What does it mean to surrender to God?

Surrender is a term that is generally used to refer to losing or giving up in a battle. When we surrender to God, we are choosing to give up the fight between our selfish sinful man and God. We surrender our will to His and this helps us to have a relationship with Him. Each time we surrender more of ourselves to Him, we are able to become more filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

The reason we have to make the choice to surrender to God is because of the original surrender of this world to the Devil at the fall of mankind (Genesis 3:17–19). This made Satan the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4) and caused all people to be born under the power of sin because of Adam's sin (Romans 5:12). Until Jesus returns and takes His rightful place as the final authority and ruler over all, we have to make the decision over and over to surrender our minds, wills, and actions to Him (Romans 8:20–22; 12:1–2).

Our first stage of surrender is the surrender of our lives to God when we are saved. The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ and we make the choice to surrender ourselves to Him and receive His free gift of salvation (John 6:44; Acts 2:21). When we choose to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ, we become God's children (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21). We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As we continue to grow in our walk with the Lord, it becomes more natural and more necessary to surrender more of our lives to Him so that we may know Him more closely and serve Him more effectively. This continuation of our surrender enables us to be filled more and more with the Holy Spirit, showcasing His character and the fruit of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22–23).

When we seek God, we find Him (Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7–11). This leads us to multiple points of decision throughout the course of our lives. Each decision we make comes down to surrender: Will we surrender to God and His will for our lives, or will we live for ourselves without submitting to Him? The battle to surrender our will to God is a difficult and ongoing one, but it is for our good. The choice to engage in the battle is ours (Joshua 24:15).

God calls us to live lives that are surrendered to Him so that we may be "instruments of His righteousness" (Romans 6:13), denying our fleshly desires for the greater cause of Christ (Mark 8:34). When we surrender our minds, wills, and actions to Christ, we exchange our life for His: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Jesus surrendered His life for ours, so we surrender our lives for Him. In doing this, we grow closer to Him, help draw others to Him, and reap a heavenly reward (Luke 6:22–23).

Related Truth:

What does it mean to submit to God?

Why does obedience to God matter?

Seeking God - Why is it important?

How can I come to really know God?

How can I seek first the kingdom of God?

Return to:
Truth about the Christian Life

Subscribe to the CompellingTruth.org Newsletter:

Preferred Bible Version:

CompellingTruth.org is part of Got Questions Ministries

For answers to your Bible questions, please visit