A Call to Surrender
Imagine you are walking down a long corridor and at the end there are two doors, side by side. There is man at each door, waiting to open the one you choose to enter. At first glance, the first door is beautiful. It’s enormous in size, painted a bright, vibrant red and you are immediately drawn to it. It’s adorned with gold inscription that reads in enormous letters, “Please, come in”. The man standing at this door is just as pleasing to the eye. He is dressed to the nines in your favorite designer suit! His hair is perfectly placed, and he smiles at you. You think to yourself, “Wow, this guy looks like he really has it together.” He seems trustworthy enough and begins to tell you about all of the great things behind his door: extravagant feasts, riches, fun, power and status. He describes a world that you can make all your own. All you have to do is enter through his door and he promises that you will be just as pleased as he is.
Amidst the excitement of the first door, you almost forget about the second door. The second door is much more mundane. It is smaller in size. Its rich mahogany color looks a little worn. There is no gold inscription. In fact, the writing on this door isn’t nearly as enticing as the first door’s. It simply reads “Enter” in big, engraved letters. When looking at it you think to yourself, “it’s just like any other door.” The man standing there is just as simple as the door he waits to open. He’s wearing jeans and a plain t-shirt. You can tell he doesn’t really care what his hair looks like. Although he is put together, there is nothing about his appearance that grabs your attention. He looks at you, and with kind eyes he smiles. He doesn’t promise you riches, status or extravagant feasts. Instead, he reaches for your hands and with a sincere look on his face he says, “Friend, choose wisely. My door requires you to leave certain things behind. The road will seem long at times. It will even bring sorrow, but don’t worry, I will be there, walking with you every step of the way. I will be your strength and your joy; your peace and your freedom. I will be enough.”
I don’t know about you, but if I’m trying to decide which door to enter based off of appearances, I’m walking through the party door! Who wouldn’t?! The man standing there has enticed me with everything my flesh craves to find my identity in: comfort, acceptance, material things, the promise of “happiness”. To walk through that first door would be so much easier, compared to the second door. The second door really doesn’t sound like much fun. Why trust a man standing there, promising to be enough, while he makes the requirement for me to leave certain “things” behind?
I have an answer, and we find it in Matthew chapter 7, verses 13 & 14:
“Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction,
and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road
that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The Door of Death is tricky, and it’s doorman knows just how to appeal to our weaknesses. He whispers lies laced with false promises, enticing us to hold on tightly to that one thing we are afraid to let go of. He knows he has us right where he wants us: distracted and afraid. What if I miss out? What if I end up alone? What if I’m not happy? What if Jesus isn’t enough? And while we are distracted by our fears, we don’t even notice that we are helping the Door of Death’s doorman slip on our shackles. We don’t mind at first because our shackles are deceivingly bewitching. They are painted our favorite color and are adorned with the most beautiful stones. To wear them makes us feel secure and comfortable. That’s why we become confused when suddenly we look down to see that the paint has chipped, and the stones we found so lovely before do not hold the same luster they used to. And before we know it, we are walking along this path that held all we thought we wanted, only to find ourselves miserable. This path isn’t as easy as we thought it would be. Our chains begin to get heavier, and we begin to grow weaker. That “thing” that held the false promise of happiness is now a weight we are dragging behind, leaving us empty and exhausted.
The man standing at the “party” door failed to tell us that his suit was bought at a steep price; that the extravagant feasts always leave us feeling hungry for more; and that the world he told us we can make all our own eventually turns to ashes. The harsh reality of this path is that we will never have true joy because we have decided to make it on our own. When we choose to make our own path, and not surrender our lives to the Door of Life, we only have destruction waiting for us.
I am not showing you the harsh reality of the Door of Death to scare you, my friend. I am showing you the Door of Death because I want you to see just how sweet the Door of Life truly is. Jesus doesn’t call us to surrender something or someone unless it is for our own good. The call to surrender is one made out of love. Going through the Door of Death appeals to us because we don’t trust Jesus’ goodness. We aren’t willing to believe that He is who He says He is. So in fear, we hold on tightly to what we know we need to surrender to Him. We’re afraid that what Jesus has for us won’t compare to what we’re holding on to. We don’t believe that He is enough for us. I don’t say these things out of judgement because I know how hard it can be to walk away from the very person or thing that you find your identity in. I have been there, and it is scary and painful. I just want you to know the same Jesus that I found…once I finally surrendered what was keeping me from Him.
Let these words refresh you; especially if you’ve been dragging your shackles behind you, afraid of taking them off. Come with me and see what’s behind the Door of Life:
Psalm 23:1, 2 and 3 –
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”
Psalm 107:13, 14 and 15 –
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and He saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness,
the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.”
1 John 4:16 and 18 –
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love
lives in God, and God in them…
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Deuteronomy 33:12 –
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him,
for He shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves
rests between His shoulders.”
He is a chain breaking, fear destroying, soul refreshing, love commanding, fierce protecting God. He loves you more than you could ever begin to understand. He knows you carry hurt and fear. He knows all of the choices from your past that you’re not proud of. He knows that you are far from perfect. And guess what? He still loves you! He’s still standing at the Door of Life, waiting patiently for you to trust Him enough to enter. Out of His great love for you, He can’t stand to watch you hold onto something that is harming you. He can’t stand not to be in a deeper relationship with you because of this false anchor you are carrying around. It crushes Him deeply to know that you are hurting and not running to Him. He doesn’t promise that the Door of Life is easy. There can be great pain that comes from stripping off what keeps us from Him. But friend, there is greater freedom. There is greater joy. The Door of Life will illuminate the things in your heart that need to be touched by His healing hand. It will sting at first. It will be agonizing to face. I promise you, though, you will come out on the other side stronger. You will come out a Warrior. So let’s take up our swords, put on our armor and surrender our “things” to the One who is greater. Let’s enter the Door of Life.