The Great Surrender


Jesus told us to go . . . but the going is not the purpose. We were to make disciples when we got there—wherever that was—and these new believers were to become disciples by being taught to obey Christ.

Many critics of Christianity accuse the followers of Jesus of making converts, as if the faith is magically imparted with a few phrases repeated from a tract or by a hand sheepishly raised in the back row of a meeting hall, while “every head is bowed and every eye is closed, with no one looking around.” Sadly, some Christians agree, treating the Sinner’s Prayer as an incantation rather an affirmation of belief. But what Jesus told us he wants are disciples, not converts.

The refinement of obedience is at the heart of the Great Commission. To truly obey means to truly surrender. Through this daily obedience, we allow Jesus to “occupy” our lives so that “Christ in me” becomes the face we present to the world (p. 20). No matter where we are, this level of discipleship will draw others to the presence of Jesus.

Often, when believers go to another part of the world or even out into their own neighborhoods to spread the good news, the Holy Spirit speaks to them as clearly as He does to those He has prepared to receive the gospel. The Spirit may “bless” the believer with feelings of both helplessness and love, awakening deeper trust and a burden for the lost (p. 10). At other times the Spirit moves through a miracle, His Word is obeyed and lives are transformed (p. 6).

Like the centurion who performed his duties within the undisputed chain of authority in his life, we are subject to Christ and His commands. Obeying the Great Commission is not a task but a lifestyle of surrender.

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