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  • I Surrender All

I Surrender All – Giving Up The Fight With God To Gain The Peace Of God

This article and audio sermon file are based on the great hymn of the faith entitled, “I Surrender All”  I encourage you to listen to this you tube video either before or after listening to the message or reading the article.  Please share on social media by using the links at the bottom of the article. We also are interested in your feedback or comments.

In this article, I am going to unpack some of the biblical truths in the famous hymn, “I Surrender All” In the book of Job 11:13-19 we can read some inspiring words.  These are the words that were spoken to Job by one of his counselors.  There is a point in every person’s life when they need to stop resisting God, and yield and surrender to Him.  As we surrender, we have peace with God and we gain the peace of God.

Job 11:13-19 CEV

Surrender your heart to God,
turn to him in prayer,
14 and give up your sins—
even those you do in secret.
15 Then you won’t be ashamed;
you will be confident
and fearless.
16 Your troubles will go away
like water beneath a bridge,
17 and your darkest night
will be brighter than noon.
18 You will rest safe and secure,
filled with hope
and emptied of worry.
19 You will sleep without fear
and be greatly respected.”

Job’s friend declares that Surrendering one’s heat to God produces great spiritual benefits.  When you surrender…

  • You will not be ashamed
  • You will be confident
  • You will be fearless
  • Your troubles will go away
  • You will rest safe and secure
  • You will sleep without fear
  • You will be respected

It sounds to me that the Word states that complete surrender is a good thing.

I have been writing a series of blogs about Great Hymns of the Faith. We can learn a lot from those who have walked the Christian road before us as they put their deepest thoughts into melodies.  This song, “I Surrender All”  was written a long time ago, yet its message is as powerful as the day it was written.

“I Surrender All” was written in 1896. Judson W. DeVenter the author writes that he struggled to give total control of his life to Christ Jesus:

“For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, He caused me to sing.” 

All to Jesus I surrender,

  1. All to Him I freely give;
    I will ever love and trust Him,
    In His presence daily live.
  • Refrain:
    I surrender all,
    I surrender all;
    All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
    I surrender all.
  1. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Humbly at His feet I bow;
    Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
    Take me, Jesus, take me now.
  1. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
    Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
    Truly know that Thou art mine
  1. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Lord, I give myself to Thee;
    Fill me with Thy love and power,
    Let Thy blessing fall on me.
  1. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Now I feel the sacred flame;
    Oh, the joy of full salvation!
    Glory, glory, to His Name!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FULLY SURRENDER TO GOD?

Let me begin by using a powerful illustration that can serve as a metaphor for us.  There was an officer in the navy who had always dreamed of commanding a battleship. He finally achieved that dream and was given commission of the newest and proudest ship in the fleet. One stormy night, as the ship plowed through the seas, the captain was on duty on the bridge when off to the port he spotted a strange light rapidly closing with his own vessel. Immediately he ordered the signalman to flash the message to the unidentified craft, “Alter your course ten degrees to the south.”  Only a moment had passed before the reply came: “Alter your course ten degrees to the north.”

Determined that his ship would take a backseat to no other, the captain snapped out the order to be sent: “Alter course ten degrees–I am the CAPTAIN!” The response beamed back, “Alter your course ten degrees–I am Seaman Third Class Jones.”

Now infuriated, the captain grabbed the signal light with his own hands and fired off: “Alter course, I am a battleship.” The reply came back. “Alter your course, I am a lighthouse.”

The captain had better change course!  If he doesn’t change course, He is going to suffer horrible consequences.  His ship will sink and he will end up on the rocks!

The story shows us a scenario that is common to all of us.  In a way, it shows the struggle that we have with God.  It shows the fight we have because so many times, we, like the Captain, think we know best.

We exert our self-will. We do what we want to do. We want to choose our course through the seas of life.  We live our life without God and sometimes we face disaster as a result of it.

If we don’t surrender to God’s love, to God’s guidance, and to the principles in the Word we run into obstacles in our path that can sink our ship.  It is so much better to surrender to God’s ways and allow Him to direct our path through the stormy and treacherous seas of life.

