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After Surrender…Then What?

By David A. DePra

If you are a Christian, you got that way by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ. Indeed, this surrender is supposed to be so complete and final, that the Bible is able to make the following statements:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Cor. 6:19-20 KJV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom 12:1)

Coming to Jesus is not merely a matter of coming to Him for blessings. Rather, coming to Jesus is a matter of giving yourself to Him. And what do you get in return? He gives Himself to you. In short, you surrender your life to Him, and get His life in you.

Now, along that line, it is true that in the beginning of our Christian experience, most of us do come to Jesus for reasons other than Himself. We usually come because of problem. But that’s perfectly acceptable, for God uses our problems to draw us to Christ. But all of this is not an end unto itself – that is, God isn’t simply interested in solving our problems. He wants US. He wants a total and complete unconditional surrender of ourselves to Him.

If you think about it, an unconditional surrender is the ONLY KIND THERE IS, as it pertains to God. If you want to, "conditionally," surrender to God, don’t bother. It is no surrender at all.

An UNCONDITIONAL surrender to God means that I place myself in His hands and take mine off. I give Him, "permission," to do with me as He pleases. I do it because I trust Him.

Now, of course, unconditional surrender can seem scary, because we are really relinquishing control over our lives, aren’t we? Well, not exactly. The truth is, we never HAD control. We were simply living in the delusion and mirage of control, and were so blinded by it, that we felt comfortable – as long as nothing came along and disturbed us. Thus, in relinquishing control to God, we are actually seeing the Truth and surrendering to the Truth. We are giving ourselves to Him, instead of continuing to walk in darkness and deception.

Unconditional surrender is the only thing God will accept. This is not because He is a tyrant and makes demands. No. It is because He is God and knows better than us, and knows that He is more capable of running our lives than we are. Furthermore, if we expect to live with God forever, in His kingdom, through the eternal ages, we had better warm up to the concept that God is in charge. We’d better start living in this Truth right now.

If we really understood unconditional surrender to God, we would understand that it is a wonderful thing. It is not something that deprives us, but rather, it is a return to the relationship God originally intended between Himself and man. Furthermore, and this is something that many people never see, to NOT unconditionally surrender to God is sin. It is THE SIN. And the only alternative to surrender to God is separation from God. You cannot have both. In the end, it is going to be one or the other.

God’s Terms

Some of us think that if we unconditionally surrender to God that this means He will take over our lives and do all that we want Him to do. Wrong. What it does mean is that God will take over our lives and do what HE wants to do. God will begin, slowly at first, to order our lives according to HIS kingdom and HIS highest. This may require a time of dismantling of not only our kingdom, but even of our thinking.

This is important to understand because it accounts for why, when people surrender to God, things often seem to get worse and not better. They ARE getting better, but because our status quo must be disturbed, it may seem to us, from our point of view at that time, that God is messing up the NORM. No. He is messing up the ABNORMAL. We just thought it was the norm. And He is trying to bring us into the real NORM – His kingdom rule.

God cannot bless OUR KINGDOM with the blessings of HIS KINGDOM. We need to get that. If He did, we would never have any motivation for moving on into practical experience in His kingdom. And God would, in fact, be affirming our kingdom. The Holy Spirit will NEVER do this, and we need to get it settled. God will have only HIS WILL and HIS ORDER in our lives. Isn’t that what we pray for? Why pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done," otherwise?

The fact is, we all have a, "kingdom" – even after we are saved. It is our order of things – the dynamics under which we live. Our thinking, our motivation, and our understanding. Where this is not according to the Truth, and much of it isn’t, God must bring adjustment.

To put all of this another way, God is presently fitting us to live in harmony with Him forever. That means we must be changed so that we are compatible with Him. Thus, we have the conflict, don’t we? Our order and kingdom and entire person must be altered and adjusted – practically and functionally. This is not merely a theological concept. It is a reality which must be lived and experienced.

