Submission to surrender

Act of war

Recently I changed the image that I use for verse references in the category of My mouth, my marriage.  BD (userdand) noticed and commented that he liked it, to which I responded:

I find it’s the perfect blend of surrendered wife meets spiritual warrior.”

BD’s response prompted the writing of this post:

“I noticed a subtle use of wording there. I am thinking you do not see them as synonymous, but different sides of the same coin and would be interested in hearing how you feel surrender is complementary to submission.”

He is correct in his observation:  Submission and surrender are different sides of the same coin.

Both English words originate from the same word:  hypotasso.  However, in our English translation it depends on the subtleties of context.  Although grammatically wrong, the words flowed better to capture my meaning.   She becomes a surrendered warrior because of who she is – she is submissive.

Submissive is a WHO, Surrendered is a DO

I’ve used one as an adjective the other a verb.  I am a submissive wife that is able to surrender.  The sentence could be reversed:  I am a surrendered wife that submits.  But this order clouds my understanding because that’s not how God taught it to me.

See the distinction in Jesus

Jesus had an attitude of submission evidenced by His conversation in the garden with His Father. His surrendered heart is demonstrated by the act of following through and being crucified.  The submissive spirit in discussions with God about the execution wasn’t what defeated the enemy, it was the act of surrender:  being executed.  The power of God resurrecting Jesus was the finale in the defeat of Satan.  But without Jesus’ act of surrendering to death, there would have been no resurrection.

The act of surrender is covert

Satan wanted Jesus dead, he’d tried numerous times and in many ways to achieve that goal.  Charles Spurgeon has a great sermon on this you can read it here.  Satan believed that he’d won when he succeeded with the execution of Christ, because on the surface of things, it appeared that Jesus was dead.  But what Satan couldn’t see was the outcome of the act of surrender:  The Resurrection.

Satan knew that Jesus was the Son of God and he also knew that Jesus was going to be executed.  The part that was covert was God’s plan to resurrect Jesus.  God already had the win as soon as Jesus surrendered.


Satan sees who we are and what we are doing; but he cannot see the finale that God has planned to complete our acts of surrender.

Jesus’ act of surrender with the cross looked counter-intuitive to the world’s idea of winning, which is Satan’s perspective.  Surrendering appears to be a loss where the world is concerned – but in the spiritual war it’s the opposite.

It always come back the war

It’s like the military:  They train for action at home base.  Then there is deployment, the act of being at war.  Same division of men with the same ultimate purpose, but different setting and different goal.

Submission is the temperature of the relationship, it’s more of a training ground.  Surrender is the way I act out my submission when Satan attacks me.  Every act of surrender is a sword thrust to Satan.

It is in the moment of surrender that the submissive wife becomes the ultimate warrior in the hands of the LORD.



  1. Hi Robyn, when you say “…because thats not how God taught it to me”, what do you mean exactly? Do you mean you learned this from the Bible, through prayer, or you have a direct line to God 🙂 Curious, Bruce

    1. Hi there Bruce, yes, I learned it from the Bible by studying it academically and experiencing the fruit of change and growth as it’s lived out. Also through the Bible by prayer and meditation and again, experiencing the fruit of change and growth as it’s lived out.

      My direct line to God is no more or less than any other disciple of Christ.

  2. Surrendered is a word I’ve used to describe my life and relationship with Christ for at least 6 years, but I’ve never thought of it in regards to my marriage. But your description makes me see that it is applicable to my marriage, at least in the past several months.

    Who would guess that the act of surrendering into the hands of our Father would have such a positive impact on my marriage, and even make it possible for this strong-willed, obstinate woman able to surrender and submit to her husband.

    God is good… who else can take one “little” act and use it so magnificently that we won’t even see the full effect this side of heaven. This brings me to my knees in praise of His grace and mercy.

    Be blessed for sharing.

    1. “God is good… who else can take one “little” act and use it so magnificently that we won’t even see the full effect this side of heaven. This brings me to my knees in praise of His grace and mercy.”

      Janna – that was beautifully stated!!

  3. I read it but I need to contemplate what I read before commenting and my mind is joyfully elsewhere, you know. Such a guy. It’s what we do. ;-P

  4. I still need to dwell more upon this. I have a Food Network taping for 2 12hr days starting Sunday so I am running behind. I will say I think it is interesting that I have hardly ever hear surrender used in church when the topic of submission comes up. The most I ever hear about surrender is when the song I Surrender All is played. It does seem you cannot have complete submission without surrender though. Without surrender you have only intent unto submission; a form of involvement without commitment. I’ll stop now before I say something ill-considered and have to recant later.

    1. Too true. It’s sad. The singing about surrendering all, contrasted against the current divorce stats – it just doesn’t square off does it? To quote Percival C. McLeach, “I smell a big fat rat.”

      (yeah, by now you’ve figured out that I watch a lot of kids movies) 🙂

  5. “Surrendering appears to be a loss where the world is concerned – but in the spiritual war it’s the opposite.” So well said!

    I’m late in reading and commenting on this. My feed reader backlog is ridiculous. I agree that submission and surrender are different, if by subtleties. Since you read and commented on my “Surrender Surprise” post, you might recall the literal old-French root of the word surrender is “sur” (over and above) and “render” (to give, to abandon oneself to). In that sense I think surrender goes beyond submission.

    Also to me, I see surrender as applying to both husband and wife. Submission more so to a wife.

    1. Sometimes my backlog of reading is crazy too!

      Yes! I loved that post of yours on “Surrender Surprise.” It was interesting to learn the meaning of that French word ‘render’ (to abandon oneself to). I also believe that surrender goes beyond submission- it seems to me that it’s more powerful.

      I don’t know that surrender should be a standard application or a requirement for a husband. But sometimes it’s necessary for a husband to surrender to a wife when she’s too immature to submit for the sake of unity.

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