Are You Surrendered to God’s Will?

During the past few months my wife and I have been faced with a matter of knowing the will of God in a certain area of our lives.  We have not been praying the Lord to give us some general idea, but that He would show us very specifically what His will is, and then give us a heart that is willing to obey whatever it may be.

I am sure that most Christians, when asked if they want to know and follow God’s will for them, would respond positively.  I am just as convinced, however, that not nearly as many are willing to surrender in obedience to God’s will as the Bible says we must, and that is the real issue.

What does it mean to be wholly submissive and totally yielded to the will of God? There can be no better example of what total submission means than to hear the very words of our Saviour praying in agony of soul, while sweating drops of blood in Gethsemane as He faced the ordeal of the cross.

“Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done,” He prayed to the Father. I need not remind you that this was no little matter. What lay before our Lord was nothing less than the greatest sacrifice this universe will ever witness, under the greatest agony of body, soul and spirit, as the holy Son of God would take on Himself the sins of His people, and pay the full price. He must do this, not just suffering the wrath of His own Father, but also being utterly abandoned and forsaken by Him during His hour of greatest trial.

It was with all this before Him, He prayed in full submission to the Father’s will, “Not mine, but Thine be done”. That is what full surrender is. Not surrender to God on my terms, but on His. Did you know that this is the essence of living the Christian life? Willingly giving up all my claims to my life and asking the Lord to choose for me whatever He wants - and then obeying Him with gladness!

The world can never understand this, and the mere professing Christian will never understand it, but it is the place that we must come to if we would be followers of Jesus Christ.  Remember, He said to His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mathew 16:24, 25)

Absolute surrender means more than just getting our wills into line with God’s. It means having no will of my own in regard to the matter that I am seeking guidance on. George Mueller’s first point in how to ascertain the will of God was to “seek at the beginning to get (his) heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter”. He went on to say, “Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.”

Perhaps one of the best expressions of surrender to the will of God is to be found in the words of the hymn by Horatius Bonar, “Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord”. As you read the words, can you honestly make them your prayer? If you are going to be a true disciple (Christian), there is no option. Read them prayerfully and ask the Lord to give you a heart that can say, “Not my will, but Thine be done!”

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So I shall walk aright.

Take Thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem;
Choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health;
Choose Thou my cares for me
My poverty or wealth.

The kingdom that I seek
Is Thine: so let the way
That leads to it be Thine,
Else I must surely stray.

Not mine, not mine the choice
In things or great or small;
Be Thou my guide, my strength
My wisdom, and my all.

7 thoughts on “Are You Surrendered to God’s Will?

  1. Singular

    The last chapter of Eccesiastes sums up the whole duty of man as to FEAR GOD and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS which includes opposing evil.

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  2. Pastor Chris Cousine

    One of the most surprising things that I have encountered in ministry has been people's infatuation with "God's will" in their lives, speaking about God's determinative will, but largely are ignorant of God's prescriptive will. It almost becomes some pagan or mystical experience in which they are trying to read the proverbial tea leaves to understand what it is God wants. This is frustrating as a pastor trying to counsel those of this mindset. They need to read and understand their bible in order to figure out God's prescriptive will for their lives, yet because it isn't the 'sexy' option, they instead keep reaching for the more glamorous tea leaf reading, trying desperately to search and guess the mind of God for their lives.

    Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Post author

      You are so right. Too many are simply trying to "figure out" God's will, while at the same time remaining either willfully ignorant, or disobedient to the will of God as revealed in His Word.
      A good example of obedience to the clear commandments of God is seen in the interaction between God and Abraham in Genesis 18:17-19.
      And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
      Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
      For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
      Sadly, too many Christians leaders equate obedience with legalism, and too many Christians are willing to accept that falsehood.

      Reply
  3. Doug Stanley

    Jonathan:

    Many thanks.

    I really appreciate that encouragement at this time of my life.
    It's Evelyn's and my 49th Anniversary today , and we have also had many challenges, especially, this past year.
    Your friendship and encouragement have helped us immensely since first meeting you.
    I wish only the best for you and yours.
    Have a great day.

