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.Romans 12:1
One of my favorite restaurants close to home is a Mexican place called Cinco de Mayo. I love their endless chips, salsa, and a dish called pollo enquesado; it’s chicken, cheese and rice. But whatever I order there, combined with all those chips and salsa, my stomach ends up surrendering, crying out “no mas!” It really is great food and this is not a paid endorsement. But Cinco de Mayo is not just the name of a restaurant.
In May of 1862 near the beginning of the French-Mexican war, 6,000 French troops set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, southeast of Mexico City. Mexican President Benito Juarez, on the run from the French, rounded up an underwhelming and less-equipped force to hold off the invaders. On the Fifth of May (Cinco de Mayo,) the French attacked at daybreak and were repelled all day long until evening, when the French general surrendered the battle to the Mexicans and withdrew his remaining troops defeated.
The Bible talks a lot about sacrifice and surrender. When you make Jesus the Lord of your life you surrender your time, energy, and even thoughts to Him. Just like you might spend time with your favorite movie star, if you could ever meet them, you want to spend time with your God whom you have met. In that time with Him you do what others who surrender their lives do, you appreciate Him. You thank Him for all He is and all He does. Worship requires appreciation and is essential in the life of faith, as you can see throughout the book of Psalms. It is impossible not to be thankful when you see all that God has done. Surrender always has a part in thanksgiving.
Surrender also requires adoration. This isn’t an “I do this because I’m defeated” kind of thing, but an “I’m amazed how much you give and how much I don’t deserve this” kind of thing. It’s like when you get an extravagant gift and it’s not even your birthday. Or when a friend goes out of their way to be there for you. You don’t even think about food or sleep because their love for you causes you to love and adore them in return. This is adoration, and it’s exactly what happens when you come face to face with the God of the Bible. The more you think about what God surrendered to save you, His Son, the more thankful you become. And the more thankful you become, the more you’re willing to surrender to God and others. That’s what loving God and others is all about: thanksgiving and surrender.
Questions to ponder
What is your favorite restaurant that’s close to where you live? What’s one that’s far away or hard to get to that you wish was closer?
Are you someone that surrenders easily or do you fight to your last breath? Why do you think that is?
Think about the connection between surrender and thankfulness when it comes to your faith in God and Jesus as the Lord of your life; why is surrender necessary and thankfulness the outcome?