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Signs that you haven’t surrendered yet

You can tell the Christians who haven’t made Jesus Lord yet from a distance. You’ll see a number of telltale signs: Chaos in their personal life They play the victim card They struggle to maintain control They get their feelings hurt and hurt people’…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
You can tell the Christians who haven’t made Jesus Lord yet from a distance. You’ll see a number of telltale signs:
  • Chaos in their personal life
  • They play the victim card
  • They struggle to maintain control
  • They get their feelings hurt and hurt people’s feelings
  • They tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly
  • Life tends to revolve around their needs

That’s what happens when you give Lordship lip service. And then we rail against God and blame him for our mess. We want the benefits of Lordship without the costs. We want him to protect us, guide us and comfort us. But, are we prepared to pay the price? What about having to actually do what somebody else tells you to do without even a vote in the matter?

We moderns struggle mightily with the concept of Lordship. We don’t have much experience with authority outside of perhaps, our jobs. What does it mean to fully submit yourself to the will and agenda of someone else? Many parents seem to believe in options more than than they do in submitting. So if your child disagrees with you in the grocery store when you say “NO,” they have the option of crying and even creating a scene. When that child grows into an ornery adolescent, they have the option of assuming the posture of an aggrieved victim and inflicting a bad attitude on the entire household.
This was not Jesus’ way. Following him was voluntary, but once you committed, you were committed. All rabbis trained their followers that way. They didn’t have time for a contest of wills. When Jesus led, he had a definite end in mind. “”Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”(Luke 6:46)  He asked his followers.
We’d like to change the rules or at least make them a little more seeker-sensitive. We’d like to move the church in the direction of the nonbelievers. But Jesus wasn’t looking for fans, he was looking for followers. We want to reduce it down to saying a prayer. Say the prayer and you’re a Christian. Being a Christian is the same as being a follower of Jesus, right?
Well, not exactly. 
You can tell when someone is a Christian but not a follower of Jesus when style supersedes substance. When what you wear to church matters more than the character you display. When your concern for people’s opinions is more important than your concern for widows and orphans. When you are known for your judgments more than you are your grace.
A lot of people are broken, but haven’t gotten to brokenness. And many followers of Jesus have stopped at the gate to the narrow road, but won’t go further on the journey. Jesus asks them for surrender, and they prefer to call their own shots.
There’s a better way to live.

Comments (22)

  • You articulate so well what my inner core believes. There is a huge difference between being a Christian and being a follower of Jesus. Why is there so much confusion about this?

    Amen to following Jesus. Yes it is costly, but priceless.

  • Dear set i read this article ,i agree with your ponits.
    But i would going to say we as christians we have to encourage and “EMBRACE” other Chistians,who have not “COMPLETELY SURRENDERED” love them Pray for them and ENCOURAGE THEM ALWAYS.

  • This is what i did and continue to incorporate in my life.
    I had to “ERADICATE” the word “SELF WILL FROM MY LIFE”ITS IS GODS’ will now that i live mylife.
    My life is so much better in terms my SERENITY,Humility,and continued Gratitude .MY SELF TALK to GOD, is REAL.This AWARENESS of GODS, presnce now EMBEDED in my Sub Concious MIND will never leave me.
    GodS’ will always be my NUMBER ONE EMPLOYER,and i will continue to seek his FORGIVENESS AND GRACE,always REMINDING myself I will never take GODS GRACE and Salavtion FOR GRANTED NEVER.
    Thank u Seth for your Continued words and INSPIRATION.Thank u and THANK GOD for having MERCY ON ME.

  • I like this part “We’d like to move the church in the direction of the nonbelievers. But Jesus wasn’t looking for fans, he was looking for followers.”

    How do we learn to do this, but tell truth. I think sometimes that is the hard part…we try to tell truth and then let it falls into seeker-sensitive. But I think there is a way to deliver hard fast truth in a non-seeker sensitive way that brings the unbelievers to a place where they want more…even more so than a seeker-sensative way would. What are your thoughts on that Seth? Does that make any sense to you?

  • Challengingly convicting, encouraging, did I say challenging yet? Man, it’s gonna be another day of being shaped. Thanks man.

  • Seth, I’m very curious about your first bullet choice. I can think of no one that had chaos follow them more than Paul so I’m not exactly clear on where you are going with that one. In fact, as I think about those in my life that have indeed surrendered, it seems as if chaos follows them more than anyone else at times. I think these are ways God uses for them to outwardly demonstrate to others their faith.

    I’m thinking you meant something in particular with this, but chaos and quite often calamity seem to be ever present in some of the most faithful and surrendered Christians I’ve met.


  • Taryn,

    Good question. I think that’s something that requires discipleship. I could give you an answer, but I’d need to train you in how to implement it. Grace for nonbelievers should be your default, tilt the balance more toward truth the more relational commitment you have to a person.

