November 22, 2012

Forms of Surrender

Ephesians 2:1-10

Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mer-cy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
—Ephesians 2:4-5


A person’s surrender into saving faith may happen in a number of ways.

For some, it can hit like a tsunami as they hear an altar call and are swept down the aisle into a whole new life. Resistance suddenly cracks, or a thick layer of numbness begins to part, and for the first time they can see far enough into the fog to discover what they really need.

For others, the sense of surrender may seep in slowly through the fabric of a lifetime of churchgoing until the stuff that’s collected deep inside begins to spill all over the stuff worn on the outside. After years of doing the right things, a person is suddenly surprised to find that going through the motions has led to a sudden rush of emotions.

I used to think God was pretty orderly in his way of growing us. He would save people and then grow them and then eventually start to use them.

I can now see that it’s not always that simple. I know people who have believed in God for years, serving him faithfully while still refusing to pray the sinner’s prayer until a much later point in their story.

Where in your story did (or will) this happen to you?

Lord, thank you for drawing us to the death that brings us life. Bring us to the point of total surrender to you. In Je-sus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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