This blog post was written by Brady Rector and originally appeared on his blog.
A flood of childhood memories rushed to me as I wrote the title of this blog. Coming from a conservative southern church denomination, the old hymn “I Surrender All” was a staple of my childhood. I started humming the melody, the lyrics rushing to mind as if it was sung yesterday, “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 blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
As I reflect on these lyrics, I can’t help but realize how scandalous of a hymn this is. Do I actually surrender all? Do we, as Christ followers, surrender all? Where do we get the audacity to make this proclamation? It would be more honest for me to sing, “I surrender some; I surrender some.” Yet I’m struck with the simplicity and clarity of the lyrics. As I remember this song from my youth, I’m impacted with my desire to embody it.
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” We, as Christians, are called to a life of self-sacrifice. We should continually be putting to death the things which are not of God, and fanning the flame of the Spirit-empowered life we have been given. This doesn't have to be a rigorous piety or puritanical lifestyle, but continually pursuing the things of God and having our affections grow for actions of love, faith, hope, truth, and charity. Christ did not die for perfect people, but for broken people to be restored into the person they were meant to be. With this, we are healed from the brokenness found in us, and are restored into the people who bear the image of God.
“Those are great ‘church words’, but what do I actually do?”
Many may read this and ask, “Those are great ‘church words’, but what do I actually do?” I would encourage you to find what makes you come alive, and do it. Share that joy with Christians and non-Christians. Care for those who need help. Be selfless to the point that it hurts. Be willing to push yourself a little outside of your comfort zone, and ask the Spirit to do something through the lack of comfort. You’d be surprised at what you’ll find by venturing outside comfort to help others. Every time you do this, you redeem a little fracture of brokenness by submitting it to what God wants to do with you. Every time you live into spreading Spirit-led joy, you usher a new facet of the Kingdom of God. Every time you push yourself past your comfort level for the Gospel, you are surrendering more to Christ.
I pray you are blessed as you live into your calling this week.