Have you ever been driving and had someone in the vehicle comment constantly on your driving telling you what to do and how to do it? Did you like it? I’ve never met anyone who likes a backseat driver. According to Miriam-Webster online, a backseat driver is a passenger in a vehicle who is not controlling the vehicle but who excessively comments on the driver’s actions and decisions in an attempt to control the vehicle. We’ve all experienced it from someone in our lives. They make comments about your driving, especially when they feel like you’re taking a risk that they wouldn’t take. What they don’t realize is that backseat driving increases the risk of having a crash because of the added stress and distraction.
When you and I accept Jesus as our savior, we put Him in the driver’s seat of our lives. We, in effect, step out of that role and become a passenger. The church phrase is, “surrendering your life to Christ”. Yet how many of us have truly surrendered our lives to Him? We don’t mind surrendering the parts of our life we struggle with, but being a Christian is about surrendering everything. Remember the old hymn “I Surrender All”? Somewhere we have lost what it means to surrender our entire life to Him. When we are both trying to control the outcome of our life, we become a backseat driver to Jesus and increase the risk of messing things up. We start telling Him what we think He should do when we don’t have all the information He has as the one in control.
Jesus said it best in Matthew 16:24, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am” (MSG). You and I have to surrender the driving seat to Him. One way I do this is each morning before my feet hit the floor is to pray, “Lord, I open myself up to you. Fill me with your Spirit until I’m overflowing. Speak through me, love through me and live through me today. Let my words and actions be reflections of who you are. Use me in anyway you see fit. I surrender to your will.” Surrendering the driver’s seat isn’t natural. It has to be a daily and sometimes hourly. God is good and has a plan for your life that is greater than your own plan. Getting out of the driver’s seat and allowing Him to take over is the best thing you can do for your life.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
White flag. Tap out. Give up. Submit. Yield. Say, “Uncle.” Throw in the towel. Surrender. I don’t know anyone who likes to do it. Surrendering is admitting defeat. It’s embarrassing really. I, like you, don’t like to give up. I don’t like to face defeat. It goes against everything in me. Maybe you’re the same. When all the odds are against you, your theme song starts playing. Maybe it’s “The Eye of the Tiger” or “This is my Fight Song” or whatever, but it plays and pumps you up to keep you from surrendering and giving in.
In the prophet Jeremiah’s day, Jerusalem was under siege and there was very little hope. God was pronouncing His judgement against the people who had turned their back on Him. They refused to repent so God was sending them into captivity. The king secretly went to Jeremiah to ask what he should do. Jeremiah told him if he wanted to live, he needed to surrender. In Jeremiah 38:19, the king responded, “But I am afraid to surrender” (NLT). He was too afraid of how he would appear if he surrendered, so he disobeyed and it cost him his freedom.
Romans 8 tells us that the flesh and the spirit are at a constant war with each other. The flesh wants to do things its own way, and the spirit wants us to follow God’s way. For so many Christians, it’s a daily struggle and a guess as to which side will win. As Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” More times than not, our flesh wins because we fail to surrender to God’s plan for our lives. Surrender is so foreign to our flesh that we fight against what the spirit is trying to accomplish in our lives.
In Luke 14:33, Jesus put it this way, “So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple” (AMPC). If we truly want to be God’s disciples, we have to be willing to surrender all we have for all He offers. According to Romans 8:13, when we surrender to what the spirit wants, we will live. You and I are given the same choice that the king of Israel had. Don’t make the same mistake he did. Surrender and live.
What is God asking you to surrender today in order to be His disciple?
I was talking to a guy at work the other day when I noticed his tattoo. It said, “1-1-six”. I said, “Isn’t that Lecrae’s logo? You must really like him!” He laughed and said, “It’s more of a movement than a logo. It stands for Romans 1:16, my favorite verse in the Bible.” In my head I quickly went searched through verses I had memorized and remembered it said, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation for the Jew first and also to the Greek.” I then replied, “Indeed, it is a great verse.”
The more I’ve thought about our quick conversation, the more I wanted to dig into that verse. Yes I had memorized it as a kid, but memorizing something only helps you to recall it, not to understand it. I read it in different versions and the Amplified stood out to me most. It had three main parts that I loved. It interprets that verse this way, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation, for deliverance from eternal death, to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and a firm reliance, the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
The first thing that popped out at me was the phrase, “to everyone who believes with a personal trust.” The trust you have in God has to be personal. It can’t be vicariously through someone else’s faith. You have to experience God for yourself to fully trust Him. The more personal God is to you, the deeper your faith is. The way to get a personal faith is to spend time being honest with God. If your faith isn’t personal, it won’t survive hard times. It will be like the seed sown by the way side that quickly sprouted, but was burned by the sun because the soil wasn’t deep.
The next thing that I saw was the phrase, “a confident surrender”. It sounds like an oxymoron as first. How can you be confident in surrendering? God requires that we surrender our will for His. He wants us to let go of what we have for all that He is. Reading this reminded me of the cartoon you see below. We can confidently let go of what we have because He wants to give so much more. The only thing He asks is that we let go. We can confidently surrender when we have a personal trust.
The final thing that stands out is “a firm reliance”. When we’ve learned to personally trust God and have confidently surrendered, we can have a firm reliance that He will do what He said He will do. Andy Stanley defines faith as, “The confidence that God is who He says He is and that He’ll do everything He’s promised to do.” To know who God is and what He said He will do, you will need to know the Gospel of Christ. And when you know it, you will not be ashamed of it. You too will get caught up in the “1-1-six” movement that lives their lives with a personal trust, a confident surrender and a firm reliance.