Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters,
by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a sacrifice –
alive, holy, and pleasing to God–
which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1, NET
Surrender of my will to God's will is a fundamental and ongoing part of walking with God as a Christian. It is part of presenting my body--this broken, flawed, decaying tent which would never have qualified as an Old Testament offering--as a living sacrifice made holy and pleasing by the virtues of Christ.
Opening my hands for him to take and give what He wills can feel scary, especially when He is asking us to trust Him to take something very, very valuable from us or give something very, very painful to us. For me the key that unlocks my fists is to remember two things:
- The good God asking this of me loves me. In the mercies of God, He gave His only son to rescue me from sin and the resulting death when I was His wicked, sinful enemy (Romans 1-5). He gives me freedom from sin's tyranny; it is not the boss of me any more (though it constantly tries to persuade me otherwise), because I have died with Christ and been raised to walk in new life (Romans 6-7). Now there is no condemnation for me in Christ Jesus, and nothing can separate me from the love of God in Him (Romans 8). Even though I am not a Jew and therefore had no place in God's covenants with Israel by birthright, He graciously grafted me into their olive tree and made me an heir to the promises given to Abraham and his descendants (Romans 9-11).
- The loving God asking this of me is all-powerful. He rules over all. Not one electron on one atom is outside of His providence. He is able to accomplish His good plans for me.
Because God is great and God is good, and He is both those things for me, I can pray words like these:
"Lord, I am willing
to receive what You send,
to do without what You withhold,
to relinquish what You take,
to suffer anything You inflict,
to do what You command,
& to be what You ask me to be,
at any cost,
now & forever.
(encountered in Jerry Bridges's book Transforming Grace and an Elisabeth Elliot Gateway to Joy episode)