To be honest, I can't remember the words . . . or the melody . . . or if it HAD a melody. I just remember a heavy, military drum beat - not unlike the snare drum dirge they play in the movies as the outlaw is marched towards the gallows. The lyrics had something to do with surrender, and I checked my watch again, wondering why we couldn't just sing "I Surrender All". Now there's some church music!
All to Jesus, I surrender.
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live.
As if on my cue, the band segued into the traditional melody and I relaxed into the familiar. All to Him I freely give . . . Screech! *Insert sound of a record scratching when someone hastily grabs the needle away* The military drum beat of the first song, and the soft lyrics of the second clashed in my head. The picture of a defeated army laying down their weapons in surrender did not mix with the concept of "freely" giving. A conquered soldier does not gently raise his arms to his captor and promise to do better. A conquered soldier falls to his knees before the power that has overwhelmed him and begs for mercy.
The first definition of surrender in the dictionary is to "cease resistance". Cease resistance! Stop fighting! Give up! Put down my ways and my plans, and pick up the yoke of bondage to His way. A military surrender does not allow the defeated to choose their future. They don't get to "opt out" of servitude. The victor lays out the rules for life after surrender. So why do I think I can surrender to God by asking Him to bless my way? "Lord, I surrender my bad habits to you; I lay down my failed plans and confess my poor choices. Now please pick them up and carry them for me. Make them work out this time!"
There are several battles I have been "surrendering" this way for years; trying to convince myself - and God - that my plan is His plan. It's time for me to admit defeat - to cease resistance. My battle with an unhealthy attitude towards food will never end by diet plans or self-inflicted rules. I have proven that I can stick to a diet plan long enough to lose the weight, but I never change the underlying beliefs that get me right back to the same spot on the scale. In my head, I rant that "it's not fair". Other people don't have to watch every calorie. Other people aren't tempted by the things I am. Other people have bigger, better, shinier, easier lives than me and I DESERVE to eat cheesecake in compensation!
The truth is I don't deserve anything. Christ died for my bad attitudes and poor decisions! So if He demands to be placed above Key Lime Pie in my heart, that is His right. He has conquered sin for me and He gets to make the rules for life after surrender.
My focus in 2017 is "surrender"; not just in my eating habits, but in my life. Surrender as defined by Jesus, and explained by Oswald Chambers:
Surrender was not for the purpose of what the disciples themselves would get out of it. . . Our motive for surrender should not be any personal gain at all. We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ‘This is what God has done for me.’ ” Gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, and being made useful to God are things that should never even be a consideration in real surrender. Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself. - "My Utmost for His Highest"