No retreat baby and no surrender – Inspired by Bruce Springsteen

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I woke up this morning with the Bruce Springsteen song “No Surrender” bouncing down the corridors of my brain. The line “we made a promise we swore we’d always remember, no retreat baby and no surrender” grabs my attention. This line reveals the heart of someone who is all in, someone who will not settle for half-way measures. Having a goal in mind, nothing will deter him from pursuit of that goal.

While the chorus is catchy and the no surrender attitude seems praiseworthy, the song does not articulate a goal worthy of such dogged pursuit. Yet, there is in the heart of man the desire for such a pursuit. The question comes in, what is worthy of such focus and energy?

One of my favorite C. S. Lewis quotes comes from his essay entitled, “The Weight of Glory.”

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

The Apostle Paul demonstrates this attitude when he writes “I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” in Philippians 3:12. In his first letter to the Corinthians beginning in Chapter 12, Paul tells us that each believer has been given a gift or gifts from God for the purpose of building up the Church. Putting these two thoughts together it seems that the goal toward which Paul presses is the development and use of his gifts to build up the Church.

The responsibility of church leaders is to equip those in the local body to pursue what God has called them to do (see Ephesians 4:11). The responsibility of church members is to find out how God has gifted them and then find opportunities to use those gifts.

If we are pursuing depth in our relationship with God, if we are seeking to develop our gifts and put them into practice, then we are right in taking the no retreat, no surrender attitude. The goal must be worthy of the focused energy.

What goal do you think is worthy of a “no retreat” attitude?