Some may recognize the title of this post immediately. I was reminded of this song recently by a fellow blogger and it struck a chord within me, reigniting my desire to be fully surrendered to God. For those familiar with its lyrics, the writer tells of a time when they proudly told Jesus, “All of self, and none of Thee.” They denied him and yet when they examined the image of Jesus there on the cross, his healing, tender mercy, and his overpowering love, they were finally able to say, “None of self, and all of Thee.” I can’t tell you how badly I want to live that in my life… a total surrender to Jesus Christ.
But why in today’s world do we find that so hard to do? I think the answer lies in the drastic change the church has undertaken through the centuries. Go with me back to the first century church and we’ll see people fully surrendered to Christ and each other. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).
It’s obvious from these verses that these early Christians had the “None of self, and all of Thee” mindset. But the church no longer looks like that today. We have busy lives away from God that require our time. We have money to earn and bills to pay, families to take care of and a retirement to enjoy. It’s no wonder we call it the “rat race.” That’s exactly what our lives have become. We inevitably fit into the second verse of the song…”Some of self, and some of Thee.” We squeeze God in somewhere and before we know it, he gets squeezed back out, forgotten as if we never even knew him. It may not be in the form of a golden calf, but idolatry is alive and well today.
But God doesn’t call us to give just some of ourselves. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). Of course our next question rightly would be, What does that kind of surrender look like? How can I be fully surrendered to God considering the responsibilities I have and the world we live in? Good question. God demands that we examine ourselves, looking to see if we are truly surrendered.
I don’t have a perfect answer so I’ll share a situation I’m currently facing. Tomorrow, I begin my tenth year as a 4th grade teacher. It is a job that has created some semblance of comfort for me and my family. But for the last year or so, I have been torn. I have prayed and cried and worried over something that I believe God has put in my heart. I have prayerfully considered leaving my comfortable position and lifestyle as a teacher to serve God as a minister full-time. I know he has blessed me with the abilities necessary to do so. But I haven’t been able to pull the trigger. My rational mind tells me I’ve got it good. Why change? I want to feel how Peter felt when Jesus approached him and asked him to leave everything to fish for men. At once, he left. He left his job, his comfort, everything he knew to follow Jesus.
So I ask for your prayers. I ask for the strength I need to be fully surrendered to God… to say to him, “None of self, and all of Thee.”