.
Finally the interpreter capitulated. “Well, okay then, but you’re not going to like my answer. I don’t think you Americans understand what Christianity is all about. Back in the 1960s, you started to use the word ‘commitment’ to describe your relationship with Christ. However, any time a word comes into usage, another word goes into disuse.”
He continued, “Until the 1960s, you Americans talked about ‘surrender’ to Christ. Surrender means giving up control, turning over all to the Master, Jesus. By changing to the word ‘commitment,’ your relationship with Christ has become something you do; therefore you are able to keep control. Surrender means giving up all rights to oneself. You Americans don’t like to do that, so instead you make a commitment.”
Have you truly surrendered, not just committed, your life to Jesus Christ? Maybe you have “prayed a sinner’s prayer,” maybe not. Maybe you surrendered in the past, but you have taken back control of your life. In any case, be sure to settle this issue very soon.
The great irony of surrender is that it leads not to defeat but victory. You can surrender, or re-surrender, your life by humbly telling God in your own words that you desire to yield control of your life to Him in repentance and faith. Or, if you wish, you can pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I need You in my life right now more than I ever have. I have very little joy, peace, and passion in my life. I confess that I have been trying to have the best of both worlds, that I have been double minded, and that I have been seeking the God I have wanted and not the God who is. I am so sorry, and I repent. Please forgive me. Thank You for loving me so much that You would die for all my sins so that I can have eternal life. By faith I receive (or renew) my salvation and I surrender my life to You. Take control of my life. Make me into the kind of man I’ve been reading about in this book. I pray this in Your name, Jesus, and for Your glory. Amen.
If you’ve just surrendered or re-surrendered your life, congratulations. The surrendered life is the foundation under everything we’ve been discussing in this book. Be sure to tell someone what you’ve done. If someone gave you this book, let him or her know. Tell your spouse, your pastor, your small group—anyone who will listen. The feedback you receive will strengthen your faith.
Let me add one suggestion. Because I am a rebel, as most men are, I realize that I must each day come humbly to the foot of the cross in a spirit of repentance and faith, once again making a full, total, and complete surrender of my life to the lordship of Jesus. Let me encourage you also to practice daily surrender.
Note: I thought it would be a great way to end/start the year with this profound insight about the nature of our walk with Jesus. This is an excerpt from my new book, How God Makes Men.
Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.