Surrender. What does this word tell you? In literal terms, surrender means “to give up something to another person.” It also means to relinquish something granted to you. This could include your possessions, power, goals or even your life. Christians today hear much about the surrendered life, but what does it mean exactly?

Jesus lived a perfectly surrendered life: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38, NKJV) and “I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks and judges” (John 8:50). Christ never did anything on his own. He made no move and spoke no word without being instructed by the Father. “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father taught me, I speak these things…. The Father has not left me alone, for I always do those things that please him” (8:28–29).

Jesus’ full surrender to the Father is an example of how we all should live. You may try to excuse yourself, saying, “Jesus was God in flesh,” but the surrendered life is not imposed on anyone, including Jesus. “Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17–18).

Jesus was telling us, “Make no mistake. My Father gave me the choice to pass up this cup and avoid the cross, but I chose to do it out of love and full surrender to him.”

Our heavenly Father has given all of us this same right: the privilege to choose a surrendered life. No one is forced to yield his life to God. He freely offers us a Promised Land full of milk, honey and fruit; but we may choose not to enter.

When we stand before God at the judgment, we won’t be judged by our ministries, achievements or number of converts. There will be one measure of success on that day: Were our hearts fully surrendered to God? Did we succumb to peer pressure and follow the crowd, or did we seek him alone for direction? The truth is that we can have as much of Christ as we want.