Typically when we think of “surrender”, we think of giving up, tossing the towel in, or giving in to the opposing forces’ demands. In the spring of 1865, General Lee had to make the most difficult decision of his life. The following is an eyewitness account:
With his army surrounded, his men weak and exhausted, Robert E. Lee realized there was little choice but to consider the surrender of his Army to General Grant. After a series of notes between the two leaders, they agreed to meet on April 9, 1865, at the house of Wilmer McLean in the village of Appomattox Courthouse. The meeting lasted approximately two and one-half hours and at its conclusion the bloodiest conflict in the nation's history neared its end…
At a little before 4 o'clock General Lee shook hands with General Grant, bowed to the other officers, and with Colonel Marshall left the room. One after another we followed, and passed out to the porch. Lee signaled to his orderly to bring up his horse, and while the animal was being bridled the general stood on the lowest step and gazed sadly in the direction of the valley beyond where his army lay – now an army of prisoners. He smote his hands together a number of times in an absent sort of way; seemed not to see the group of Union officers in the yard who rose respectfully at his approach, and appeared unconscious of everything about him.
All appreciated the sadness that overwhelmed him, and he had the personal sympathy of every one who beheld him at this supreme moment of trial. The approach of his horse seemed to recall him from his reverie, and he at once mounted. General Grant now stepped down from the porch, and, moving toward him, saluted him by raising his hat. He was followed in this act of courtesy by all our officers present; Lee raised his hat respectfully, and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded. [i]
Surrender is never an easy thing. It tears at the very fabric of our being. One of the main reasons for destructive conflict in marriage is that one or both mates are fighting an ongoing Civil War in their own hearts. The battle is not between the North and the South, but it is between God and self.
We desire to call all the shots and run our life apart from the lordship, direction, and empowering of the Holy Spirit. This very personal, spiritual battle lies at the crux of almost every struggle in marriage, in family, and, in fact, in all relationships.
Galatians 5:16-24 says:
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”
Minute by minute, hour by hour, it boils down to this: Choose to follow Christ and His Word or continue to navigate the rocky waters of sin, and stubborn self-will. You will discover that when you lay down your weapons of pride and self-focus, you will become someone your mate wants to be near. You will find yourself with a servant’s heart. When you honor God in your home with a choice to serve your mate and surrender to Christ’s rule, He promises you something. 1Samuel 2:30b says,
“Those who honor me I will honor…”
We invite you to surrender this hour to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Join Jesus in His prayer to our heavenly Father for surrender in Matthew 6:10:
“your kingdom come, your will be done…”
If you are not, yet, a follower of Christ and therefore, do not have the gracious, enabling Holy Spirit within you, please click the following to find out how to invite Christ into your life: