examples of surrender to God in the Bible

7 Powerful Examples of Surrendering to God in the Bible

The word “surrender” may strike fear in your heart which is exactly why I want to share these examples of surrendering to God in the Bible. My goal is to show you the beauty and joy that comes with such an attitude.

We will discuss what it means to surrender to God and why it is important. We are also going to clear up misconceptions such as “I won’t be able to do anything I want to do if I surrender my life to Christ”.

These examples of surrendering to God in the Bible are meant to be a study that goes beyond these words here. I pray this sparks a strong desire in your heart to continue to search the scriptures and apply them to your life in a way you never have before.

Examples of Surrendering to God in the Bible

The idea of surrendering to God’s plan is associated with fear for some.  For others, the act of surrender is a welcome change from the pain of living their own way.  This post of examples of surrendering to God in the Bible explores the idea of surrender, how we surrender, why we would do such a thing, and wraps up with specific examples from the Old Testament and the New Testament.  

I pray that our Heavenly Father has led you to this post because your heart is willing to receive what the word of God says on this somewhat sensitive topic.

We all say that we want the perfect will of God in our lives, but I don’t know that most of us even understand what that means.  Unfortunately, I’m a good example of this.  

Six years ago, I lost my beautiful 8 year old daughter, Rebekah, in an accident.  I was plunged into a painful darkness I had never experienced before.  Now, how could this be God’s will?  How can I trust putting my life or the life of my family into God’s hands again?

While this is a rather extreme question, it does hold the underlying fear we all experience when the word “surrender” is mentioned.  What if I am asked to give up something I don’t want to give up?  What if God requires something of me that will bring me emotional pain?  Is total surrender worth it if I am forced to give up my own desires and my own plans?  This is not something to be taken lightly.  It is an ongoing decision.

Let’s back up a minute and learn what surrender even means.  How can we promise God a surrendered life if we don’t fully understand what it means?  

examples of surrendering to God in the Bible

What Does the Word Surrender Mean?

If you turn to the Hebrew and Greek in the Strong’s Concordance, you get roots meaning: to hand over, give away, deliver over, shut up, or stop.

​Surrender then, is a two-part process.  The first step is to hand our lives over to God.  The next step is to turn away from our own interests and selfish desires.

This does not take absolute faith. Your faith will grow as you slowly learn a daily surrender.

While the basic concept is the same, the process of surrender is different for each of us. For some of us, it means giving up addiction, for others it means to let go of our need to control our lives. Maybe it means acknowledging God in all areas of your life and not only the “pretty” ones.

Surrender is an act of worship, and acknowledgment of a great power, creator, and spiritual being. In other words, surrender is recognizing that God is greater than we are and submitting to Him.

I want to mention one other point. Surrender means acceptance. An acceptance of God’s will over ours. When we are seeking to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives, we accept the good and the bad.

What Does it Mean to be a Living Sacrifice?

​I think our minds go immediately to good works when we think of a person surrendered to Christ and undoubtedly that follows, but if that is our main focus then we miss the point of true surrender.  

  • Removing your old self and embracing our new life with the renewal of your mind– I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Forsaking all fo the Kingdom of Heaven- Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Matthew 13:44-46)
  • Recognizing Jesus as the true vine– I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  (John 15:5-6)
  • Understand that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit–  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • God has our best interest at heart– For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • We can’t do this halfway– surrender means all areas of our lives, but it doesn’t happen all at once.  It is a lifelong process.
  • Spiritual blessings flow when God is our utmost importance– If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  (Luke 14:26-27)
  • Understanding the greatness of God’s love– The love of God for us is so great that He sent His own son to die on the cross for us.  God’s goodness overflows for us!
Bible stories about trusting God: giving it to God

Specific Examples of Surrendering to God in the Bible

God commanded us to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Surrender comes as a result of following this command. When we love God, we obey and surrender. It becomes less about us and more about Him.

The result of an attitude of surrender is one in which we are more focused on God than we are on ourselves. Therefore we do not feel the sacrifice nearly as much as we anticipate.

Let’s turn to some examples of surrendering to God in the Bible to encourage you on your own journey.

Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul was the first name to come to mind (after Jesus) when I began thinking about examples of surrendering to God in the Bible.  He truly lived a life of surrender and provided us with a good example.

He began his life as a strict observer of the law, ready to defend it against anyone or thing that came against it. God used this zeal to spread the gospel to the gentile nations in a monumental way.

When Paul looked back on his life, he felt that he had been faithful to the will God had put on his life. He had surrendered all of his own comfort and sacrificed his fears to share the gospel of Christ to anyone who would listen. His life was not his own and he was content with that.

At the end of his life, he penned the following:

When speaking before King Agrippa, Paul says “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,” (Acts 26). Paul had surrendered his life to the will of God and had fulfilled his calling.

I don’t know about you, but I want to look back over my life and say the same thing!

Paul was completely focused on God to the point where he gave little thought to himself. He was content that way.

Isn’t that what we are after? Contentment?

Abraham’s Faith and the Test of Ultimate Surrender

Abraham is a Hallmark of faith and a pillar of Judaism and Christianity. He believed God’s promises and was in turn considered righteous. I would love to chat more about faith and righteousness, but let’s focus on one main part of his story.

Abraham had prayed for a child for most of his long life. God had promised him a son and yet held back from fulfilling that promise. His wife had taken matters into her own hands and made a complete mess of things.

