Life is filled with constant irritation. Those irritations can spur me on to spiritual growth or they can destroy what God wishes to produce in my life. Whether good or bad, my life is a result of my attitude. “Rejoice always,” Paul encourages, “pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). It is God's will that I have a good attitude in all circumstances. I will rejoice no matter what. I will pray continually no matter what. A no-matter-what attitude can lift me above whatever I face. I absolutely surrender to the lesson—not to the circumstance.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,” Paul instructs, “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2) Do I have a sacrificial attitude? Do I long to be a living sacrifice? Or do I fight against the lessons of life? Strength, joy, peace, and a no-matter-what attitude come from surrender to God's perfect and pleasing will for my life.
Surrender is not an option, and it certainly does no good to rage against my circumstance. When God’s incredible mercy is my reason for living, then surrender is something that comes through the renewing of my mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. I yield to His lesson for my life. I sacrifice that “fight” against powers that are beyond my control, and gracefully accept His lesson. By accepting His discipline, I accept the lesson found in His discipleship. Learning God's lesson becomes my passion.
Over half a century ago, Jim Elliot, a young Presbyterian missionary, was killed in Ecuador by Acua Indians. His wife, Elizabeth, wrote years later about her husband’s passion for the lessons of life. “Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God. When I know myself called, summoned, addressed, taken possession of, known, acted upon, I have heard the Master. I put myself gladly, fully, and forever at His disposal, and to whatever He says my answer is yes.” Nothing will destroy me when I know myself as called to give all to Him. Nothing will come against me when I yearn to know what strength He gives me in the struggles of life. I can discover that I need “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
What is the cost of my surrender? Letting go of who I think I am. Letting go of my desires. Letting go of my goals. Letting go of my agenda. Letting go of my control in every circumstance and every situation, and allowing God to lead me. When I let go then I have counted the cost of surrender, and determined letting go is worth everything for what I receive in return.