Surrender: 1. To yield completely. 2. To give in or give up. 3 To submit to authority.
“Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:7)
“Submit and surrender yourself to God [agree with God and show yourself to be conformed to His will], and you will have peace. You will prosper and great things will come to you.” (Job 22:21)
“It’s really a matter of surrender.”
That one small sentence almost got lost amongst the other paragraphs I had highlighted this week in Chapters Three and Four of Ps Steven Furtick’s book Greater that I’m reading as part of Melissa Taylor’s online study.
Last week I loudly exclaimed “yes God, I do want greater things for my life” and now, two chapters further into the book I’m looking around hoping no-one noticed I put my hand up!
In the story in 1 Kings 19:21, the prophet Elijah found the farmer Elisha plowing in the back paddock. Elijah went up to Elisha and threw his cloak around him, indicating that the mantle of Elijah’s authority as a prophet was being passed onto Elisha. So Elisha gathered all his cows together and killed them. Then he went and burned all his plowing equipment and followed Elijah and became his servant. Elisha did this so that he could step into the new life God was calling Him to. He burned his plows so that he had nothing left to run back to.
If I want to live the ‘greater’ kind of life that Ps Steven talks about in his book, I must be willing to do what Elisha did. When God says “come” I have to be willing to burn my plows and follow Him.
Honestly, I need to say two things up front. Firstly, I don’t ‘do’ submission very well. Secondly, history has shown me that burning my plows doesn’t always guarantee an immediate answer or the results I
When my husband first heard God say “come, follow Me”, he burned his plows and left a very well paid job in the Performing Arts and Entertainment industry to enter full-time ministry. Within months, God spoke again and told us that His plan for full-time ministry was not where we were, but 12 hours drive away, back in our hometown of Geelong. We were being called to burn our plows and plant a church. So we did. We sold everything (including a brand new home we had just built and only lived in for 6 weeks that still smelled of fresh paint!) and moved back to Geelong. We had a four week old newborn baby, three other children under five years old and a dog and a cat. We also had no house. No car. No job. And no savings. Just a call. And the smell of smouldering plowing equipment in our nostrils.
Ten years later my husband again heard God say “come” and he burned his plows and stepped down from a full-time ministry position and walked away from senior pastoring the church we had planted and watched grow and flourish. We believed it would only be a matter of weeks before he found another job. Thirteen long months (and ninety-six rejection letters) later, he was finally offered what appeared to be a great job back in the Arts and Entertainment industry. He came home from work that first night and looked at me and asked: “What have I done? When God told me to leave the church, this is not what He called me to do.” Eight months later he came home from work and looked at me again and said: “I can’t do this anymore.” And he handed in his resignation, burning the next lot of plowing equipment. In the meantime we had no house. No car. No job. And no savings. Just a promise and a call. And a whole lot more smouldering plowing equipment. Again, we believed it would only be a matter of weeks before he found another position. This time eleven more months passed before he was finally offered his “dream” job, working as the School Chaplain in a large co-educational private school.
Ps Steven says I can’t step into my new life until I first set fire to whatever is holding me back and tethering me to my old life. Whilst this is true, reality for me screams that every single time I have burned my plows in the past it has taken God a long time to show up and show me what the new life is going to look like! Not only that, it has caused an enormous amount of pain and required incredible sacrifice. Each time I have burned my plows I appear to have lost so much.
Am I willing to trust Him again? Am I willing to burn my plows again? I do want to go forward into the ‘greater’ life that God has called me to, but for that to happen I have to offer every part of my life to Him. Surrender to Him. Submit to Him. Yield to Him. Trust Him. Show myself conformed to His will. Again.
Am I willing to pray again? “Lord, here’s my life. I give it up to You. I heard you say ‘come’ and I’ve decided to yield and follow Your call. My life is open ended and its pointed in the direction of the next step You are calling me to take. No matter what it costs, I am Yours.”
Before I change my mind, would someone please pass me the matches?! I’ve got some more plowing equipment to burn!