In Bible times, once an offering was made, the transaction was final. No Israelite ever ran back up to the altar and snatched his gift away. As Christians, though, sometimes we make a gift of ourselves to God and then, when we don’t notice a change in the way we feel, we “take ourselves back,” so to speak. The mental progression might look something like this:
- First, newly aware of the Lord who loves us, or of some matter where he is asking us to surrender our will, we falls to our knees and ask God to take over, solemnly giving our lives to the Lord.
- Then, not long afterward, we realizes that we don’t really feel much different.
- Thus, we conclude that we never really surrendered ourselves to God. Despondent, we wonder if we should try again or give up altogether.
Human nature tends to put feeling first and faith second, with facts trailing third. God’s way is just the opposite: fact first, faith second and feeling last of all. Sometimes we have to accept by faith that which we can’t yet feel.
But here is the wonderful fact of the matter: We can be confident that if we ask anything according to God’s will, he hears us, and we will have what we ask of him (1 John 5:14b-15). Is it his will that we surrender to him, that we put him in charge of our lives? Of course. Does he want to mold us and use us to accomplish his will? Absolutely. So, according to the facts of God’s word, we can be sure that when we ask God to take over, he hears us and agrees to our request.
Hannah Whitall Smith, whose words infuse this writing, gave this advice about daily surrender. “Ask the Holy Spirit to show you all that is contrary to him, either in your heart or in your life. If he brings anything to mind, give it to the Lord immediately and say in reference to it, ‘Your will be done.’ If he shows you nothing, then you must believe that there is nothing and must conclude that you have given him all. You may find it helpful to pray this prayer daily or even many times a day. ‘Lord, I am yours; I yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you accept me. I leave myself with you. Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will trust you.’”
The fact: God wants us to give him control of our lives.
The faith: When we ask him to take over, we believe he accepts the gift of ourselves.
And as for the feeling? We can stand on God’s promises and wait for that to come later.