ODJ: Joyful Surrender

June 15, 2018 

READ: Philippians 2:5-11 

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow (v.10).

Bible scholars have noted how dangerous and radical the early church’s confession—Jesus is Lord!—seemed to others. Since Israel lived under the oppressive regime of the Roman Empire, where Caesar was considered lord, insisting that Jesus was Lord was a direct affront to Caesar’s supposed power. And yet this confession stood at the very centre of the first Christians’ convictions—and it still stands at the centre of believers’ convictions today.

Paul proclaims that God “elevated [Jesus] to the place of highest honour and gave him the name above all other names” (Philippians 2:9). Jesus isn’t one ruler among many. He doesn’t represent one good idea among many noble ideas—no, Jesus is above every other name, above every other ideal. “At the name of Jesus every knee [will] bow,” Paul writes (v.10).

To confess Jesus as Lord isn’t an abstract theological conviction, but a posture of our entire being. To say these bold words—if we are doing so honestly—means we bow before the one true Lord, bending our knee and our heart, surrendering our longings and our futures to Jesus. To embrace Jesus is to submit to Him. We echo the words of that old hymn: “I surrender all.”

We can surrender with abandon and without fear because the One to whom we are surrendering our life is the very essence of love (1 John 4:8). Jesus demonstrated His love for us first by His own act of surrender, humbling Himself in obedience to God and to love and, as a result, dying “a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

We can surrender to God because the only things we lose in such an exchange are those things that dehumanise us, that steal our joy, that pull us away from the kingdom of goodness and light.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: Mark 1:1-13

Read this Philippians passage again, beginning this time in verse 1. What do you notice about Jesus and our response to Him? 
What makes it most difficult to submit your life to Christ? How does our surrender bring us great joy?