Scripture Reference: Luke 1:26-38 & 46-56

I Surrender All?

“All to Jesus I Surrender” sounds like a great idea.  But there is a problem. It is not a biblical concept. The word “surrender” is a military term which means “to shut, to close, to imprison, to deliver up to custody. “Not one passage of scripture calls for God’s people to surrender to Him. 

A few years ago, I was speaking to a group of high school students and had a “volunteer” stand up and illustrate the idea of surrender.  I told him to assume the “surrender” position. He did exactly what I thought he would do. He stood with his hands in the air like he was caught and ready to be taken prisoner.

A person can surrender, in fact most do, without any allegiance to the captor.  In fact, the first opportunity to escape will be taken. You see that is what we do as Christians. We sin, we get caught, we surrender, we get tempted, we sin, we get caught, we surrender, we get tempted—you see the pattern…


There is a word for what God calls us to do and it is “submit.”  Like surrender “submit” is a military term. But the meanings are not the same, in fact, they are opposite.  It means “to yield, to subject, to place oneself under a leader.” Submission isn’t forced or taken by force.  Submission places oneself willing under the authority of another.  

When the teenager an angel told Mary the “impossible” was going to happen.  She responded with submission: “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to the word of the Lord.” 

“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7,8)

In that same chapel service, I gave the student a sword and asked him to kneel, head down, with sword in his outstretched hands. I then took the sword from his hands and like a king knighted him, and lifted him up.  Submission is like the warrior who willing places himself under the authority of the King in faith that He will be knighted and not beheaded. No means of escape or surrender. Not reluctantly or because he is caught, but willingly, of his own volition.

I then stood beside the student and the devil came (the school principal) but because He submitted to God, the devil ran because “greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)


Aren’t you tired of surrendering?  Oh, I better surrender or I am going to get caught.  All the while you still love your sin. Oh, no you have done it again.  You have been caught. The same old routine: Hands Up, feet shoulder width apart. It works for a few days then the evil one comes and throws his temptation in your face.  Back you go. Why? Because you never changed your loyalty. Sometimes you surrender and you are immediately plotting your rebellion. Sometimes you get mad at God, but God didn’t have anything to do with it. He doesn’t accept surrender. All you did when you surrendered was will yourself to quit until the next opportunity arose.  God never was involved in the process. Surrender is only as good as your personal ability to fight. You may think your tough but your nothing compared to Satan.

But, when you submit, when you humbly place yourself under the authority of God. When you draw near to Him through obedience, seeking His face in the word and prayer He draws near to you. He comforts. He fills and empowers. The devil comes. You stand. God fills. God empowers.  The devil comes. You stand. You, see the process?

So, what about all these songs about surrender?  Keep singing them and “submit to God” in your heart. 

— Kenneth Grizzell, Greenwood Park Church of Christ


  1. Are there attitudes or sins in your heart that you refuse to submit to God?
  2. Ask God to reveal any areas in your life that have not been submitted to Him. 
  3. Choose to willingly submit and draw near to God.


Lord God I submit my life to you.  I willingly place myself under your authority.  My actions, my words, my thoughts, everything. I draw near to You, thank You for drawing near to me. In Christ, I pray. Amen. 

Persecuted Nation: #24 Mali