When you ask a man what the biggest obstacle of giving their lives to Christ, most respond with the fear of surrendering. I have found that most men just hate the word surrender. A wise ex-military friend told me that you never say “Surrender to God” to men. Instead, you say, “Submit to a Higher Authority.” Military personnel will tell you to surrender is not in their vocabulary. They fight until all resources are exhausted, and it is the enemy’s decision to what happens next. I found his statement interesting, causing me to ponder my decision to use the phrase surrender instead of submitting. I felt they were the same.
So turning to the Bible, I did a word search for “surrender.” Using the King James Version, I didn’t find the word surrender one time. When I looked at the New King James Version, I found “surrender” eight times in the Old Testament and nowhere in the New Testament. Comparing verses in both versions of the Bible, I discovered that the word surrender or words equal to surrender like “let us fall unto the host” were used in reference to surrendering to someone that was going to either kill you or make you a slave. I am starting to see why my friends and brother don’t like the word surrender.
When I did an Internet search on submit in the Bible, I found a paper written by John W. Ritenbaugh. In his document “What the Bible says about Submit,” he states that in the King James Version, the word submit is listed twelve times, submitted, three times and submitting only once. But he goes on to say that “In Greek, the word is hupotasso, which means “to arrange in order under.” It is actually a military term, and in the military, this is a strong sense of submitting to someone of higher rank.”
I turned to the Merriam-Webster dictionary to look at the definitions of surrender and submit. I found that surrender means “to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand,” and the word submit means “to yield to governance or authority.” I am starting to see a difference here. I can understand while a military person would cringe at the statement “surrender to God.” Look, I am no Bible scholar, but I like to think I understand the Word. I have never seen a passage where God looks at man and demands that he loves Him.
If that was the case, what happened to free will? God calls us to have a relationship with Him by submitting to His will, which as my friend said, “submitting to a higher authority.”
In fact, the more I look at this, I feel that using the word surrender to Christ is almost an injustice to our relationship with Christ. Hear me out before you delete the page. We are given a choice. Where does our relationship with Christ fit into surrender? Christ wants us to submit. But He also wants us to be who He designed and bring our talents and treasures to Him so that He can use them to expand the Kingdom of God. Just as the military person changes from being a person of one to a person who belongs to a larger body. As Christians, we are part of God’s larger plan. God wants us to talk to Him with confidence and joy. These things are not in the word surrender. Surrender means to be a prisoner, and we are not prisoners; we are children of God.
Military personnel submit to a higher authority to receive commands. When we submit to a higher authority, our boss, or our customers, we usually trust what that person brings to the table. Still, this authority is not perfect in any way. Sometimes they make mistakes in their decisions. Yet when we submit to the higher authority of God, He never gives us a command that is not a part of His perfect plan. God does not make mistakes, sometimes we might not understand the design, but we know that there is always a reason for His plans through our faith. Jesus tells us about submitting to Him in Matthew 11:29-30, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This does not sound like someone who is demanding. This sounds like one who is loving and wanting us to submit to Him for rest for our souls.
God wants a relationship with us. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. He wants us to boldly approach Him with respect, humility and not graveling and scared of Him. Remember He sent His only Son to die for us. We must not hide anything from Him. First, He knows all, and second, if you can’t trust your loving Father, who do you turn to? Human authorities are just as flawed as you and I. God wants us to feel secure around Him because when we feel safe, we will reveal our deepest thoughts with Him. He promises to help us through all things.
So what does all of this have to do with church safety? All safety team members must submit to our Lord to follow His perfect plan for us. We are Ambassadors for Christ. Being a safety team member is not a position of power. It is a position of serving. With God leading the charge, He opens our eyes to what we need to see and protects us from the schemes of the devil.
I will leave you with part of a speech from former Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered to the House of Commons on June 4th, 1940. “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…….” During the time of this speech, Nazi Germany was demanding that England surrender to them or they would destroy England. We know that Satan is alive and using all his power to destroy this country.
He would love to destroy the churches we attend. Still, we must submit and put on the whole armor of God and fight against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Thanks Marcel, for helping me see the light.
Jim has many years of law enforcement experience and has run the safety team at his church for several years. TSA was formed after he realized God's calling when multiple churches reached out and asked him to present at their church.