When surrender feels like death.

I’m going out on a limb: maybe we’ve had it all wrong. Maybe it’s not really just as simple as prying our fingers from the ledge and free-falling into the strong arms of God. Perhaps the first place to start isn’t letting to at all. Instead, it seems before we can even entertain the idea of letting go, we have to start at the very beginning; we have to learn our Father’s heart. We have to feel confident of the fact that his posture towards us is one of love, and nothing we could ever do would change that.

That’s not groundbreaking news. It’s something most of us have heard often. So why can’t we believe it? What’s keeping us from rooting deep into his love for us?

It's an all consuming fear of death. Surrender is a death of the flesh, and we live in a culture where death is feared. But this death, the kind of death that Jesus asks of us, is different. Whenever we die to our flesh it doesn’t mean we’re drawing out our final breath so we better make it a good one because we’ll never live to see another day.

This kind of death is where abundant life - life to the full - really begins. We so often think glorified life begins when we’re in heaven, but we don’t have to wait that long and can experience it here on earth - if we cooperate with God. Jesus shows us it’s true. It wasn't until he died that he came into all of his full glory. The resurrected Christ saved us all. Without his death and resurrection, we would not have this gift of eternal life. And it can be experienced here on earth. We know it because when he was resurrected, the first place Jesus came was earth:

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17) {emphasis added}

Jesus sets the example and asks us a bold question with his life: if we are unwilling to face the death of our flesh how can we come to full into our own fullness of life and spirit?

Maybe it’s supposed to feel like surrender is death because that’s exactly what it is. We're invited to die to our flesh only so we can experience true life - abundant life - full life. Without that death how can we be resurrected into the fullness of life? So when it feels like you're about to die as you face the prospect of surrender, yeah you are. And that's okay. Because that’s exactly where true life begins.

If we let our flesh lead on this journey of surrender and letting go, we’re going to run right back to the ledge and cling for our lives. There’s no way we’re going to let go and free-fall into God’s grasp. Then we’ll get to the end of our lives and discover we never really lived at all. But if we make a choice to surrender, to die to our flesh to instead let our spirits lead, we'll be able to connect to our Father’s heart and not just know, but experience, his posture of love towards us.

All the “deaths” of life have a purpose: to bring us smack into life to the full. Letting go is how we encounter it.

The only way I know to begin this journey of letting go is for us to let our flesh die.

But even more importantly, the only way I know to begin this journey of letting go is for us to live from our spirits.

Lord, let it be.