God's promise is, "Ye shall seek
Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah
The whole heart must be yielded to God,
or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His
likeness. By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our
condition in such words as these: "Dead in trespasses and sins;"
"the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint;" "no
soundness in it." We are held fast in the snare of Satan, "taken
captive by him at his will." Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26.
God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire
transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly
The warfare against self is the
greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to
the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it
can be renewed in holiness.
The government of God is not, as Satan
would make it appear, founded upon a blind submission, an unreasoning control.
It appeals to the intellect and the conscience. "Come now, and let us
reason together" is the Creator's invitation to the beings He has made.
Isaiah 1:18. God does not force the will of His creatures. He cannot accept an
homage that is not willingly and intelligently given. A mere forced submission
would prevent all real development of mind
or character; it would make man a mere
automaton. Such is not the purpose of the Creator. He desires that man, the
crowning work of His creative power, shall reach the highest possible
development. He sets before us the height of blessing to which He desires to
bring us through His grace. He invites us to give ourselves to Him, that He may
work His will in us. It remains for us to choose whether we will be set free
from the bondage of sin, to share the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
In giving ourselves to God, we must
necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him. Hence the Saviour says,
"Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be
My disciple." Luke 14:33. Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must
be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for
wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly
honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from
responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We
cannot be half the Lord's and half the world's. We are not God's children unless
we are such entirely.
There are those who profess to serve
God, while they rely upon their own efforts to obey His law, to form a right
character, and secure salvation. Their hearts are not moved by any deep sense of
the love of Christ, but they seek to perform the duties of the Christian life as
that which God requires of them in order to gain heaven. Such religion is worth
nothing. When Christ dwells in the heart, the soul will
be so filled with His love, with the
joy of communion with Him, that it will cleave to Him; and in the contemplation
of Him, self will be forgotten. Love to Christ will be the spring of action.
Those who feel the constraining love of God, do not ask how little may be given
to meet the requirements of God; they do not ask for the lowest standard, but
aim at perfect conformity to the will of their Redeemer. With earnest desire
they yield all and manifest an interest proportionate to the value of the object
which they seek. A profession of Christ without this deep love is mere talk, dry
formality, and heavy drudgery.
Do you feel that it is too great a
sacrifice to yield all to Christ? Ask yourself the question, "What has
Christ given for me?" The Son of God gave all--life and love and
suffering--for our redemption. And can it be that we, the unworthy objects of so
great love, will withhold our hearts from Him? Every moment of our lives we have
been partakers of the blessings of His grace, and for this very reason we cannot
fully realize the depths of ignorance and misery from which we have been saved.
Can we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced, and yet be willing to do
despite to all His love and sacrifice? In view of the infinite humiliation of
the Lord of glory, shall we murmur because we can enter into life only through
conflict and self-abasement?
The inquiry of many a proud heart is,
"Why need I go in penitence and humiliation before I can have the assurance
of my acceptance with God?" I point you to Christ. He was sinless, and,
more than this, He was the Prince of heaven; but in man's
behalf He became sin for the race.
"He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and
made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:12.
But what do we give up, when we give
all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and
to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am
ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it.
God does not require us to give up
anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has
the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen
Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they
are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to
his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy
can be found in the path forbidden by Him who knows what is best and who plans
for the good of His creatures. The path of transgression is the path of misery
It is a mistake to entertain the
thought that God is pleased to see His children suffer. All heaven is interested
in the happiness of man. Our heavenly Father does not close the avenues of joy
to any of His creatures. The divine requirements call upon us to shun those
indulgences that would bring suffering and disappointment, that would close to
us the door of happiness and heaven. The world's Redeemer accepts men as they
are, with all their wants, imperfections, and weaknesses; and He will not only
cleanse from sin and grant redemption through His blood, but
will satisfy the heart-longing of all
who consent to wear His yoke, to bear His burden. It is His purpose to impart
peace and rest to all who come to Him for the bread of life. He requires us to
perform only those duties that will lead our steps to heights of bliss to which
the disobedient can never attain. The true, joyous life of the soul is to have
Christ formed within, the hope of glory.
Many are inquiring, "How am I to
make the surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him,
but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the
habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of
sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The
knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence
in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but
you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will.
This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of
choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice
God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart,
you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve
Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do
according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the
control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your
thoughts will be in harmony with Him.
Desires for goodness and holiness are
far as they go; but if you stop here,
they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be
Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do
not now choose to be Christians.
Through the right exercise of the will,
an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ,
you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers.
You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through
constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the
life of faith.