Commitment or Surrender?

August 18, 2014

James 4:6-10

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Commintment – according to Webster – is “a pledge or a promise.”  Many people have found Jesus Christ as their Savior as a result of an invitation – perhaps by an evangelist at a revival service – to “…come to the altar and make a personal commitment to the Lord.

The Old Testament sparingly uses the Hebrew word gaw-lal – only once as commit in Psalm 37:5: “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”  It is also translated trusted in Psalm 22:8 where it prophesied of those mocking Jesus as He hung on the cross: “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him.

In the New Testament, only once is pa-rath-ay-kay translated commit.  It means “a deposit [or] trust,” and Paul used it in II Timothy 1:12: “…I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Too often commit is used today to urge someone to come to Jesus!  The problem with it is that commitment is something that originates with us.  We decide that we are going to give something to the Lord!

A pastor in a third world country was asked why they were experiencing revival and dynamic church growth while we, in the western world church – especially in Europe and America – were generally experiencing decline.  His answer:  “You make a commitment to God.  We surrender to Him!

Webster defines surrender this way:  “to give up possession of or power over; yield to another….”  Do you see the subtle difference between Commitment or Surrender?  Commitment is more an action that proceeds from us.  Surrender is giving over total control to another.  That other One is Jesus Christ, and when you surrender to Him, you are no longer in charge of anything Back on April 29, 2013, I wrote a blog entitled, The Most Important Prayer A Christian Can Pray, based on what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before going to the cross – recorded in Luke 22:42: “…nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”  “It does not matter what I want, Father – what I think is good for me, what I desire, what I long for in my own mind.  I want Your mind, Your will, in everything!”  This is Surrender!

The passage that brings this out and applies it to our daily life is James 4:6 through 10:

    …God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble….Therefore submit to
    God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He
    will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your
    hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laugh-
    ter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the
    sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Webster defines submission as “a submitting, yielding or surrendering.

Notice there are several things that come out of Submission (surrender):

•    It makes us humble.  No one can come to the Father without being humble.  It is humbling to say with Augustus Toplady who wrote that great hymn “Rock of Ages” in 1763 – third verse:

        Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling;
            Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
        Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.   

And when we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, He will life us up!  How high will we be lifted up?  All the way to heaven, to…sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus….”  (Ephesians 2:6).  We can be above all the troubles of the world in Him!

•    God gives us grace, which is His unmerited favor.  We cannot make it in this Christian life without the grace – the favor – of God!

•    We – in the name and power of Jesus Christ – can resist the devil, and he will flee from us!  We can have ongoing victory over the one whose purpose is…to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10).

•    We can draw near to God, and He will draw near to us!  There is no greater joy, peace, victory, etc. than in the presence of our Lord!  And to think that He will run to meet us – like the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11 through 31 – when we begin to step towards Him!

By the way, James 4:9 says, “Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”  This does not mean Christians are to go around looking like they have been weaned on a dill pickle!!!  The laughter and joy to which James is referring is that of the proud who have lifted themselves up!  They are those who need to lament, mourn and weep!

Commitment or Surrender?  Choose Surrender!  It will revive your Christian life, and the lives of those around you!

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