Two things to think about:

  • God gives you the choice whether to surrender to Him or not.

The history books tell us that when the British army surrendered to the rebel American army at the end of the Revolutionary War in October of 1781, they really had no choice except to surrender.  I am told that as the British troops trudged sadly to the boats and headed back to England, General Washington watched in wordless triumph aboard his favorite horse, Nelson.  It wasn’t that they wanted to surrender. They were forced to surrender.

God could force you to surrender. He could make you submit. He is God! He could appear before you, force you to bow before Him, force your mouth to declare Him the Lord or your life.  God could do that. But he doesn’t.  He simply offers Himself to us as a choice. He offers His love to us as a choice.  He offers you his blessings as a choice.

He has already paid the price so that it is actually easy. All you have to do is come. All you have to do is believe. All you have to do is freely put your faith in Him and trust in Him.

You see God doesn’t want you to submit to Him like the prisoner of war had to submit to their Nazi captors.  He wants you to surrender to Him in love. The way a son submits to a Father who loves Him.  The way a daughter submits to her mother who loves her. The way a wife surrenders to a loving husband.

You can go to the grave fighting God, denying His love and care. But isn’t it better to make it right with God today.  Eternity hangs in the balance.  Heaven or hell. God will let you decide.

That is why the songwriter said:

All to Jesus, I surrender

All to Him, I freely give.

Freely choose to say, I surrender all!
  • God desires for us to Surrender all of ourselves to Him

God isn’t looking to make a compromise with us. God wants all of us. The author of the song recognized this as the first words of the song are “All to Jesus, I surrender.”

In 1994 the world series was canceled because of a strike. Before the cancelation fans were hoping one side or the other would “blink” and give in. They waited and waited to hear two words: We give! We surrender!  The greedy baseball owners were on one side; the greedy baseball players were on the other. And when August 11, 1994 came, neither side was able to say those two words.   Ultimately both sides gave a little, compromises were made. And both groups were okay with the agreement and it all was settled. But in reality neither side surrendered all.

That is not a picture of what it means to surrender to God. Surrendering to God is coming to Him on his terms.  Someone described the day they surrendered all to God.  They said, Go, I want to surrender all, and so they gave God all the keys to their life except one.  That little key they held back and stuck it down in the little pocket on their jeans. They thought, “It won’t matter to God.”  It was just a little area of their life.  But to their surprise, God gave the ring of keys back. He simply said, I want all of you. All your love, all your heart.

God is a jealous God. You can’t have the True and Living God and other gods in your life.

Some people believe this song is simply about surrendering our sinful ways and habits to God. It’s much more.  When Jesus comes as Savior, He also comes as Lord.  When He comes as Forgiver, He comes in as the Director of your life.

The song was originally written as the writer struggled with the profession he would have in life.  I personally remember standing in a factory where they make the little plastic-coated wire called bread ties. I was doing the same thing every five seconds. I said God I surrender my whole life to you. I submitted to the call of God in my life and went back to College and became a pastor.

To Surrender to God means that you place in the hands of God all of your best efforts, all of your will.  Everything goes under his Lordship.

We need to take our marriages, and place them in God’s hands, saying, I surrender all my marriage into your hands. Take it Lord, bless it, let my marriage and home bring you glory.

I take my ability to raise my children, and I give it to you God.  The truth is I need your wisdom. I can’t get them to do what I want them to do. I surrender my children into your hands.

I take my career and say, God it’s no longer for me or about me. It’s for you! It’s for your honor and glory. Use me on my job.

I surrender my house to you. You are the Lord of my life, and my house is your house.  If you want me to use it for your glory. I will.

In the same way we can say, I surrender my car. I surrender my money. I Surrender All.

When you surrender all to God, God takes your all in His hands. We must remember who He is, and what He can do! He is the way maker! The chain breaker! The turner-arounder! The one that blesses a thing just because it belongs to him.

There is the level I can get to by scratching and kicking and self-promotion and working and striving.  But there is another level where God can lift you us up.

AS I SURRENDER, I YIELD…

MY WILL TO GOD

The basic struggle we have with God is actually allowing God to be God.

