Competition has always existed in the world. Today, it is most highlighted on TV and in the media in the areas of sports, business and politics. I have spent most of my adult life watching all three of our kids compete. I don’t think there is a human alive that does not like to WIN!! I know I certainly do! It has been overwhelming, and no words to describe, when our kids have won a golf tournament, or the feelings I had watching Clemson win against Georgia this past Saturday night.

I can especially remember two summers ago when I was caddying for our middle son when he won his first amateur event. I can remember walking and carrying his bag for the last few holes. He was tied with his playing partner, who had won previous amateur events. Thomas birdied number 16 and his playing partner boggied and Thomas took the lead by 2 shots. They parred number 17 and I can remember starting to tear up on the 18 tee box, realizing the win was within Thomas’ reach if he just hung on. IT was a surreal moment walking off the 18 green with all the people, media and Thomas’s sister and friends standing there waiting. It was like a dream when he won. Wins are few in golf for most competitive golfers and that has certainly been the case in our family. It was a PRECIOUS MOMENT. A goal and dream realized! I was humbled, thankful, tearful and speechless all at the same time. Winning is special!

Just like Thomas’ win two summers ago and Clemson’s win Saturday night, it is history, “Good history,” but it is fleeting. It then becomes about wondering when is the next win coming??? It can, and is, a vicious cycle. The never ending pursuit of winning. What about surrender?

Surrender is not a word anyone wants to hear in competition, or life for that matter. It implies losing or giving up. No one wants to be a loser!!! In today’s world winning is the thing that gets the most admiration, publicity and, usually, money! Everyone loves to win and be around a winner. We would rather talk about succeeding and conquering than yielding. Maybe that is why we have such a hard time “surrendering our lives to Jesus?” In Romans 12, starting with verse 1, it states, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a LIVING SACRIFICE (SURRENDER) holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to this WORLD, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and PERFECT.” When it states “don’t be conformed to this world,” I know that God knows how we humans get “caught up” in things that are temporal, like “winning!”

True “VICTORY” in life comes from a “surrendered life” to our Creator, Jesus! I love the quote by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. “The greatness of man’s power is in the measure of his surrender.” Trust is key in surrender. It is easy to give up control to someone you trust! One of my favorite stories in the Bible is of Peter. After he had been fishing all night, Jesus told him to go back out and “cast his net on the other side of the boat in deep water”. When Peter listened, surrendered and trusted, his net was overflowing with fish so much so that the nets were ripping. Jesus knows what’s best even when we cannot see. A surrendered life is having complete TRUST that He sees and has the “ALL KNOWING VISION” that we are not capable of having.

It has been my personal experience that surrender to Jesus brings STRENGTH! It brings peace, comfort, joy and God’s vision that cannot compare to anything that I can dream of. I find that on the “Back 9” of life everyone eventually surrenders to something or someone. They surrender to the expectations or opinions of humans, to fear, the drive for worldly success, fame, money, or a substance. We all have that void that was placed within to be met by Jesus but somehow we have a hard time thinking and trusting that there is a God that wants the BEST FOR US. We somehow take the place of God in our own lives and try to BE GOD, which leads to a road of destruction.

As Rick Warren put it so well, “Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works!” Remember nothing under God’s control can ever be out of control.

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