    Your friend.
    Doug

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  4. Mary S.

    Thanks for your article on Surrendering to God's will. We face this issue at many junctures in our lives. I think of my coming to know the Lord when I was in college. My big hang-up was having already made an outline for my life. At the point when attending a Bible study brought me face to face with the fact of my sinfulness the Lord threw the challenge of being a missionary across my path. The battle went on for most of a year until the Lord in His mysterious way simply shattered my resistance to His call. The very next day He brought me to the place of surrender of my will and ideas and I was saved. Within 7 months I met my future husband. But it took some 3 years before I could be persuaded that marrying him was the Lord's will, not simply mine.
    One verse that speaks strongly to me is Isaiah 30:21. To me it says the Lord is faithful to speak to us when we tend to wander from His will into ours. My late husband always said that if you are trying to move in some direction and have no peace about it, then stop and ask the Lord for the wisdom He promises to give when we ask. For me a big milestone was reached when I understood that God is sovereign and I must be walking in the Spirit not in the flesh. (Gal 3:3). Possibly you are familiar with the poem I will copy below. Thanks for keeping in touch.
    In His all sufficient love and grace, Mary

    IN ACCEPTANCE LIETH PEACE

    He said, "I will forget the dying faces;
    The empty places
    O voices moaning deep within me, cease."
    But vain the word; vain, vain:
    Not in forgetting lieth peace.

    He said, "I will crowd action upon action;
    The strife of faction
    Shall stir me and sustain.
    O tears that drown the fire of manhood, cease."
    But vain the word; vain, vain:
    Not in endeavor lieth peace.

    He said, "I will withdraw me and be quiet;
    Why meddle in life's riot:
    Shut be my door to pain.
    Desire, thou dost befool me; thou shalt cease."
    But vain the word; vain, vain:
    Not in aloofness lieth peace.

    He said, "I will submit; I am defeated.
    God hath depleted
    My life of its rich gain.
    O futile murmerings, why will ye not cease?"
    But vain the word; vain, vain:
    Not in submission lieth peace.

    He said, "I will accept the breaking sorrow
    Which God tomorrow
    Will to His son explain."
    Then did the turmoil deep within him cease.
    Not vain the word, not vain;
    For in acceptance lieth peace.
    Amy Carmichael

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  5. I have known a few Christians who seem paralyzed through indecision about whether to do this or that. They express a desire to do a thing but are fearful they may be taking a course away from the will of God e.g. taking a job offer in a distant city. If any decision would negatively impact on one's spiritual walk with God, then the choice to act or not act should be obvious. But sometimes there are no perceived negatives in deciding either way. What should one then do?

    There is no easy answer. But as a guide, the absence of any Scripture forbidding such action means there is at least the possibility of proceeding. The approach to any important decision should be taken slowly and prayerfully in the recognition that God is never in a hurry. If God wills us to make an important decision, it will not be presented as something to do hurriedly (unless of course, there is a dangerous situation that must be avoided). If husbands and wives will pray things through together they should arrive at an agreement as to what decision is taken. Married couples should agree; and if they don't agree, then they should not act. But if they disagree and God wills them to act, then He will begin to work to change the mind of the one who is clearly out of His will.

    Deciding on a course of action may sometimes prove more difficult for the single person who has no spouse for support. Their decision rests with themselves -- "the buck stops here." If after prayerful consideration there is no clear direction, then it is best to follow one's heart desire(s) in the recognition that God's will and desire for us (who trust Him) eventually become our desires cf. Job 23:13,14 ; Psalm 37:4 . If we have certain longings and they are clearly not sinful, we should be confident that God has given them to us to act on.

    In the leading of the Holy Spirit, doors will open up and others will close, according to His will. And we need not be fearful of making moves that may result in trials because trials are meant by God to teach us things cf. Eccl. 7:13 ; Rom. 5:3,4. The Lord is sovereign over every situation and we are to rest in that certainty.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Post author

      Some very good thoughts, Rick. Thanks.

      We have found the book by Dr. Peter Masters, “Steps For Guidance” one of the best things in writing for this matter. I highly recommend it.

      Reply

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