Isaiah 42:8

“I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.”

Some are caught in a struggle with God. They are like Jacob wrestling with God. The only difference is Jacob was saying, I want you to bless me. And the modern-day wrestler with God is saying, Let me go! I want to live my own life.  We need to submit our wills to God.  Even Jesus had to do this.  Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

We have a struggle. We want to be God. I call it the struggle of God-ship.

  • Who will be the God of my life?
  • Who is the one who calls the shots?
  • Who is the ultimate decision maker?
  • Who actually sits on the throne of my life?

These are the most important question a person has to ask themselves. The author struggled with Godship in his life. He finally surrender understanding that God was greater, wiser, and knew the best plan for his life. He wrote:

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;

When you bow before someone, you are literally saying, you are greater. To put on humility means that we acknowledge our true position. He is God, we are His servants.

I also yield to God

MY RIGHT TO LIVE AS I PLEASE

The second stanza of this song touches on the surrender of ungodly ways of life to Jesus

Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

To be a believer you must be willing to leave the world to follow Jesus.  There are things I don’t do, because I am a believer.  I have surrendered that part of my life.  There are places I don’t go. Movies I don’t watch. Songs I don’t listen to.  Jokes I won’t tell. Because I have given those areas up in my life.  I have surrendered them to Jesus.

1 John 2:15-17 NKJV  “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 

You will never find the peace, the happiness, the feeling of wholeness, until you surrender all to Jesus. You will actually experience joy as you surrender to Him.

AS I SURRENDER, I RECEIVE

THE WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine

Someone would say to me, Pastor, that isn’t right! We don’t go by our feelings.  We go by what the Word says. There is truth to that. But any truth taken to extreme will lead to error.

Your feelings can lie to you. But your feelings can also tell you the truth.  You just have to learn how to discern our feelings.  God is the creator of feelings and emotions.  This verse tells us that inside of us we can know in our spirit we are His children.  Romans 8:16  “ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”  When you have fully surrendered to God you know it because you feel it in your soul.

I don’t need a logical argument to tell me God exists. I don’t need an apologist to come and tell me all the reasons why I should know God is present.  I don’t need any music to be playing to recognize His presence. I don’t need a pastor or an evangelist to pray over me.

There is a witness in my spirit that is greater. It is greater than any human witness.  I don’t know your spirit receives the information from THE SPIRIT. I don’t know if He communicates to your mind.  I don’t know if He gives you a warm feeling.  All I know is that from time, I have an encounter with Him.  I can’t describe to you exactly what I feel.   But I know this, He’s real. I just sense His presence. And the more surrendered I am the greater is His touch.

Someone said, I haven’t felt him in years.  I haven’t felt that witness of my spirit for a long time.  Maybe it is time for you to take a good look at your life. What haven’t you surrendered? Maybe its a forgiveness issue. Maybe it’s a hurt.  Maybe you are trying to carry your own burden and he wants to carry it.   I believe God wants to manifest His presence in our life. An absence of sensing God is a warning sign that we need to get closer to God.

I think of King David. Most of King David’s life, he lived in a surrendered state before God. But after his affair with Bathsheba and after he had Uriah murdered. He must have felt distanced from God. Because as he said his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51:10-11 he acknowledged that he felt estranged from God.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

 The good news is that as we also pray and repent, God will renew that witness in our spirit.

And then as we surrender we receive…

AN INFILLING OF HIS LOVE AND POWER

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

This is a cry from the author of this song. It is my hearts cry as well.  The Holy Spirit work doesn’t stop when he gives you a witness that you are right with God. He wants to fill you with His love and power.

Ephesians 3:17-19 “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Why not surrender all to Jesus Christ right now. Ask Him to fill you with all the fullness of God!

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About the Author:

Bob Millsaps is a graduate of North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the pastor of Fountain of Life Christian Center in Houston, Texas. He is happily married to his wife Jureen and they have three sons, and one grandaughter. Bob has served the Assemblies of God as a missionary, pastor, youth pastor, and evangelist. Bob currently resides in Katy, Texas

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