The Power Of A Surrendered Will
By R. A. Torrey
"Power belongeth unto God" (Psa. 62:11), but there is one condition upon which that power is bestowed upon us – that is absolute surrender to Him.
"Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Rom. 6:13).
Again in Romans 6:22 we read, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
The great secret of blessedness and power is found in these verses. "Yield yourselves unto God" – the whole secret is found in those words. The word translated "yield" in the Authorized Version is rendered "present" in the Revised Version. It means to put at one’s disposal. "Put yourselves at God’s disposal" is the thought. In other words, surrender yourselves absolutely to God, to be His property, for Him to do with you what He will, and use you as He will.
If anyone asks, "What is the one thing for me to do if I wish to know all that God has for me?" the answer is very simple. Surrender absolutely to God. Say to Him, "Heavenly Father, henceforth I have no will of my own. Thy will be done in me, through me, by me, and regarding me, in all things. I put myself unreservedly in Thy hands – now do with me just what Thou wilt." When one does that, God, Who is infinite love, and infinite wisdom, and infinite power, does the very best thing with that one.
A Surrendered Will Brings Knowledge of Truth
Knowledge of the truth comes with surrender of the will. "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching…" (John 7:17). Nothing so clears the spiritual vision as surrender to the will of God. "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Surrender to Him opens our eyes to the light which He Himself is. It brings us at once into harmony with all truth.
Nothing so blinds the spiritual vision as self-will or sin. I have seen questions which bothered men for years solved in a very short time when those men simply surrendered to God. What was dark as night before has become light as day.
"If therefore thine eye be single," says Jesus, "thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness…" (Matt. 6:22-23).
A surrendered life and will is the secret of light and knowledge. Many a man has confided to me how he was wandering in the dark, not knowing what he believed, and not quite sure if he believed anything. To such I have put the questions: "Will you surrender your will to God? Will you give yourself up to God, for Him to do what He will with you?" And not a single one who has done it but has soon said, "My doubts are gone, my uncertainties have gone, my darkness is gone. It is all light now."
A Surrendered Will Brings Power in Prayer
The next result of a surrendered will and life is power in prayer. The greatest secret of prevailing prayer is that which John records from his own joyous experience in 1 John 3:22:
"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight."
Note those wonderful words, "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him." Think of it! Not one prayer, great or small, that fails to get what is sought. Then note the reason: "Because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." A life entirely surrendered to the doing of God’s will as revealed in His Word, and to doing the things that are pleasing in His sight – a life wholly surrendered to God’s will and pleasure, a life wholly at God’s disposal – this is the secret of prevailing prayer.
Do you ask why you do not get what you ask, why you cannot say like John, "Whatsoever I ask I get?" It is not because he was an apostle and you are just an everyday Christian. It was because he could say, "I keep His commandments, and do those things (and them only) which are pleasing in His sight." And you cannot say that. It was because his life was entirely surrendered to God, and yours is not.
There are many people greatly puzzled because their prayers never seem to reach the ear of God, but fall back powerless to earth. There is no mystery about it. It is because you have not met the one great fundamental condition of prevailing prayer – a surrendered will, a surrendered life.
It is when we make God’s will ours that He makes our will His. "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Psa. 37:4).
Jesus said to the Father, "Thou hearest Me always" (John 11:42). But why? "Oh," you say, "because He was His only begotten Son." Not at all, but because Jesus could say, "I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me" (John 6:38). And again, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me..." (John 4:34). And again, "Lo, I come...to do Thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:7).
A surrendered will and a surrendered life is the great secret of prevailing prayer. George Müller perhaps stands out as one man who, above all others has wrought things by prayer. Why? Because many years ago he set out to be and do just what God would have him to be and to do, and to daily and deeply ponder God’s Word that he might know His will. He yielded himself to God. There is not one of us who cannot become a mighty prince of God if we will do the same thing.
A Surrendered Will Brings Fullness of Joy
The next result of a surrendered will is a heart overflowing with joy. In the face of awful trial and agony through which He was to pass, Jesus said to His disciples:
"If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:10-11).