Finally, at the old age of 90, God gave him a son, Isaac. Oh, how he loved Isaac. Abraham had longed for and dreamed of a child and finally, finally… He was meant to carry on the promises God had given him, to inhabit the land, to grow into a people completely dedicated to the one true God.

Abraham’s joy and faith were to be tested like never before when God told Abraham he must sacrifice Isaac. My heart feels heavy just writing this. Sacrifice his long awaited for son? His pride and joy, his promised descendants, could he be hearing God right?

My brain is yelling “what kind of a God would do that?” and my heart is crying “stand strong, God is faithful!”

Can you imagine the turmoil he was in as he carefully stacked stones to build an altar, lay dry kindling upon it, and then set your beloved child upon it?

Yet he did it. He put God first and was just about to slit the throat of his promised seed when God stopped him.

God wouldn’t let him go through with it. He had proven himself faithful. He had surrendered his greatest love, his very heart, and God provided a different way.

He provided a way for us too. A perfect lamb, His son, to take away our sins and draw us close to Himself.

weekly devotional

The Complete Surrender of Samuel

Samuel was dedicated to God from the time he was conceived and remained faithful his entire life.  He had the daunting task of judging the Children of Israel during a time of transition, idolatry, and weak leadership.  

The story of Hannah is a beautiful one, the cries of an empty womb, the faithfulness of God, the surrender of her son to fulfill her promise to God.

Read about Hannah in “The Story of Hanah in the Bible: The Pain of Infertility”.

Samuel is quite young when Hannah brings him to the Tabernacle in Shilo and presents him to Eli the high priest. Eli begins Samuel’s training immediately and Samuel faithfully serves Israel until his death. I couldn’t find a concrete source of how old he was at his death, but it looks like about 100.

Samuel judged Israel, speaking God’s word (both good and bad), anointed the first two kings, and tirelessly worked to keep the people serving the one true God.

He was completely dedicated to following God with little thought to himself.

The Surrender of Jesus Christ to the Will of God

Philippians 2 tells us that Christ Jesus, the son of God, being equal to God, submitted himself into the form of a servant in human form to give his life as a sacrifice for us.  A total surrender of his will that we might have eternal life.

This was not an easy thing for Jesus. We can see his humanity multiple times throughout his life.

Jesus surrenders to the will of God during his temptation in the wilderness. He could’ve succumbed at that moment and taken an easier road, but he chose God over himself.

It was in the Garden of Gethsemane when we see his true surrender.

He did this two more times that frightful evening. He knew what was to come and yet he surrendered himself to the will of the Father. He accepted who he was and what his purpose was.

Jesus had a major surrender, the very thing we guard with everything inside of us, our lives.

learning to pursue peace

David, the Perfect Example of Prayer of Surrender

I am going to let David’s words speak for himself. May these words permeate your soul and become your own prayer of surrender!

Esther and God’s Purpose

We see the mighty hand of God once again in the story of Esther. It’s another one of those stories in which you see God masterfully navigating circumstances and working all things to His glory.

Esther came to be queen at the proper time. A time that preceded a wicked plan to destroy the Jewish people. She was forced into a marriage with a heathen king and most likely spent time questioning God and begging His help.

This brings up a great point. Esther had no idea why God had put her life on that path. He had a plan she could not see.

How often do we ask God, “Why?”. Why are we going through this? Why is life so hard? Perhaps our paths are being chosen for a specific purpose. Sometimes that means pain for a period of time only to emerge to glorify God and bring His light to a dark world.

If you don’t know the story of Esther, I wrote a summary in “How to Celebrate Purim with Your Family”.

Three Men Choose the Right Path

The setting of this story is ancient Babylon, 587 BCE. The prophecied destruction of Jerusalem has come as a result of Judah’s Idolatry. The people are scattered and killed, homes destroyed, and the beautiful temple that Solomon had built now lies in ruins.

We see the mighty hand of God here in a negative way, nothing like the great military victories of times past not the parting of the Red Sea by Moses. Despair, fear, and death cover the land.

The book of Daniel tells of this destruction and how Nebuchadnezzar selects the best-educated young men for his own use. They were to be taught the ways of the Babylonians and serve in the court of the king.

They are given new names and taken to Babylon. Among these are three noble young men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. No doubt they are struggling to understand the turn of events that have dictated their lives and pray about serving God in the heathen land they find themselves in.

We can see how they have surrendered their lives to the one true God in Daniel chapter 3. The story goes like this:

King Nebuchadnezzar erects a huge statue and commands that everyone bow down to it. Being heathens and accustomed to false gods, everyone obliges. Everyone that is, except Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego.

King Nebuchadnezzar is furious that anyone dare disobey him. He has the men brought before him and demands an explanation. I love what they say here!

These are lives surrendered to God. They are willing to live in obedience to Him no matter what the consequences.

Of course, this angers the king even more. They are clearly not afraid of him. He commands that they are thrown into a fire and burned to death.

For a deeper study on these examples of surrendering to God in the Bible, check out “Even If, Faith Lessons from Daniel Chapter 3”.

I think the running theme here is that surrender is linked to a belief that we will live in eternal glory one day and that our life here on earth is temporal.

What are your thoughts on these examples of surrender to God in the Bible? What stories inspire you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Hi, I am Heather! I am a mom of five, homeschooler, homesteader, and lover of all things chocolate. I am excited to share your faith and parenting journeys with you. Whether you are here looking to grow your faith, heal from loss, find homeschool resources, or hope to find inspiration in raising godly children, you are in the right place. So, grab your favorite hot beverage, curl up in your comfy chair, and stay awhile.

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