Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | January 27, 2010

Day 10: The Heart of Worship is Surrender

This was a deep day. I had the 2nd day off in a row then it’s back to work, so the day was spent in quiet contemplation and exercise and tai chi…and day 10 of Rick Warren’s book.

The heart of worship is surrender. Yielding, submitting, obeying, and surrendering(much like giving yourself over to a tai chi master to learn kung fu–you don’t argue with the guy, you put all your trust in him and listen and do what he says because you know in the end it’s good for you).

Warren says three things act as barriers to surrender: fear, pride, confusion. This concept could have been taken directly out of the I Ching. In tai chi, and in Christ, surrender is not giving up or running away or allowing yourself to be trampled upon. It is letting the process take its course without interference from the ego. Warren says the greatest hindrence to God’s blessings is yourself–self will, stubborn pride, and personal ambitions.

Can I trust God enough to put myself in his hands? I can if I believe he created me in his image and likeness and loves me infinitely more than I can imagine. Warren quotes C.S. Lewis: “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become–because he made us.”

Warren: “You are surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. You let go and let God work.”

God uses surrendered people.

“Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything.”

Those last two statements are very powerful. I took the meaning of the word “mastered” in it’s common christian sense, and in the martial art sense–would I be willing to accept Christ as my Sifu, my teacher, my master, give him the same respect and love we give to our sifus, masters, senseis in the dojos?

Warren’s question: What areas of my life am I holding back from God?



  1. Excellent question. I re-read the chapter; Warren uses the term confusion in the context that most people misunderstand the concept of surrender, hence his explanation of trust. If we take the term confusion further as a barrier to true surrender, I think it leads us to a discussion of discernment, one of Mike Murdoch’s favorite terms, and a term often used in the church as regards vocation–in either case, or in any case, discernment requires a certain amount of wisdom, and an ability to “discern difference.” How does one develop the ability to discern wisely or to make a decision in the midst of confusion? I think that’s where the entire practice of contemplative tai chi chuan comes in–sitting in silence, practicing tai chi, learning how to remain centered in the midst of chaos, learning how to act with wu wei–non doing, that isnot acting out of the ego. This is probably the more important question, regarding confusion, because it’s the issue most of us face on a daily basis. In time, a tai chi person ceases to ask himself should I do this or that, he allows his intuitiveness to guide him. And as you and I know, sometimes intuition leads us down what may seem like a wrong path, leading to some possible further confusion, but we also learn to trust ourselves, trust our training, trust the process, and, if you believe, trust in God…

  2. “Warren says three things act as barriers to surrender: fear, pride, confusion.”

    I find fear and pride, once recognized as such, fairly easy to overcome most of the time. But do you or Warren or the I Ching have any insights on dealing with confusion? That barrier is more comprehensive than fear and pride. With fear or pride, I may know what needs to be done (I know what particular form surrender needs to take), it’s just a matter of overcoming the fearful/ prideful barriers and doing it. With confusion I ~don’t~ know what needs to be done, because I am confused. How does one escape from such a trap?

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