“And He [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV
As I reflect on my life and the lives of my children growing up in a Christian home, it has been a tremendous blessing for both my kids and me. My grandfather is a “retired” pastor and my dad and his siblings all have grown up serving in their respective churches as Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Sunday School Superintendents, Sunday School Teachers, Youth Directors, etc. Therefore, I have grown up with a Christian Spiritual heritage. I am a “third generation” Christian, my kids “fourth generation”, but as the Apostle Paul said in Phil. 3:7 NLT, “ I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.” It is not that the Christian Spiritual Heritage is in itself worthless, because God has been faithful to my family for generations now, but contrasting what we have done to what Christ did on the cross for us, in comparison, it is all worthless.
All of us need to consider the words of a hymn I heard the other day on Pandora Internet Radio. As I was in my office working, the song, “I Surrender All” came on, and as I meditated on the words of this hymn, the lyrics affected my heart in a powerful way. I grew up singing this hymn in church, but I do not recall truly understanding what I was singing. The song starts with this verse and refrain:
"All to Jesus, I surrender; All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my bless'd Savior, I surrender all."
Therefore, the question we all need to ask ourselves is, “Do I truly surrender all?” This is the requirement that Jesus has of His followers. We must take up our cross, daily, and follow Him. We must die to ourselves, our selfishness, and surrender all control to Him. Easy to say, hard to do.
You have probably heard the old saying, "Jesus only has children, not grandchildren". Growing up in a Christian home does not automatically get someone into heaven. It also does not mean that those of us who grew up in a Christian home have truly surrendered all. I believe that as a child, I was born again, regenerated, “prayed to receive Christ,” but had not truly surrendered all to Jesus and given him Lordship over my life. He was my Savior, but not really my Lord.
I remember being nineteen and sick as a dog in a hotel at a Campus Crusade for Christ Christmas Conference in San Diego, CA, when I truly understood this spiritual concept. I was challenged by my mentor, and Crusade staff member Ted Offutt, to surrender all. I remember that I prayed with him a prayer of surrender to Jesus. My life has not been the same ever since! Surrendering all was the most amazingly blessed and best decision that I made in my life, because now God could truly use me completely for His kingdom.
So, ask yourself today, “Do I truly surrender all to Jesus?” “Is He not only my Savior, but my Lord?” If you do not think you have truly surrendered control of your life to Him, I encourage you to pray and give Him the control and leadership. If you do this, God will bless you and use you for His Kingdom in ways that you could never imagine.
Posted on Mon, August 20, 2012
by Kevin Ibanez