• Hughson T. Ong

Faith and Surrender

Updated: Aug 18, 2018

In “On Faith and the Human Heart,” I propose that faith is neither a mental assent nor a public showmanship; rather, it is a matter of the heart. Here, I further propose that genuine faith is a life of surrender. A Christ follower surrenders everything to the will of God.

Let’s take my Christian beginnings as an example. I was born into a Christian family. I grew up in the church and had many Christian friends. I knew all about the Christian religion, and I have lived my entire life as a Christian. But these circumstances and acts do not mean that I’m a Christ follower.

I know that I had only become a Christ follower when I had surrendered my life to him.

How did I know I had surrendered my life?

  • I stepped out of my safe, comfort zone to follow God’s new plan for me.

  • I gained sufficient courage to trust in his divine providence to leave my business career.

  • I carried out that plan and endured the challenges that came along the way.

  • I fulfilled that plan in 2015 after I completed my doctoral study.

As far as I recall, I never heard about surrender, not once, in all my years at seminary. I also understand why—it’s not the subject matter of seminary courses, and it’s not what you paid for to acquire a degree in Christian higher education.

But surrender is a central part of the Christian faith, integral to why you’re studying what you’re studying.

There are many evidences of the lifestyle of surrender in the New Testament, and here are some of them.

  • When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, they immediately left their boat and their father to follow Jesus (Mt. 4:18-20).

  • Matthew, a tax collector, did the same thing when he decided to follow Jesus (Mt. 9:9).

  • Another tax collector, Zacchaeus, sold half of his possessions to the poor and paid back up to four times the people on whom he had cheated (Lk. 19:8).

  • Jesus highlights three realities about the cost of following him: we can’t give up (Lk. 9:58); we can’t vacillate (Lk. 9:60); and we can’t be half-hearted (Lk. 9:62).

The list goes on. Note the contrast and consequences of other stories that exhibited a failure to surrender.

  • The rich young man did virtually every single commandment in Scripture, but he was unable to follow Jesus because he could not surrender his material wealth (Mt. 19:21-24).

  • Judas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, turned his back and did not surrender his life to the Lord (Mt. 27:3-4).

  • The religious leaders failed to become Jesus’ followers because they thought they had everything figured out, and even though they were teaching and practicing the Jewish religion almost perfectly,

Jesus warned his disciples not to imitate them because they do not practice what they preach (Mt. 23:3)!

The list goes on. You get the point.

Christians need to completely surrender their life to show themselves to be true disciples of Christ—this is a central message of the New Testament.