Jesus had found joy in keeping His Father’s commandments, by complete surrender to His will, and now, if they would follow on in that path, His joy would be in them, and their joy would be "fulfilled," or filled full. This is the only way to find fullness of joy – complete, unconditional surrender to God. "Yield yourselves unto God." There is no very great measure of joy in a half-hearted Christian life.
Many so-called Christians have just enough religion to make them miserable. They can no longer enjoy the world, and they have not entered into the "joy of the Lord." There they stand, deprived of the "leeks and the onions and the garlic" of Egypt, and without the milk and honey and the finest of the wheat of Canaan. That is a wretched place to be in. The way out is simple, absolute surrender to God. Then your joy will be fulfilled.
I have known so many who have entered into this fullness of joy. Sometimes it has been after a great struggle. They were so afraid to yield absolutely to God, so afraid to say: "O God, I put myself unreservedly into Thy hands. Do with me what You please."
They were afraid God would ask some hard thing, afraid God might whisper "China," "India," or "Africa," and sometimes He has. Sometimes there has been what to the world seemed great sacrifice, the giving up of cherished ambitions, the giving up of those dearly loved, the giving up of very much money, perhaps all one had. But there has been joy, joy "fulfilled," joy filled full.
In one case I have in mind there was great pain, as one lay upon his back with a broken leg in a cast, but there was joy, such overflowing joy that the sufferer lay there with dancing eyes and radiant face and throbbing heart shouting, "Glory, glory, glory!"
There is but one way to find that fullness of joy – a surrendered life. A will and life completely surrendered to the God of love will bring joy under all circumstances. In the olden days one who was thus surrendered to God was led out to be burned at the stake, and he threw his arms around the stake, and cried out, "Welcome, cross of Christ! Welcome eternal life!"
A Surrendered Will Brings Christ to Us
The next result of a surrendered life is Christ manifesting Himself to us. On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, He said to His disciples:
"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21).
A surrender of self to Christ brings Christ to us. The full manifestation of Jesus lies, it is true, in that future glad day when "the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…" (1 Thes. 4:16). But there is a present manifestation of Jesus to us now, when the Son and the Father come to us and make Their abode with us (John 14:23).
He will manifest Himself to us. "I do not know what that means," some will say. Have you yielded yourself to Him, are you keeping His commandments, not asking which commandment is great and which is small, which is important, and which is unimportant, but only asking which commandment is His, and keeping that? If you are, you will know what it is to have Him manifest Himself to you, and that is joy.
We are told in one place, "Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord" (John 20:20). You will be glad, when you see the Lord, and you will see Him when you go to Him and say: "I will surrender my life absolutely to Thee, now show me Thyself."
A Surrendered Will Brings the Holy Spirit Upon Us
Finally, one more result of the surrendered will and life is the great secret of receiving the Holy Ghost. Peter tells it in Acts 5:32, "…The Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him."
It all turns upon surrender. We may deal with individual sins, and we may cry to God for the filling of the Holy Ghost, but unless there is total surrender to God at the center of our being, unless we yield ourselves to God – nothing is likely to come of it.
Oh, how many have longed and prayed, and agonized that the Holy Spirit might come upon them, but He came not. There was no complete surrender, there was no yielding of self to God.
And then they have yielded to God. They have bowed their faces and said: "O God, I yield, I give myself up utterly to Thee. I place myself unreservedly at Thy disposal. I hold nothing back, and I hold back from nothing that Thou biddest," and as they have bowed, the Holy Ghost has fallen upon them.
Perhaps it was with great surging waves of power and joy; perhaps in a gentle calm that stole over their whole being; perhaps in a still small voice that whispered: "…If we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).
But whatever way He came, He came. And when He came, power came. The great secret of power for God is the Holy Ghost upon us (Acts 1:8). And the great secret of the Holy Ghost coming upon us is the surrendered will, a yielded life. Oh, how wondrous, how blessed, how glorious is the Holy Spirit’s power!
Will you have it, my brother? Will you have it, my sister?... "Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Rom. 6:13). Will you do it? Will you do it now? Will you yield?
Oh, how foolish, how utterly foolish, are those who will not yield, or who hesitate to yield themselves unto God! You are robbing yourself of all that makes life really worth living, and that makes eternity rosy and golden with gladness, beauty, and glory. Will you yield today?