Surrendering, especially for men, is tough. It’s a word a lot of guys shun from their life; they don’t want “surrender” in their vocabulary. But it takes the ultimate manly man to surrender and recognize that our life is not our own. I’m not in control of this, God is. We need to surrender to humble ourselves.
God’s Word says the exalted will be humbled and the humbled will be exalted. If our egos are in the way and we hold ourselves as our first priority, we will be humbled. God will bring us to a point where we realize our need for Him. We’ll then have a choice: You can follow these other things or surrender and follow Him. That’s the great thing about God — He doesn’t force you to choose Him. He loves us so much that He gives us the option to choose Him.
Growing up, playing football my entire life, I always wanted to be just like my dad, who was a college defensive lineman. I wanted to be the ultimate manly man. I never really learned about surrendering because in the game of football, you’re taught to never give up. You could be losing 100-0 and have the entire fourth quarter left, and you never give up on the field. With the ball in my hand, I’ll be running like it’s the last play I’ll ever play. You’re never taught to surrender.
The first time I ever really felt myself surrender was at a Christian conference. The worship band was playing and before I knew it I lifted up both of my hands into the air. In church, I was always worried about people seeing me if I lifted up my hands; they might wonder what I was doing. But worship is not about us, it’s not even for us, it’s for God. After listening to amazing Christian speakers and being in an atmosphere of other believers worshipping God, I was able to just lift my hands up and say, “God, I give it all to You. Everything. I’m not worried about what other people think. I’m not looking for others’ approval. I want Your approval.”
When I lifted my hands, I wasn’t thinking about anybody else. I was talking to God while the band was playing and I just knew I needed to lift my hands up, to throw off all the stuff I cared about that didn’t have anything to do with seeking Him first. As soon as I surrendered to God fully, I felt a calming peace come over me. It was as if He was in my ear saying, “I got you son. No matter what.”
I’ve kept that message in my heart — He really has us. Sometimes you might not feel as if God is right there with you, but He is. When we realize this, we’re able to go through any trial or temptation in life and count it all as joy. I know that since my soul belongs to Jesus, I’m the richest man in the world.
“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” — Matthew 16:25-26
There are many times in life when it’s difficult to surrender to God. When trials do come to us, we immediately want to try to control it ourselves. We think we can handle it; we think we want to handle it. We know all the sayings, such as, “Don’t tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your God is.” But when you’re in the thick of it, all those cliché sayings go out the window and you want to conquer it yourself.
But you really gain power through Him when you surrender and let Him take care of it. That’s when you’re the strongest.
— Matt Forte, New York Jets running back
Matt Forte is a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Matt’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/matt-forte/
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