Monday, October 25, 2010

Surrender or die!?!?!?

'Never give up never surrender!'These words echo the sentiment of Churchill's famous speech which galvanized a besieged nation. They have become part of popular culture and the mindset of strong determined people. This mindset is often valued and admired, after all, we don't play to lose.

I've always hated losing, playing for "Fun" to me means playing to win. I base this on the fact that you don't usually see sad mopey people on the winning team. Good sportsmanship means pretending like wining doesn't matter, while being a good sportsman means knowing that it does... I think.

Here is the challenge I face: a major aspect of Christianity is built on the principle of surrender. There is the belief that God knows better and that we are meant to stoically drag ourselves up on the altar and sacrifice our needs, wants, and desires so we gain some greater future reward. This has built a christian mindset that fosters the statement "it's just my cross to bear." Well fine, whatever. This is probably built on strong theological foundations, but my guess is it misses the point.

I've made a lot of decisions, in many areas of my life, based on the principle of short term sacrifice for long term gain. I'm starting to believe/understand a different perspective on it when it comes to God. I believe that it is better phrased, 'Short term sacrifice for permanent and immediate gain'. I think the long term gain that people talk about, you know the whole New Creation and treasures in heaven thing, is real, it's just short sighted of all things. Not shortsighted in the sense of it being the nearest and most immediate thing, but in the sens of only being able to see one thing.

I'm learning that surrender is the act of letting go of the things that we think we control, the things that we cling to, the things we think we need, even the things that make us stronger. We surrendering these things, not because they are bad, but because they fall short.

It would be stupid of me to try to build my own computer from scratch. I've seen them, I know what they are supposed to do, I even understand some of the most basic principles that govern them, but asking me to build a microchip is like asking an untrained monkey to lecture on quantum physics. Yet for some reason, I can trick myself into thinking I'm qualified to walk myself into that New Creation or assemble my life pieces in such a way that I will be truly satisfied, full of life, and happy. I can't and don't.

My surrender to God isn't some desperate sacrifice of action and accountability on the altar of predestination, but is ideally, and hopefully, the continuing reaction to a developing relationship with the guy who put the parts together in the first place, and knows how everything runs. As life and relationship develop he keeps asking me for more parts of my life so that he can strap them to the Lego structure that he has been working on. Even if they are basically good and comfortable parts, if I cling to them they won't be used the the way they can, the way that is best. They will be 'less than', and they will be sad remnants of the pile of Lego pieces that were started with. What was once a strength becomes a stagnant pool or a disjointed limb. What it ceases to be is alive, life-giving, and growing.

The concept of surrender within Christianity isn't a mark of weakness, but a sign of faith in someone else's strength. If I want a computer that works, I go to a Mac store; if I want to know about quantum physics, I don't talk to a monkey; If I wan to become more like Jesus, I better learn how to surrender.

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