From Steps to Christ, 47, we read: “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.” This is the condition we are in! Mrs. White continues, “Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. . . . What you need to understand is the true force of the will. [Now, again, this is not talking about willpower.] . . . Everything depends on the right action of the will.”
What is the right action of the will? This is what we want to know. We do know it is not willpower.
“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. . . .
“Desires for goodness and holiness are right as 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.” Ibid., 47, 48.
We keep seeing that we need to yield the will, but we have not found out how. We are going to find out how shortly. Continuing on with this quote, it says,
“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.” Ibid., 48.
This is a good promise, but we still do not know how to do it.
Take My Heart
The next Spirit of Prophecy quote is based on the story of two worshippers, as recorded in Luke 18:9–14. You remember that the Pharisee said, “Well, I am glad I am not like that character,” referring to the publican. But the publican beat on his chest and said, “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.” Mrs. White says, “The prayer of the publican was heard because it showed dependence reaching forth to lay hold upon Omnipotence. Self to the publican appeared nothing but shame. Thus it must be seen by all who seek God. By faith—faith that renounces all self-trust—the needy suppliant is to lay hold upon infinite power.
“No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159.
How to Surrender
Is this not a real problem? You have to be emptied of self, but it says that no man can do it. Now we are going to find out how to surrender.
“We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work.” Ibid. What does consent mean? It means, “to give permission.” If you go into the hospital for surgery, you give the doctor permission to cut your body. You sign a consent form.
Then, she tells us exactly how to give that permission; she even gives us the words to say: “Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.” Ibid.
In other words, you need to tell the Lord, “I want You to take my heart, my will. I cannot give you my heart, but I am giving You permission to come in and take it. Take my heart and purify it. Bring it into harmony with Your will. Then, after You clean it up for me, do not just give it back to me, because I will just mess it up again. You will have to keep it for me too.”
When you decide to surrender your heart, your will, to God, you need to do so verbally, first thing in the morning. Now, you can do it all day long. You can send up silent prayers every time you run into a temptation or a problem or see anything that needs correcting. You can just tell Him, “Take my will, right now.” You can do that silently, but at least once a day, in the morning, you need to say it verbally, out loud, so the whole on-looking universe can hear you give God that permission. There are rules to the great controversy, and one of the rules is that supernatural powers cannot intervene in human affairs without being given permission. You need to give permission. This prayer is a legal contract between you and God, and the whole universe needs to hear and see it happen.
Step by Step
“It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely.” Ibid., 159, 160.
“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. . . . Sin will become hateful to us.” The Desire of Ages, 668.
Is this not what you want?
Satan’s Control Broken
“There were many in Christ’s day, as there are today, over whom the control of Satan for the time seemed broken; through the grace of God they were set free from the evil spirits that had held dominion over the soul. They rejoiced in the love of God; but, like the stony-ground hearers of the parable, they did not abide in His love. They did not surrender themselves to God daily. . . .
“When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world.” Ibid., 323, 324.
Job is a good example of this. The representatives from the different worlds came together for a council meeting. When God called the roll and said, “Earth,” Satan answered, “Here.” He had taken dominion of the world when Adam and Eve sinned. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Job 1:7, 8.
“Have you considered My servant Job?” God asked. “He is down there walking around in your kingdom, in your territory, but he is not one of your subjects. He is one of Mine. You do not have any authority in his heart; he is surrendered to Me.” This is the way you and I are to be. Job was a branch office of the kingdom of heaven.
When God shows you something in your life that needs to be corrected, do not argue with Him. Do not rebel against Him. Do not ignore Him. Do not start using your willpower or using your human strength. Give Him your will. Surrender it to Him, so He can change it. After you have surrendered, then use it. That is when you make an effort, and God supplies His power, and right where the two come together is a point of victory—His power and your effort combined. You need to surrender your will and learn to cooperate with Him. You need to learn how to work with Him.
Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The good news is that you can be loyal and faithful to God, just as was Job. The good news of the kingdom is the kingdom of God within you, where Christ has complete and total control and authority. This needs to be preached in all the world, so people can decide in which kingdom they want to be.
If it is your desire to be part of God’s kingdom and quit trying to stand with one foot in Satan’s kingdom and the other foot in God’s kingdom, ask Him to help you to surrender your will totally and completely to Him today.