I AM AFRAID few people know what it means to surrender to Christ. So often, in ordinary "consecration" or "dedication" services, I have wondered if those who gave the invitation knew what it meant. I wish I could express what I know, but I am sure my words are inadequate.
To surrender all means to "surrender" all. To trust God with everything is to cut loose from all responsibility or control over all and whatever concerns us. This leaves the whole matter up to God. I do not mean that one is to become passive.
That state of mind is an opening for Satan to come in and deceive. I mean that we are to have an active state of mind and will which determines that all things are for Christ, and that He is responsible for taking all we commit and seeing to it that what we have committed is, in His own way, used for His glory. From this point on we are to have no purpose other than His glory.
It may be said that there are three things we need done for us: (1) The constant cleansing from and victory over sin. (2) The shouldering of our burdens and problems and making them all turn out for our good and His glory. (3) Making our lives effective for Christ in testimony.
Now, will God, upon my surrender, assume the responsibility for all this? I have no doubt that He will. If these things are ever done, He alone must do them, for He alone can do them. This, then, is the work of the Spirit of God within us. The Holy Spirit came for this very work, and remains to perform it within. In no other way can it be done.
NOW, immediately after we cross Jordan (surrender), we come into the land of the giants. They have long possessed the strongholds outlined above. Satan, the leader of these giants, has so held sway over our lives that we have sinned against our Saviour, we have been discouraged and hindered by our burdens and problems, and we have been unable to do effective service for Christ. We are now soldiers of the Cross, bowing before our Captain and asking for orders, and looking to the challenging prospects of conquering the giants and possessing the land.
I have not space here to bring out the lessons in Joshua 6, but will indicate what is applicable here. (1) There is absolute worship of God as all in all (Joshua 5:15). (2) There is absolute oneness of purpose with God in yielding to His way without offering a single suggestion. (3) There is absolute identification with God in a public stand and demonstration. (4) There is absolute faith in the outcome of God's power, though His methods be utterly foolish and inadequate in the view of human wisdom.
This is the attitude of one who has surrendered all. Unafraid, he follows with absolute surety that it all depends on God. There is one further characteristic of the surrendered believer that is important: "All victory is in the past tense." He knows that He who leads has been all the way, knows the end as well as the beginning, and therefore, the believer has nothing to fear. As in Joshua 6:16 he can, "Shout; for the Lord HATH given you the city."
Now, if this was only a mental state with the believer, it would not be sufficient. This is in no sense Christian Science. Why? Because, while God is drawing the believer into this blessed attitude, He is also working in the believer's heart. If God failed here, all would be failure. If God failed to do anything to convict of sin and to motivate the heart of the sinner seeking salvation, when he trusts Him to save, we would all be confused. But God sees to it that what we believe shall become real, and give joy to the heart
When the sinner trusts, and believes God's Word unto justification and forgiveness, then comes sweet peace in the realization that God is true and that what He says is just that way. This state of mind brings a vision of the goodness of God, and we are constrained to love Him and to do His will. So, when the believer sees that God has done so much more as to give him the victory in all things, and when by God's Word we are made to see that all this great blessing is ours, we are given a vision of God which makes Him shine as the Sun of our whole being, and our affections are torn from everything else and centered in Him.
Thus is set up the unhindered connection between us and our Father through which His great life flows into us, and thus victory over sin, victory in sorrow and trial, and effectiveness of life begins to be the fruitage.
PERHAPS the reader visualizes now a life of quiet, undisturbed, uneventful peace with God, a rest from our labors and a relief from strife. If so, this is a great mistake. The warfare now begins in earnest. We are separated from the world, Spirit-possessed and controlled, blended with the purposes of God, and with militant step have started out to "possess the land." The war, for us, has just begun.
Satan does not give us up so easily. He will hold every foot of ground he can, and by never so awful a struggle. God is dwelling within us, and has our will to possess us. Satan is driving his darts at God. The war is between God and the Devil, and it is on within us. We shall now be subject to every fiery dart that Satan can fling at us. And so, trouble may begin here as we have never before known.
There will likely be greater temptation than we have ever had. Alluring things never before shown us will be ours for the taking now. Opportunities to sin which were once only vague imaginations will become realities. The test will be greater than ever before. It is possible that, for the moment, we shall yield to sin. But if we do, there will come that rebuke of the Spirit who has taken possession, and in penitence and shame we shall confess to God our weakness.
