There comes a point where you make a decision of the will. You genuinely surrender your life and decide to follow God.
Novelist Tessa Afshar knows this well. Raised in a nominal Muslim family, she had a dream of Jesus which prompted her to make this choice.
Following Jesus is not something we do half-heartedly. We’re called to a place of full, unconditional, unparalleled surrender.
Tessa draws a parallel between our surrender to God and a story from the end of World War II.
On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied forces. General Douglas MacArthur accepted their action on behalf of the United States and its allies. One of the Japanese generals arrived to the signing of the documents in full military regalia. The story goes that as he was stepping forward, General MacArthur stopped him by extending his hand.
No signing of the papers would take place unless the Japanese were entirely disarmed.
“He knew that the Japanese leaders needed to understand that this surrender was total. It wasn’t on their terms. It wasn’t partial. It was a complete handing over of control and power. The sword had to come off.”
When we choose to follow Jesus, something similar happens.
“I think all of us have a sword strapped to our sides. There are parts of our lives that we want to hold back. And those are the moments of decision that make our faith deeper and more real.”
And those are the moments where you have to ask, who you are going to serve?
Am I going to serve my family and what they think of me?
Am I going to serve my job?
Am I going to serve security?
Or am I going to serve Jesus?
“There will be many moments of decision and those are the times that really make a difference. The swords have to come off. You can’t hold something to your side and say ‘this thing will make me feel better; it makes me feel more secure. Don’t take this from me.’
God’s eventually going to come after that. And it’s not that He will take it away and strip you away completely. It wasn’t like I was left without a family; my family never left my side. Sometimes He does strip you. But a lot of times He just asks your heart for total surrender.”
Tessa stepped boldly into following Jesus and later witnessed both of her parents baptized and walking with Him too. Surrender can seem scary in the moment. But when that surrender is to Jesus, it feels like coming home.
If you are struggling to submit to God’s plan for your life, Susie has some words of encouragement for you.
Featured Songs: Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman; Something Beautiful by Steven Curtis Chapman; You Can’t Hold Me Down by All Things New