There are loads of things, endless variables and countless ways we evolve and transform as humans. I’m sure you could quickly rattle off a few good things and few bad that pushed you to make changes. Now, whether or not they stick is another thing entirely!
As you survey changes in your life, I’m willing to bet that many were motivated by something outside of your faith. And that’s okay. Often, discipline and intention are sufficient change agents especially for short term changes and goal driven behavior.
But what about bigger changes? The ingrained habits and ways we respond to difficult situations often come from past hurts. We all have a pain point that drives us to our faith. Even for those of us raised up in a faith, there is an event in our lives that pushes us to seek our own personal relationship with God.
Here in this space today, I want to hone in on how surrender unlocks a Holistic Transformation in Christ. No level of discipline or good intention compares to the catalytic power of the grace and mercy in Christ Jesus! Any pain point we have is remedied in his love. This holistic transformation does not mislead or let down. It makes us fully new and lets us thrive in all aspects of life.
Surrender to christ Leads to Holistic Transformation
His presence at creation, the lessons on love, his gift at the cross and our eternal access to the triune, all make Jesus the ultimate change agent. Also interesting, is that change with Christ is rooted in grace rather than transactional fixes.
Holistic transformation is within reach through the surrender of our entire self and the reciprocal renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:1-2). We can’t parcel ourselves out and expect holistic transformation. God’s love-light needs to shine on every nook and cranny.
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6 Ways Surrender Leads to Holistic Transformation
1. Mind, Body, Spirit Healing
Nothing we surrender to Christ is left unchanged!
Total mind, body, spirit healing is possible through holistic transformation. It isn’t instantly remedying of ingrained issues but the more we surrender, the more access God’s love has within us.
The verses above from Romans 12 remind us our minds are capable of transformation and renewal, revealing what is good and pleasing and perfect to an ever-present, loving God. Our thoughts receive quality training when we submit them to God’s version of good, pleasing and perfect!
The love we receive from God allows us to more perfectly love others and ourselves. If forgiveness of another person or oneself is needed, surrender allows us to emulate the forgiveness we’ve received from Jesus. Often, forgiving ourselves and others leads to gratitude, which we know has numerous physical healing benefits.
Surrendering our emotional pain points to God also brings healing and holistic transformation to our spirit. The way we see God, ourselves and others are all changed. There is freedom in letting go. With God holding our right hand, knowing we are seen and supported, we find letting go with the left a pure and healing release (Isaiah 41:13, Psalm 56:8).With God holding our right hand, knowing we are seen and supported, we find letting go with the left a pure and healing release (Is 41:13). tell a friend
2. sustained change
When we’re working in our own strength to make holistic transformation happen, we often have internal power struggles between what we want long term and what we want right this second. There are many variables that affect the outcome on that specific day.
Surrendering the full self to God, however, sets the stage for sustained change. Similar to the Enneagram Institute’s Levels of Development, a holistic faith in Christ doesn’t point out your flaws and leave you there in shame. There are no corners we’re backed into. There is no throwing up of the hands in defeated defense, “it’s just who I am“.
Surrender to God brings holistic transformation in that his spirit works on changing our heart so we desire and reflect more of him and less of us (John 3:30).
It is important to remember the spirit’s work in us is progressive and evolutionary. The something more-ness of Christ, his ability and willingness to fully envelope us in his love, nurtures us to see more and love more. Surrender allows for rhythmic sustained change and growth.
3. intentional faith development
So those first two points put much of the work on Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So beautiful that we are invited to lean in to this spiritual work and reap the countless benefits. We do, however, have our own accountability in the process of holistic transformation.
We must humble ourselves.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV)
We must remain in Christ.
Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. (John 15:4 HCSB)
We must choose Christ again and again (not be surprised that we have to do so!).
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 NIV, italics added)
Jesus was the once and for all sacrifice for the world’s sin. The only thing we need to do at the beginning of our walk with Christ is believe in and accept this gift. Nothing can reverse his fulfillment of the salvation promise. We don’t need to be like high-school me praying and re-praying for salvation insurance at every turn. Upon acceptance, that work is finished!
For growth purposes though, for intentional faith development and true holistic transformation, we do have choices to make. Surrender requires recurrence. Faith development is a choice.
4. Pray continually and never lose heart
Recurring surrender lends itself to continuous, comtemplative prayer. God is present in all places and all points in time whether or not we recognize this phenomenon. There’s nothing we do to plus or minus his presence. With fresh renewal, however, we see God more fully in the world around us. There’s amped awareness of his unending presence. We know in our bones that his presence is available continually, even when it isn’t felt. This spiritual knowledge is such a gift in holistic transformation.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me. (Psalm 42:7 NIV)
The Passion Translation words this verse, “My deep need calls out to the deep kindness of your love.” This speaks volumes about contemplative prayer. The deep need of the human spirit speaks to and hears from the deep, boundless energetic spirit of God. In continued surrender our spirit is open to God and communicates with his spirit. Said another way, we pray continually and never lose heart!
5. have life and have it abundantly
All this surrender doesn’t leave us empty handed, bored or alone.
A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness. (John 10:10 NIV)
Short but oh, so sweet. This verse sums it up! In surrendering our full self to the life giver, we receive life in full.
Sacrifice vs. Surrender
Sometimes we confuse sacrifice and surrender.
Sacrifice, while a type of surrender, indicates loss or destruction of what is offered. This is the crux of the cross. The final sacrifice done on our behalf destroyed the power of sin and death.
Surrender indicates a yielding of oneself and is an ongoing process. Yielding to holistic transformation allows us to have life and have it abundantly! This full life includes fullness of joy, finding sacred in the everyday, and contentment that is not based on circumstance.
6. Awareness that we are called to action
Being in an active state of surrender doesn’t pull us away from life or mute the call to action. Contemplative prayer can of course be done in our quiet space, but it is also our state of living, moving and full existence (Acts 17:28 NABRE).
The Bible is full of verses calling us to action. Carrying one another’s burdens, looking after widows, orphans and prisoners, feeding the hungry, caring for our planet, forgiving, lending when you don’t expect a return, it goes on. But none of these indicate holistic transformation if they’re not done in love. This passage sums up the whole vision for holistic transformation best in its call to love and act with daily intention.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17 ESV)
Just like surrender, love is not so much about feelings. Both require action! This passage can act as our guidepost, highlighting how far we’ve come and how much more we have available to surrender. I suspect we will never run out of things to present in surrender!
holistic transformation through surrender
Holistic transformation requires both acceptance and action; acknowledging a need for change and actualizing intentional surrender to the growth process. Surrendering to Christ is the skeleton key, with fully accessible, tangible power for unlocking holistic transformation.
Just don’t rush the process. He makes all things beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). That certainly includes you, beloved!
For more on the concepts that guide this blog, check out the About Holistic Faith page.
I find these resources supportive of a path to Holistic Transformation through Surrender to Christ.