Surrendering Some or Surrendering All

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.  Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable.  This is truly the way to worship him.”  Romans 12:1 (NLT)

A line from an old hymn we used to sing said, “I surrender all.  I surrender all.”  As we sang this, did we really have in mind what Paul is saying in this verse from Romans? Or were we saying as one Christian comedian says, “I surrender some.  I surrender some.”

In Old Testament times, God accepted animal sacrifices for the atonement of sins.  A sacrificial animal was the complete, unblemished body of the animal.  An offering, on the other hand, was a part of something like Abel offered in Genesis 4:4.  When Jesus came, He was the perfect, unblemished, sin-free sacrificial lamb.  This is why he was able to atone for the sins of all mankind.

In Romans, Paul is pleading with us to give our bodies as living sacrifices.  When we combine this concept with Jesus’ saying that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Matt. 22:37), we are challenged to examine our lives to see if we are surrendering all to Jesus or just some.  What am I holding back?  What areas of my life am I trying to just enjoy for myself?  Is there a pet sin that I won’t let go?  Here are some areas that challenge my life:

  • Entertainment. What am I allowing my eyes to see and my mind to dwell?  I want to be discerning in the websites I surf, the TV shows I watch, the movies I choose to see, and the books I am reading.  Shouldn’t I be asking, “Does this honor God?  Would I be willing to watch this/read this with Jesus as my companion?”
  • Food and drink. Our society encourages and glorifies gluttony.  I’m asking the Father to help me stop halfway through the meal I have ordered and take the other half home.  I choose not to have that complimentary glass of house wine simply because I don’t want to hinder the struggling faith of those who may be watching.
  • Time. How am I using the 24 hours God is graciously giving me each day?  Have I spent more time looking at social media or TV than I have during my time alone with God?  When I’m driving, do I allow my mind to be still and know that He is God or am I filling it with noise?

These are just a few of the areas that make up my life.  Most importantly, if we offer ourselves as living sacrifices they should be clean, pure, holy, and acceptable to God. He wants us completely—not a part we have proportioned out to Him.  May you ask Him to help you examine your life and surrender all to Him today.


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