  • Chris,

    Great point. This is what I meant:
    Chaos in their personal life

    I made the clarification. Thanks for the help.

  • Seth,
    great post. you nailed it. again…something my husband and i feel deep in our core, but rarely find those that truly agree…thank you for a refreshing and encouraging start to the day. i thank God for your blog. would you mind if i posted this as a link on my blog? Brooke 🙂

  • Great post – I have been re-reading Breaking Free by Beth Moore this week and yesterday morning was struck by her comment right along these same lines – “Obedience is always the mark of authentic surrender to God’s authority” … Lord, help us to be true followers and not just fans who give you lip service.

  • Dear Seth –

    Last week I found your blog when I was looking for information on grief and sorrow and found your post on joy and sorrow. It was so on point for me that I decided to receive your daily blog posts and have been reading them since then.
    Today..your post really hits home. This is a question that I have been praying about and asking God about. Even though I have committed to giving my life to follow Christ…what does it really mean to live a life where God is sovereign. He is presently taking me through a season of recognizing that I haven’t given everything over to Him. The first few bullet points of your post let me know that I am still a work in progress – all of those points sort of hit me like arrows. Oddly, it gives me some comfort in knowing that this is not the end, that because He loves me so much He is gently and lovingly opening my eyes to the truth. I have become painfully aware that just because people say they are Christians does not mean they are followers of Christ and that means me, too. He has prepared my heart to accept the truth. For that I am grateful. Thanks for speaking into my life today.

  • Andrea,

    Sounds like a hard season. I’m glad that the blog is helping some. Keep pressing in with gratitude for what he reveals – we’re all somewhere on that same path.

  • This is a good prod and reminder that having Jesus as Lord is fundamentally distinguished from having the “salvation ticket” punched. I will say that some of the most surrendered people I know have some lives that might superficially appear to be chaotic. But I’m guessing it comes down to definitions. What is absolutely clear is that Jesus never made himself a victim and did tell us “in this world you WILL have trouble”. Our efforts to artificially circumvent the hard parts of being a spirit living in a mortal body sometimes have us crafting balsa wood crosses instead of the real thing.

    Love you friend…

  • Seth, thanks for the continual reminders to live an abandoned life for Jesus. Your blog is always a great encouragement to me. We need to be more committed to following Jesus than to merely be religious for religion’s sake. I don’t know if I am seeing this differently or we are thinking the same thing, but I would say that being a Christian really is the same thing as being a follower of Jesus. I make my point from Acts 11:26 where the word “Christian” first comes into existence. The disciples never called themselves that, but it was given to them by the people in Antioch because they were so much like Christ in spirit and deed- which is what Christian means, to be like Christ. A Jesus follower shouldn’t have to call himself a Christian, it should be obvious whose he is. One cannot be a Christian, or “like Christ”, and not be a Jesus follower. It seems that there are a lot of counterfeit Christians running around, but in time they will be brought to light as the Pharisees were.
    I don’t know if you had this idea in mind, but you are reminding me of the throne diagram- the 3 circles showing: 1. Self on the throne with Christ totally outside, 2. Christ in your life but Self still on the throne, and 3. Christ on the throne. It is/was a popular diagram, but I would have to disagree with it. I don’t think the Bible gives room to being a Christian and not having Christ on the throne. I think we can struggle for that power at times and act like we are in control, but if we are truly saved, Christ is the only one who can be on our throne. We can’t be a half Christian. I think this is where the line often gets blurred- because there are people calling themselves Christians, but their hearts are far from God. They don’t understand what the word means, making it difficult to identify the real Christians. I think, instead of separating ourselves from the word “Christian”, the lives of the Jesus followers should be such that it is obvious to the world what the word Christian means- going back to the original definition. Not that we would call ourselves that, but that we wouldn’t have to- the world would just know it.


  • This is just what I needed, right at the time I needed it.

    I’m glad I did a google search on starting over at 40.

    Wonderful site, God Bless You & Yours.


  • Sandra James Mullings

    Ouch!! I was asked to ponder the question “what have you not surrendered yet” just an hour ago. I was complaining about how overwhelmed I feel with life and not being able to get a handle on my faith walk. Then I found your post and it shook me quite a bit. You don’t hold back at all and that is what we need, in the body of Christ. No sugar coating. Every word challenged me especially “And many followers of Jesus have stopped at the gate to the narrow road, but won’t go further on the journey.” I have been complaining to the Lord somehow hoping that He will give me some kind of reprieve from taking up my cross and following Him. Thanks so much for articulating so well what true surrender to His Lordship really means.

  • Matt Pings! Long time no see…

    You wrote what I would’ve written If I’d had the time… I agree completely!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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