He will assure us of forgiveness, but may show that He permitted this failure to keep us constantly dependent on Him. He will use everything that happens to us for some good. He will relieve us from worry about sins by showing us in His Word, His complete forgiveness. Such goodness will flood our souls with an ever-increasing appreciation of our Father, and we shall find ourselves co-operating with God in everything to put down sin.
With this will come increasing understanding of sin. We will find that never before have we seemed so utterly sinful and inadequate. Sins we never saw before will be revealed, until we see the utter foolishness of trying to master sin ourselves. This drives us to that complete dependence on God which enables Him to perform His purifying work. Sorrows and trials will be used to purify us, and to make sin distasteful. HE will do it, in His own way.
Sorrows may come upon you as never before. Unbelievable things, things you never thought could happen to you. may come upon you. More than your share of burdens, undeserved trials, may come. The question "Why?" will constantly arise. Job's advisers will be around to comfort you and explain your difficulties. You will be able to see at once the utter inadequacy of their understanding.
You will probably be misunderstood, called "cranky" and "fanatical." They will give you good logic, but you know something they do not know, and something you cannot explain to them. You will find yourself "in the world, but not of it." Even organized religion will pity you, and try to "straighten you out" and get you "lined up " But you will see and discern the "fleshliness" with which we are doing so much of our "church work" and you will be unsatisfied with results and methods.
AS TO your effectiveness in service, your experience will likely be individual. Some have had a great inrush of God's power; others have just had calm faith. The latter was the experience of the writer. But there was noticeable an increasing tenderness of heart, increasing tolerance and love and understanding for others, and a drawing, tender love of God coming into the soul. The Word began to be richer and more necessary to an increasing spiritual appetite.
You may expect God to make you powerful to lay the axe to the root of the tree, to sweep congregations in a spectacular way; to give power to "put over" big things for Him. He may show you that this is the flesh desiring to be conspicuous, (though in your heart you may be humble), and that what you are striving to "make effective" He is trying to put to death. Instead of becoming more powerful and more spectacular, you may be decreasing while He is increasing. You may be less and less commended for your brilliance, or talent, or ability of leadership. You may be urged by undiscerning to assert your abilities more. But it will be best to leave that to God, and believe.
You may note, however, a burning desire to press the enemy, to attack sin with boldness. Burden for the lost will increase. People will see you taking stands and love you intensely or draw lines about you.
You will become less popular at luncheon clubs and more popular in the sick room. Your message or testimony will seem to feed hungry hearts. Yet, people generally may notice about you that [which] is spectacular or unusual. More and more you may decrease while He increases.
You will discover that you are walking with God, and that by the simple trend of circumstances He is placing yon in the mystic battle where principalities and powers are engaged.
Good books, the right books, will fall into your hand at the right time. You will be conscious of walking with God through the world, but with purposes connecting you with eternity. The world about you cannot know what you are doing, except as the Spirit may reveal it to those whom God convicts, and you will become "unworldly" in your personality. Yet, you may find a power in your life that makes you useful to those in need of spiritual help.
SOON you will be settled in the conviction that you have crossed Jordan and have met the giants. You are now a soldier of the Cross, following your Leader to battle. Nothing about you matters any longer; only that which concerns Him. You will march around the walls, blow the trumpet of the Gospel witness to your Saviour, and you will taste victory.
You may find yourself saying: "The giants who inhabit this land will not surrender it without a struggle. They have loosed their wrath upon me. I am tempted now more than ever, but the Spirit giveth the victory. I still have sin; but it does not have dominion. I am beset now by sorrow and trial more than ever. Sharp lines are drawn about me, and I must take my stand again and again. The unspiritual world declares my tactics to be crude and awkward, and they are daily predicting my downfall. According to all worldly analyses I should go down. I take stands which I ordinarily do not have courage to take; I speak words which amaze me with their boldness. Yet I am not spectacular. It must be the Lord."
Sometimes in this great battle even the Lord may seem to have forgotten. We pray, but He does not answer as we pray. Then you can hear Him saying: "Can you believe, even when I do not answer your prayers as you pray them?" And, if you have surrendered all, you can still believe. You can stand in the midst of wreckage where everything dear to you has fallen from under you, and with Abraham, believe, though it looks impossible. You can stand by a grave where your hopes are so dead that they are decaying, and yet believe.
Thus you will learn, when all else has perished but your faith, that FAITH IS THE VICTORY. There will be no great... [to be completed].
[From Western Recorder, February 13, 1941. pp. 10-11. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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