I have to make the decision to surrender my thought life to God. I have to say ‘Lord I don’t want to just let my mind wander wherever it wants, I don’t want my mind to be consumed with myself, I want it to be consumed with what you want and what you desire.’ Specifically with regard to sin, I don’t want it to just run rampant and do whatever it wants, but I want to predetermine beforehand that my mind will not allow it in.
I believe that’s what surrender is. I believe surrender is making a determination beforehand to give up my will. Overcoming is in the moment of temptation denying myself, but surrender is denying myself before something has ever happened – giving myself up.
The other day I was on the road and I was driving behind a car that had an odd device spinning around on the top, and I read on the back of it something like ‘Google driverless car’. There are these cars that can drive themselves, there’s someone in the car but they aren’t driving the car. The car is driven by very complex software and mechanical devices. The person inside is just taking notes, and making sure the car doesn’t malfunction or do anything dangerous or foolish.
I remember hearing stories about how some people try to mess with the car just to see what happens – driving in front of it and slamming on their brakes or cutting it off. But the wonderful thing about this car is that it has been pre-programmed beforehand to always make the safest and wisest choice. It has been pre-programmed never to get revenge for itself, it doesn’t tailgate others when they cut it off or honk the horn out of anger, it doesn’t get anxious and drive dangerously to get somewhere on time. Because the computer programmers put instructions into the software beforehand, always make what’s the safest and wisest decision.
And I see myself as needing to do that when I surrender things in my life. Say “Lord I’m making the determination right now by your grace and the power of your Spirit, I’ll be able to overcome temptation by making the decision right now that when the temptation comes up I’m not going to give into it.” So that’s why they say these driverless cars are much safer than human drivers. Because humans are corrupted with sin!
I see that when God’s filling us with His Spirit and we surrender ourselves to what He wants then we can overcome, and give up our will in that moment when we’ve made a determination beforehand. It’s much easier than if we’d have just not thought about it at all, and then the temptation comes in a moment and now I have to think about and decide what the right course of action is. But if I’d have made the decision 3 months earlier not to sin in this area (honk my horn out of revenge, yell at another person, for example), then it’s much easier to not sin in that moment.
Praise God that by His Spirit we can have authority over our mind and our thought life.