“Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.” — Matthew 16:24-25
The word “surrender” has a lot of layers to it. Just a few weeks ago on the field, I’m out there yelling to my teammates, “Never surrender, never retreat!” But when it comes to God, the Supreme Being — this great, magnificent, holy God who is set apart and perfect — it’s totally different. In His presence, you will surrender, whether He has to force you to, or you choose to now.
Every knee will ultimately bow.
I remember when I first came to Christ, God gave me a vision and in it He told me, “You’ve been driving this car for 20 years and you’ve wrecked it. I need you to just get in the backseat. Go to sleep and let me drive the car. I’m going to take over your life now. Let me have it; I know what to do with it.”
This was a picture of total surrender. Total surrender says, “I don’t know where I’m going to end up. I don’t know if I’m going to fall off a cliff or be on top of a mountain. I have no idea where You will take me, God. But I trust You.”
This is so hard! We like to drive our own cars and be in control (at least we think we’re in control). But all we’re doing is jacking up our life. God just wants us to let Him drive.
But you won’t surrender to God until you believe Him at His Word. Jesus tells us that whoever wants to follow Him must deny himself daily. Die to myself? Deny myself? Take up suffering daily? Who chooses that? But Jesus said that Heaven and Earth will pass away, yet His Word never will (Matthew 24:35).
We live in a fallen world — a temporary world — where everything will pass away, but there is a Kingdom of eternal glory where God wants us to reside with Him forever. Until you can visualize and believe this truth, you are not going to surrender. Once you believe there’s a better place waiting for you, you can count everything else as loss. It’s then when we will say, “You can have it all. For the rest of my days, I will live for You, God. I trust You. I surrender to You.”
My life is not my own, it belongs to God. And He wants all of it because He knows how to use it best. I don’t get to wake up and do what I want to do, because sometimes my heart’s in the right place and sometimes it’s not. But when I remember that my life is not my own, that it belongs to God, then I can surrender to His will instead of my fleshly desires.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
God wants it all. He wants your marriage, your children, your career, your relationships — He wants His glory in all these things. When you allow God to have those things, He makes them even better! He cultivates healthy relationships, He raises Kingdom kids, and He uses whatever platform you have to enrich and elevate His name to others around you. It all comes down to whether or not we allow Him to have it all.
It’s as simple as dying to yourself. It’s hard. I see the same commercials as everybody else. I see the same nice things that everyone else sees, and the flesh may say, “I want that!” But we know that God says these things are meaningless, temporary, vain. He wants us to pursue something else — something that will build the Kingdom.
So whatever Demario wants, that dies, unless it’s in line with what the King wants. My life is not my own, I live for the King.
— Demario Davis, New York Jets linebacker