True surrender to God has always been a battle for me. I’m talking about an open-handed, my heart is Yours and all the things I hold close are Yours kind of surrender. Seeking to grow in this surrendered heart, I searched for Bible verses about surrender and I’ve found that the word surrender isn’t even in the Bible at all.
Because, let me tell you this, the times that I have been most surrendered, I have felt immense peace, overflowing joy and an incomparable intimacy with the Lord.
So let’s dig into the word of God for a glimpse of this surrendered life and learn to live in this place of peace, joy and intimacy with the Lord.
What Does it Mean to Surrender to God?
As we discussed earlier, the word “surrender” doesn’t actually show up in the Bible in the sense that we are talking about today. The word is used in Scripture only to talk about literal surrender as in surrendering in war.
So what do we learn from the Bible about surrendering our hearts?
All throughout Scripture we see the call to surrender our hearts:
- In all your ways acknowledge me (Proverbs 3:6)
- Subject yourselves (James 4:7)
- Deny yourselves (Luke 9:23)
- Give me your heart (Proverbs 23:26)
- Humble yourselves (James 4:10)
The list goes on! (I’ll share some more Bible verses about surrender below.)
But over and over Scripture emulates God’s desire for a heart surrendered to Him. A willing heart. A humble heart.
Let’s walk through some Biblical examples of surrender and glean some wisdom from some of the most powerful testimonies in Scripture of surrender.
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Examples of Surrendering to God in the Bible
Jesus modeled a life of perfect and complete surrender, both in his living and in his dying on the cross for our sins.
It is because of his act of surrender that we can enter into a relationship with the Lord as we do.
I sometimes catch myself thinking it was easy for Jesus to surrender to God because he was God and he had true wisdom.
But did he know how he would die? Did he know the pain he would experience in complete and utter separation from the Lord?
And how could he go through each day knowing that he would be facing this pain? Even though the Son of God asked His Father if He could be spared, Jesus still surrendered and followed God.
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
Jesus lived a life of surrender because of how deeply he loved us.
It took a lot of time away, alone with the Lord. He needed to be with his Father to find the strength to walk in this way of surrender.
All that he did in his life here on earth was what God had willed for Him to do.
I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. -John 5:30
Can we follow his example of not seeking our own will’s but asking the Lord to show us His good and perfect will?
We won’t ever have to face what Jesus did as he died on the cross for the sin of all mankind. This is a gift to us, that in choosing to believe this and confess it, we have the gift of salvation and a new life in Christ.
And in this, we can immediately enter into fellowship with the Lord and walk in a way of knowing He is good and He loves us.
So can we seek out a heart of surrender and nurture a desire for God’s will in our own lives as we reflect on this gift?
Another powerful example of surrender is Noah in the Old Testament. Noah’s life was turned upside down as God enacted a powerful and sovereign plan over all mankind.
A few things stand out as we read through Noah’s account in Genesis and think about surrender.
Noah was righteous and blameless before the Lord.
Let us consider our ways. Are we walking in the way that God has called us to? Have we confessed our sins to Him and are we in right-standing with Him?
Through the blood of Christ, we have the gift of righteousness. And yet it is something we must allow God to work out within us. We must walk in a manner worthy of our calling in Christ.
Noah did all that God said, exactly as He said it.
Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. -Genesis 6:22
Can you imagine if Noah went his own way?
First, to build the ark was an act of surrender on more accounts than we will ever know! Then, to build it exactly as God had described would have been really hard work.
While Noah was asked to walked in total surrender, God’s promise meant that Noah and his family survived the flood, As a result, it was through their family that God brought about a Savior.
Once it was finished, Noah built an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offering as a sacrifice of praise.
Paul suffered much for the sake of Christ. And yet over and over we read his words of surrender and complete willingness.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. -Philippians 1:21
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
Paul lived a life willing to do anything and everything for Christ. He suffered and faced many weaknesses and trials and yet even in that he was joyful in his surrender.
Are we filled with the joy of the Lord as we surrender to Christ?
It isn’t easy! Especially when this surrender involves suffering.
And yet Paul knew something. He knew the goodness of God. He knew the sovereignty and love of the Lord. He knew that God’s grace would be enough. And he knew the utmost importance of sharing this gospel message with the world.
Let us draw near to God in all ways as we seek to surrender.
A heart that knows it is held and cared for by a loving and sovereign Father will surrender so much more deeply.
As we grow our intimacy with the Lord, we will desire this surrender as a child of God.
How to Surrender to God in Your Life
Surrender begins with seeking and nurturing an intimacy with the Lord. As we learn to trust Him more deeply we will begin to lean on God for understanding in all circumstances.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It springs up from a cultivated relationship with the Lord and being still before Him.
As you seek to nurture this relationship, choose to lean on God for understanding even when it doesn’t make sense.
Read Scripture and ask the Lord to show you how He wants you to surrender in this season.
Because what we see all throughout Scripture and what we see if we take a look at our lives, is a God who loves us and is working for our good.
As we surrender all to Him, true and lasting peace, overflowing joy and an incomparable hope and purpose will fill us up and lead us forward.
Bible Verses About Surrender
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:6-10
I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Proverbs 16:3-4
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:25-33
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24
Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 12:28
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19-21
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:1-5
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:5-9
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:19-24
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (King James Version)
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23
For this is the will of my father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17-24
The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. John 7:18
Your next steps:
Ask yourself if there’s been a time when you’ve truly surrendered your heart and life to the Lord.
Spent time reflecting on your life and pray about whether you’re truly following God’s plan. This free Bible reading plan on surrender will help you dig into Scripture and explore these verses further.
If there’s an area in which you’ve wandered off the path, be still before the Lord and confess your absolute surrender to His perfect plan, even in a difficult circumstance.
God is ready to welcome you with open arms and you can start again surrendering your life to God at any time!
Then, take steps of regular fellowship with the Lord, including starting a Bible study habit and cultivating a rich prayer life. Remember, the Christian life isn’t a list of checklists or demands, but about surrendering all areas of our lives out as a desire to walk in unity with our heavenly father.