Surrender is a key step in our journey towards self-realization. Most of us rebel against surrendering to anyone outside of ourselves. We have been brought up to believe that we have to strengthen our ego, gain skills and knowledge and by that we can progress in our goals. These goals could be spiritual or temporal. For us everything in life-including God-realization is a project. A project for which we have to work towards diligently.
The nature of God-realization is totally different. It is only by completely surrendering to God’s will that we can be self-realized. Why is this so? The reason is that when we are ruled by the Ego, all we can see is a limited world. I, Me, Myself is what our life revolves around. In that situation the world is divided into two categories. The first category is Me and all those things that belong to me. The second category is those things that are not in the first category!
When we are ruled by our ego, we compete with the world for everything. But the reality is that everything is a part of God. Only God is real. And that the entirety of creation comes from within the essence of God. What if, in our body, the stomach started competing with the heart or the brain or the lungs? What if the stomach denied nourishment to these vital organs?
We all know that it would be foolish and suicidal for the entire body and for the stomach as well. This may seem obvious to us but isn’t it how we behave when it comes to living in this world?
For God, we are all His children and He does not discriminate between His children. He loves everyone equally. So it is clear that if we are in our Ego, we cannot be in God.
When we realize this, we don’t know what to do. The Ego is limited. It does not have the vision or the capability to see beyond itself. But this realization is a golden moment for the individual seeker. This is the point when the Ego gives up and gets out of the way. That’s when surrender takes place. That’s when an individual gives up and puts himself in the hands of someone who is higher than his ego. This is why it is very important to understand the concept of surrender.
Surrender is of many types and there is confusion in the mind of the devotee about the meaning of the word surrender. Let me clear the doubts in this article.
When we think about, “surrendering to God,” we usually think in terms of letting God do what He wants with a SITUATION. This is certainly good – for most often God does use situations to bring us to surrender. However, if we limit surrender to our situation, we are liable to miss the point.
God may want us to surrender to a situation so that we may learn to surrender but more than that, God wants us to surrender ourselves to Him in all situations!
It is important for us to grasp the meaning of surrendering ourselves. Surrender is not with regards to a particular situation or object. We often think that this means, “Well, I will die to myself and put aside what I want in this thing, and allow God to do as He pleases.” Again – this is good. But it still isn’t the real issue.
To surrender myself to God means this: I will let God do in me whatever is necessary to get Himself glory, and whatever is necessary to make me into the person He is after. I hope we see that this is very different than surrendering in a particular situation. What I am talking about here is more than surrendering THINGS to God, and then standing back and letting Him work. No. I am talking about surrendering MYSELF to God. There is no standing back. And there is no simple, “cooperation with God.” Rather, the whole issue is my relationship with God. I – my whole self – is falling into His hands so that He can make ME BE what He wants through the current situation.
Actually, this is what Paul means when he talks about giving ourselves to God as a living sacrifice:
Surrendering your life means:
- Following God’s lead without knowing where He’s sending you;
- Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come;
- Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide;
- Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances.
You know you’re surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. You let go and let God work. You don’t have to always be in charge. Instead of trying harder, you trust more.
You also know you’re surrendered when you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself.
Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships. You are not self-serving, you don’t edge others out, and you don’t demand your rights.
Surrender is a battle term. It implies giving up all rights to the conqueror. When an opposing army surrenders, they lay down their arms, and the winners take control from then on. Surrendering to God works the same way. God has a plan for our lives, and surrendering to Him means we set aside our own plans and eagerly seek His. The good news is that God’s plan for us is always in our best interest unlike our own plans that often lead to destruction. Our Lord is a wise and beneficent victor; He conquers us to bless us.
There are different levels of surrender, all of which affect our relationship with God. Initial surrender to the drawing of the Holy Spirit leads to salvation. When we let go of our own attempts to earn God’s favour and rely upon the finished work of Lord on our behalf, we become a child of God. And there are times of greater surrender during a human’s life that brings deeper intimacy with God and greater power in service. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we exhibit traits of His character. The more we surrender to God, the more our old self-worshiping nature is replaced with one that resembles that of a saint. The scriptures, says that God demands that we surrender the totality of our selves; He wants the whole, not a part:
The goal of the human life should be as “It is no longer I who live, but God who lives in me. And the life now I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Such a life of surrender is pleasing to God, results in the greatest human fulfilment, and will reap ultimate rewards in heaven.