Submission vs Surrender

There is such a difference between submission and surrender we ought not to continue using the terms interchangeably. One is whole and the other is only superficial.

When one submits to something, there still remains a tension. You may accept something but you do not accept it fully in submission. In surrender, all forms of conscious and unconscious resistance cease to operate.

Dr. Harry Tiebout says, "The emotional state of surrender is a state in which there is a persisting capacity to accept reality. It is a state that is really positive and creative."

As Christians, there is a call to surrender to the Holy Spirit. It is not a call to submit to the Holy Spirit by which we always have a desire to go against it. But I propose, if we value honesty, we change the words to the old hymn from "I surrender all" to "I submit". Most of us submit to the Holy Spirit, but we do not surrender.

Submission is a half-hearted acceptance that allows for the tension of desire for NOT accepting. Philippians 3:21 says, "Who, by the power that enables him to bring EVERYTHING under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

Followers of Jesus are called to a full surrender where we put up no residual battle once we have fully accepted the reality of the Holy Spirit's control. There is a freedom and relief there which only few of us have really ever known. (I should not say 'us' as that would include me in the group which has actually surrendered all.)

Most of us have not surrendered all; we have submitted most. We resigned, complied, acknowledged, or conceded. There is still some sense of reservation we allow to linger. There remains this pull and tension to not accept all the realities of a life controlled and lead by God. 

Today I am not claiming a surrender, but a grateful submission with a desire for full surrender. This means my prayer is not a claim of but an ask for surrender of heart, mind, and soul to the realities of the Holy Spirit.

PC Walker

Speaker.Author.Poet, whatever comes through the cracks is all grace.