Early on in this short but impactful book titled Surrender: A Christian’s Guide to Dependence, Michael Summers Jr. asks a question that applies far beyond the Christian readers he’s addressing. It’s a commonplace today for people to tell you to “follow your heart” or “follow your passion.”
“Simple,” he says. “My heart is not safe. If I follow my heart there is something inside that will only lead me (1) away from God’s purposes, (2) away from God’s pleasures, and (3) away from God’s wisdom.”
In other words, our hearts are from being faithful guides. In fact, our hearts will lead us astray. It resonates with the well-known observation by G.K. Chesterton: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”
Summers argues for dependence – another word at serious odds with our culture’s enshrinement of individual rights. But it’s a very specific kind of dependence – the dependence that comes from surrender to God. It’s a command that sounds throughout the Old Testament and one that Jesus spoke in startling simple words: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
|Michael Summers Jr.|
He describes surrender as an art, but it is not our artwork. It is something that “God is at work in the heart of a believer to perfect over a lifetime,” a process of conviction, confession, grief, and repentance. (Even Christians who are quick to judge their fellow believers and their churches, and that’s all of us, forget that we are not perfected but instead are in process.) And it’s a process that is ongoing and never reaching its goal in this life.
Summers received a degree in Pastoral Studies from Northland International University and leads student ministry at Countryside Church in Overland Park, Kansas.
Surrender is an excellent introduction to what the process of the Christian life actually is. It’s never easy; it’s fraught with challenges, battles, and obstacles. But it is wonderfully fulfilling.
Top photograph by Steve Halama via Unsplash. Used with permission.