Wave the White Flag

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Two hundred years after Christ, China’s Han Dynasty began its ruthless conquest of neighboring territories.¬† During a particular battle, an enemy soldier, knowing he was defeated, stripped off part of his shirt and waved it in the air.¬† It was an act of surrender – thus began the tradition of ending a battle by waving the white flag.¬† For the 1st-century Roman soldiers, their ‘white flag’ was their shield.¬† When surrendering, a centurion would drop his sword and raised his shield above his head – an act of defenseless yielding.¬† An act of surrender.

The Bible teaches that every person has a ‘free will.’¬† Since Eden, we’ve been making choices and dealing with the consequences.¬† Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they aren’t.¬† God doesn’t force anyone to do what He wants (although He is more-than-able, yet He is much-too-gracious).¬† Satan would force you to do his bidding, but he can’t (so he manipulates, deceives, and never delivers on promises).¬† Most times, what we want and what God wants are not in parallel.¬† In fact, the Bible is clear that our desires are not God’s desires.¬† What are we to do?¬† Wave the white flag: surrender.

1st Surrender
Being saved is, at its root, a humble act of surrender.¬† It is admitting that you can’t win the war against sin.¬† It’s surrendering to what Jesus did on the cross instead of trying to fight the battle of righteousness by yourself.¬† It is throwing in the towel of self-effort and, by faith, resigning to God’s grace.¬† Charles Stanley once told of his Evangelism Professor’s ‘Impossible Test.’¬† So much information was required, it was impossible to pass… yet there was an out.¬† On the last page of the test, the simple instruction to sign your name and you would receive a 100%.¬† The only catch, you weren’t allowed to try to take the test first and then sign your name… it was all or nothing.¬† There would be no combination of effort and grace – no mixture of faith and works.¬† So it is with our soul’s salvation – if we surrender, then we win (Romans 11:6).

The Point of Surrender
When you got saved, you got all of God – but He didn’t get all of you!¬† Rev. 3:20 says that He is knocking at a door in your heart.¬† It might not be the front door, maybe it’s a closet where you keep all your skeletons.¬† Maybe its a secret room you have never let anyone into.¬† It’s time to open the door.¬† Surrender is opening the door to God and letting Him come in and fix things.

From a young age, I was taught to not be a quitter… “Never give up!”¬† We think surrender is weakness – but really, it’s wisdom.¬† Most compare surrender with failure, but in reality it’s success.¬† It’s not letting go, it’s holding on to the right things.¬† Surrender is not defeat – especially with God – it’s victory in the truest sense.

-Surrender your control. Loosen your grip of the circumstances and be honest with God about who you’re not.
-Surrender your pride and independence.¬† Partner with an ‘armor-bearer’ for encouragement and accountability.
-Surrender the glory.¬† When something in life goes right, when success finds you… give God the credit He deserves!

Lieutenant Hirro Onada never realized this.¬† He fought as the last Japanese soldier for 29 years after WWII had ended.¬† He would not surrender, he would not back down or give in.¬† At some point, his bravery had turned to madness.¬† Somewhere along the way, his pure loyalty had become a lonely hell; and we feel nothing but pity for the prematurely aged 52-year old.¬† That’s exactly what Christians who have surrendered think of you, if you have not surrendered.¬† Why fight a battle you cannot win?¬† Why continue to kick against the pricks from the Creator?¬† Why not open the door and find what you’ve been looking for all this time?

We find Jacob at the point of surrender in Genesis 32:24-31.¬† He has been a conniving trickster who has made enemies of his family – but that’s all about to change.¬† He wrestles with the Angel (probably a pre-Bethlehem appearance of Jesus Christ).¬† During this encounter, He surrenders – something Jacob has never done before.¬† He waves the white flag.¬† He raises his defenses.¬† He throws in the towel.¬† Only to find it is the greatest decision he’s ever made…¬† because, from today on, he would be different – much different.

1. New Priorities – He didn’t just want something from God, wanted to know God (face-to-face).
Do you need a change in priorities?  Do you put God first in all you do?  How might you be better?

2. New Power РHis new name (favor with God & men).  In our weakness, God reveals His strength (2 Cor. 12:9).
Are you living in your strength or in God’s?¬† Isn’t it time you surrendered and experienced God’s mighty power?

3. New Perspective – He would see things & people differently – not manipulative, but ministering.
How do you see other people?  Do you see what you can get out of them or what you can do for them?

4. New Pace – His limp would slow him down to develop better relationships with his family.
Is your family confident in your love?  In what ways can you improve your family bond?

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