Winston Churchill was a master orator. He embodied the tenacity of a people whose once far-flung empire could boast that the sun never set upon it, but who were at that moment on the verge of defeat. In the face of the Nazi onslaught, Churchill’s tone captured the spirit of an embattled but unbroken populace:
“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.”
When resisting the spread of tyranny, this “never say die” attitude is both encouraging and necessary for survival. But misapplied – by for instance human beings mired in rebellion against their Creator – it is another matter entirely.
Human beings possess free will. What begins as a desire to control oneself and one’s immediate environment routinely evolves into a desire for more and more power. It is this self-will that is at the crux of the human condition. Most of the misery in the world is a product of people stubbornly pursuing their own satisfaction, seeing the world through the lens of selfishness and carnal desire, refusing to empathize with their fellow human beings, seeking first their own advantage. This urge to dominate has marred the history of every race and culture on the planet.
Christianity recognizes this condition as part of the natural order of a fallen world: we are born with “original sin,” the desire to thwart God’s will, the desire to accomplish our own will. This, we believe, is a natural part of every human being, a function of the life we inherited from our original parents. But pursuing this path to power, sadly, is the “wide road” against which Jesus warned; the “narrow path,” the path leading to salvation, is the path upon which reconciliation with God can occur, through the redemptive work of our Lord and Savior.
While we are not free to save ourselves – we lack that power – we are free to reject that gift that God has offered, and to continue to fight Him – on the beaches, the landing grounds, the fields … the classroom, the workplace, the bedroom. We can continue to insist that our ways be done, and not His.
Or we can follow a different path – the path of surrendering our will to Him. Recognizing that a perfect Being rightly deserves our respect, our obedience and our love, we can bend our will to Him, replacing the rebellion that wells up within us with a song of praise. Is it not fitting and right that we give worship and devotion to the One who breathed life into us, whose thoughts continue to sustain us, and who offers us the potential for everlasting joy in His presence?
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16) But, as Jesus also taught, “if you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8)
It is never too late to chart a new path, a path in pursuit of Truth. It is never too late to replace selfishness and anger with love, empathy, understanding, and compassion. It is never too late to approach this all-powerful God, with fear and trembling, but also with confidence that He patiently and with open arms awaits our return.
At the dawn of this new year, there is no time like the present to prepare your surrender.
Posted by Al Serrato