Now, all of these statements lead us to the answer to our question, "After surrender, then what?" The answer? AFTER SURRENDER, then we have to LIVE OUT all of the ramifications of our surrender. After we unconditionally surrender to God, then are in GOD’S hands – and His kingdom begins to invade our lives.

If one country surrenders to another, nothing immediately changes. An invasion and occupation must take place. The same thing applies to God’s kingdom. I enter into the kingdom of God through the new birth. But nothing in my life necessarily changes – although I have changed. In order to be brought into the practical living in the kingdom, God must invade and occupy – and He will only do this with my free will cooperation. This takes time. It also takes trials. My old kingdom will not go quietly. But if I really meant it when I surrendered to God, it WILL BE BROUGHT DOWN.

Now can we see why the Bible says, "That we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22) It is not here referring to salvation, for that does not require tribulation. No. But to enter the kingdom, in the sense of becoming adjusted to it, DOES. We are not geared to the kingdom of God. And that means it is going to take a series of drastic upheavals to gear us to it.

Seek You First

Jesus said, "Seek you FIRST the kingdom of God," that is, seek you first God’s order and rule in your life – in and through every situation you encounter. This is a foundational New Testament Truth, but one which is rarely preached.

What does Jesus mean? For most of us, all that this verse means is to do the will of God, maybe go to church, and study the Word. Well, fine. Do all of those. But Jesus is talking about much more. He is talking about seeking first God’s very life and kingdom in any situation. In effect, Jesus is saying, "In any situation of life, seek you first God’s kingdom and righteousness – seek for it to be established and deepened IN YOU."

Can we see this? This is not merely a matter of us having a problem, and seeking God’s will for IT. No, it is a matter of seeking God’s will for US! To put it another way, God wants to do a work IN US that will both establish and deepen the life of Christ IN US, whose life is the kingdom of God. THAT is what we are to seek while going through problems. THAT is what God wants to do.

So what this means is that when we find ourselves in a problem, we ought to say, "Lord, I want you to do a work IN ME through this problem. I want JESUS revealed to me and deepened in me through this problem. THAT is what I will seek FIRST." If we will do that, and refuse to settle for less, God will not only answer that prayer, but, "all these things," (basic provision) will be added unto us.

God is so dedicated to this purpose through the work of the Holy Spirit, that He has promised that we will become just as dedicated, that, "all these things will be added unto us." We won’t have to worry, in the sense of carrying a burden, about those other things. If we seek first the kingdom of God, and His purpose, those things will come along in the package – as they belong to God’s will for your life.

Once we take this passage of scripture from Matthew 6:33 and focus it down to EACH individual situation in life – and that is really the only way it can be lived out – things begin to become clear. Jesus is not talking about some general, impractical, ethereal concept here, which carries no real application. He is saying, "In each situation of life, seek first the life of Christ in it – His kingdom and righteousness – seek first what God wants to do IN YOU." And if we will do so, God will be free to add to us the blessing of bringing His rule and order and blessing to the problem itself as part of His work.

Again I say, God cannot bring the blessings that can work only in His kingdom into OUR kingdom. If we want the will of God for our lives, we need to BECOME His will.

Now, you can argue about this all you want. But until we get it settled that this is what God is after, and begin to seek this FIRST, we are going to be walking in a way that is contrary to what God is doing. God is seeking first to adjust us to CHRIST; to first adjust us to His kingdom. He is seeking that FIRST – without compromise. And if we aren’t seeking it first, we are going to have big problems walking with God, and in finding His will and purpose.

After surrender…then what? Then live out your surrender. If you surrendered to Jesus Christ, you surrendered to His Lordship, i.e., His kingdom. So if your surrender was real, you will desire to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness in each situation you encounter. And if you do, God will not only bring His will and kingdom into your life, but you will BECOME His will, and in doing so, become adjusted to His kingdom. *

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