The Problem with Surrender

“All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give…”

So the song goes.

And I’ve sung it. Alot of times. Particularly at the end of worship services.

I used to think of “surrender” as the equivalent of walking into a bank and withdrawing everything I had. All. Every single penny. And then walking outside and giving it away to another. Similarly, then, surrendering is writing a massive check for your life and giving it to Jesus. Case closed, done and done.

Here’s the problem with that view of surrender though:

I always have more than I think I do.

Sure, there are the tear-filled moments in the altar when I’ve lifted my open hands to Jesus and said plainly, “I surrender all.” But then I wake up the next morning and realize that I did not in fact surrender all. It wasn’t that I was consciously withholding something from Jesus; I wasn’t. The problem was my own deceptive heart.

It’s a bit like moving to a new house. You spend days going through every corner of your home boxing up dishes, packing up toys, and emptying filing cabinets. You find junk upon junk that you didn’t even know you had. You fill garbage bags full of RCA cables, Tibetan coins, and old ticket stubs from Disneyworld until you finally reach the point where everything you own is in boxes.



There is that moment on moving day when, much to your great dismay, you go through the house one more time and find that one single closet you forgot to open. More stuff.

So it goes with surrender. All to Jesus, we surrender – or at least all we know we have. But oh, how many are the chambers of the heart. That’s why, day after day, we truthfully say again and again, “I surrender all.”

And “all” is a bit more each time.

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