"And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine and all that I have" (1 Kings 20:1-4 KJV) .

Here we see an incident in the long history of Israel which perhaps is not too different from so many in that ancient nation - except for the last statement of the king of Israel. "I am YOURS, and ALL that I have!" The king had in effect, by one short statement forfeited, not only his life, but the lives of all of Israel. No reservations. No conditions. UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER! This is the same type of surrender demanded by the Allies at the close of WW2.

We in America enjoy such incredible freedoms, opportunities, and blessings that it is difficult for many who visit or come here permanently to believe what they see. Our freedom simply overwhelms them in many instances. They do not know what to do sometimes. They are almost immobilized, at loose ends, there is so much freedom around them. It is almost impossible to believe that such freedom could even exist. We who have been born here tend to take SO MUCH for granted, yours truly included! Oh how we Americans prize our freedoms - and so we should! This is such A GOOD thing, to be free...freedom from tyranny of government, and in general, free from fears of each other. In many societies (such the former Iraq), there was great fear and suspicion of fellow citizens, as well as the government.

But there is tension here. Many of us in America grew up in a christian environment, enjoying all the freedoms to worship, and to assemble when, where and how we felt we should. One of the most memorable things from having grown up that way, at least for many, was the worship music. One that I would hear sung so many times during those years was entitled "I Surrender All"! I only recall a few of the words, but they seemed to be so profound then, and they still would today, except, it so seldom used in gospel music, or worship services. It goes something like this: "...all to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all, I surrender all". When we hear the word "surrender" in such a free nation as this, it is something we are so unfamiliar with, and certainly have no intention of ever doing. We as a united nation have always been free, and have never surrendered. It is difficult to form a positive concept of surrender, simply because we have had to do so little of it.

We have had no taskmasters since colonial days, and even then not as some nations had. Israel had the Old Covenant, which as they practiced it during Jesus' day was a "taskmaster" of oppressiveness, and the terribly oppressive Roman dictatorship. But not here in America - the land of the FREE and home of the brave. Not only do we have such a high regard for freedom, but here in the United States there is almost a fanatical emphasis on WINNING - sometimes at almost any cost, and sometimes just for winning’s sake. Certainly there is nothing inherently wrong or sinful about "winning" per se. But often loosing is considered synonymous with surrender, especially in regard to being a Christian. Some may feel that if I obey Jesus in this, they have become a "looser" by default. We are, as Christians, "slaves" of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:22). At the same time, we are considered Jesus’ "freemen" (1 Corinthians 7:22 ). In some translations, the Greek word may be translated as "servant" or "bondservant". The literal meaning, however, is "slave".

So, here are two paradoxes: 1) How can I "loose" and still "win"? 2) How can I be a "slave" and still be "free"?

Loosing by winning, and being free by being a slave just does not "compute" in the natural human mind. But this IS God’s Way - the ONLY way to eternal life. It is also the ONLY way to be truly free among the "free", and to TRULY win among the "winners" in life, even here and now. EVERYONE is a "slave" to something, even in a free society. Some are slaves to addictions, hurtful habits, destructive emotions, aberrant behavior. Even in the business world many are slaves to greed, dishonest competitive policies, and "sharp practices" - borderline dishonesty - and if nothing else, we are all born with "self deification", where self is the center of everything. All these things, and many, many more, are called SIN by God, and therefore they are slaves to sin (Romans 6:16-18).

All who are NOT a "slave" to God, are also the slave of another taskmaster - a more insidious one - all their lives! "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity so that through death he could destroy the one who has the power of death (that is, the devil), AND SET FREE THOSE WHO WERE HELD IN SLAVERY all their lives by THE FEAR OF DEATH" (Hebrews 2:15 NET). All the world is in abject slavery to this fear, whether they realize it or not, or whether they are conscious of it or not. It drives humans in ways from down, so deep inside it is seldom thought about or recognized, and almost never faced. God has set eternity in the hearts of all peoples, but the thought of death is run from, ignored, and put off by a multitude of maneuvers, ploys and mental gymnastics, pleasure chasing, vain amusements - or anything that will keep their minds off death and eternity. This is a burden that is never lifted. One of these mental ploys to relieve the pressure is a cynical, although somewhat humorous cliche often heard from those seeking wealth: "When the game is over, the one who wins is the one who has the most "toys"! Toys, of course, being things, wealth, etc.

But the ETERNAL TRUTH WILL ALWAYS REMAIN - the ONLY way to "win" in the game of life is to "loose" - and the only way to forever be "free" is to become a "slave" by SURRENDER to Jesus! "I did it my way" is the losing way! It is the "way" of slavery to self, with no hope, and no future. They are left with only that which they feared the most .

Becoming a slave to Jesus is not like ANY other "slavery"! Notice His own words:

"All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne" (Matthew 11:27-30 AmpBible).

This is the "slavery" of Jesus! HOW COULD ANYONE NOT WANT TO BE THE "SLAVE" OF SOMEONE LIKE THIS!

If someone reading these words is not a Christian, consider the alternative. Decide to surrender to Jesus NOW...it is the only way to be "free" and a "winner" when He returns. Your "surrender" will bring joy and real eternal peace to you - forever! First, you must REPENT - repent means turning from YOUR OWN WAY, from ignoring God, from living by your own rules, however good you feel they may or may not be (Proverbs 14:12). Then turn to Him. Next, BELIEVE the Good News that Jesus has purchased eternal life for you (Mark 1:15; John 5:24)). Then SURRENDER to Him unconditionally, and live for Him the rest of your life. You will now HAVE eternal life living in you! (John 5:25-29). Then get acquainted - talk to Him. Let Him talk to you through the Bible. Live in humble obedience. Your love for Him will grow more and more - because He first loved you. Don’t worry about answering all concerns, worries, questions, and details immediately. Just surrender. Being a surrendered Christian will answer those things in due time (Luke 9:27).

God is patiently waiting...

"Absolute surrender to God is the one thing...

All to Jesus I surrender - I surrender all!, I SURRENDER ALL"!

Come and cast this self-life and flesh-life at the feet of Jesus. Then trust Him. Do not worry yourselves with trying to understand all about it, but come in the living faith that Christ will come into you with the power of His death and the power of His life; and then the Holy Spirit will bring the whole Christ - Christ crucified and risen and living in glory - into your heart." - Andrew Murray, "Absolute Surrender", 1895

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30