Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. — Matthew 16:24
It was October 1781 and Yorktown was in a sad state of affairs. The town had been taken over by British troops some time before. American troops, combined with allied support, had laid siege on the town. After a failed evacuation, supplies were cut off, disease had set in, and the weather had turned for the worse. Lord Charles Cornwallis had withstood as long as he could, but he knew what he had to do.
On October 17, he waived the flag of surrender. Over the next several days, the details of the surrender were realized as American troops reveled in their victory. After many stunning defeats at the hand of Lord Charles Cornwallis, they finally defeated him.
In our lives, we may not necessarily be fighting in a true war, as in the Revolutionary War described above, but we are still in a battle. Sin wants to lay siege on our lives preventing us from receiving the things we need from God. In order for us to receive the things that we need, we must do the same thing that Cornwallis did on that day.
Jesus described in Matthew 16 that to follow Him, we must deny ourselves. That is, to surrender our will, our body, our soul, and our affections to God. That is to renounce everything that is in ourselves and to wholly follow God.
In life, it can be easy to try and hold on to things rather than giving them all to God. God doesn’t want partial surrender of ourselves. God is looking for full surrender. While there may be many tales of surrender that we hear in this world, surrendering ourselves to God is truly the ultimate surrender. Are you holding on to anything, or have you turned everything fully over to God?
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