How many military victories have been obtained by surrender? To the best of my knowledge—none. Traditionally, the nation represented by the military force that surrenders gets the lesser end of the terms laid out by their adversary. In extreme cases, they forfeit all they have and become slaves to the ones they have surrendered to.
On a personal level the same is true. If there is strife and enmity between two people, they will strive against one another in whatever manner they have chosen. Office politics—whoever wins the boss’s favor, through whatever underhanded method was chosen, will make the terms and his adversary will fall in line—or else. Take your pick of any number of scenarios where people strive against one another. The loser always suffers loss, and the winner gloats, and makes stringent terms of some kind.
This is our natural perception of surrender. But in the supernatural it is not so straightforward. If we are in an unregenerate state of being—that is to say, before spiritual birth, or being born again—we are in a very bad position. You might say, well that is obvious. But I am referring to more than the obvious.
What I mean is that we have more than one enemy at this point. At this point we are enemies of God, and even though it may not appear that way, we are enemies of Satan as well. Not a good position to be in. We are in enmity with God since we are rebelling against His plan and design for our lives, and we are enemies of Satan simply because we exist and are made in the image of our Creator.
In this state we have already surrendered to the enemy of our souls, and as we expect with our natural knowledge of surrender, he makes slaves of us in various ways and makes tough terms in general. We think this is what surrender is, and there is no other form of it.
But the fact that God does not completely destroy us while we are in this state, should be indication enough that His is a different case. When we come to Him in surrender—tired of striving with Him and seeing that our options are few—He does what we would never think of doing for our own enemies in our natural state: He throws His rights as a victor by the way side, and gives us full citizenship to His heavenly kingdom.
It doesn’t stop there. He adopts us into His family, clothes us with righteousness, and arms us with all we need to walk in complete victory against our only remaining adversary. What amazing Grace! And it’s all by His strength. All the self empowerment we hear about these days is a heap of rubbish—there is only God empowerment on the path of true victory.