(Psalm 62:11) “Power belongs to God.”
There is only one condition God requires from us to receive His Power. That condition is absolute surrender to Him in everything. Paul the apostle said, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13).
Yielding to God
To yield ourselves to God is to put our selves totally at His disposal. We could avoid a lot of sorrow, frustration and fruitless energy if we would only completely yield ourselves to the Lord without reservation. When we make ourselves available to Him to use us in whatever way He chooses He in His infinite love and wisdom does the very best thing with us and for us. When we only desire His will He will work in us by His Spirit to bring our desires into line with His desires for us. His Word says, “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Now we can desire many things in life that are not in themselves bad but if we submit every desire to Him then He will so work in us by His powerful Holy Spirit that we will end up desiring what He desires for us. When we offer up ourselves unconditionally on the altar of sacrifice with nothing held back the fire of His Holy Spirit will fall sanctifying our hearts and lives for His service. We will find that His will is good, acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2).
According to His will and not ours
Whatever avenue of service or ministry the Lord has chosen for us it will be the very best thing for us and for those to whom we minister. The Holy Spirit Himself will impart to us the gifts of the Spirit we need to be successful in the job God has called us to do for His kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:11). The Lord not only chooses how and where we will serve Him but also empowers us for that task. When we yield ourselves fully to the Lord and come under the total control of the Holy Spirit we not see all at once what He has for us to do but sooner or later it will become clear if we continue to walk by faith in His Word and keep ourselves yielded completely to His control. Sooner or later God will fill our heart with His light, His joy, His peace and His power! The Bible tells us some of the definite things that come to us when we surrender our wills unconditionally to the will of God.
1. Knowledge and Truth come when we surrender our will to God.
(John 17:7) “If any one chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own.”
When we completely surrender our wills to God the Holy Spirit Himself will bring us a deeper revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Only the Holy Spirit can “enlighten the eyes” of our hearts to God and to a deeper understanding of His will for us. On the other hand self will, sin and rebellion will lead us into spiritual darkness, confusion and we will loose God’s peace. Some issues in the Bible will continue to confuse us and be hard to understand until our will is laid down and the will of the Holy Spirit and His wisdom is taken up by faith. Walking in the will of God is not easy; in fact the more we seek to do this the more spiritual opposition we will face from the devil. There is no middle ground in the Christian life, either we are walking in the Spirit and fulfilling His desires or we are fulfilling the desires of the flesh. Walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh are mutually exclusive. You cannot walk in the Spirit and in the flesh at the same time. There will always be an “Esau” and a “Jacob” in us, wrestling for supremacy in our hearts. Now we still have the old sinful nature to deal with but it no longer needs to dominate us.
Our obligation to God
Before we were saved we had no choice but to sin but when we were saved the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus set us free from the downward pull of the law of sin and death. We came out from under the old law of sin and came under the new law of freedom in Christ that is freedom from sin and from the world, the flesh and the devil (Romans 8:1-4). Once we have been really born again God expects us to overcome temptation and sin. Paul the apostle said, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:12-14). Paul also said, “So I say live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16).
The will must be laid down
When our wills are totally surrendered to God the Holy Spirit will give us the deep revelation that the Bible is the Living and active Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). He will lead us into all truth because He is the Spirit of Truth and will never lead us into wrong doctrine or unbiblical conduct of any kind. There are believers who have been saved for many years but are still finding it hard to know God’s will for their lives. The reason could be that they have never completely and wholeheartedly surrendered their wills to God’s will for their life. May be they made some emotional decision at a meeting but have never really understood that God requires the surrender of our wills to Him before anything else. If we have completely surrendered our wills to God and are disciples of His Word then we will also be able to discern wrong teaching. We will know whether someone is speaking from the Lord or from his or her own mind and imagination. If we really want to do God’s will then the Holy Spirit will show us whether the teaching we hear comes from God or from another source. There are many today who are into all kinds of emotionally gratifying spiritual experiences of one kind or another who cannot recognize false teaching from true teaching.
Understanding God’s will
Surrendering our wills has nothing at all to do with the emotions but with the action of the will. Once our will is laid down then the emotional release will come. For some it will be instantaneous but for others it will develop into a quiet and settled peace that all is right with the Lord. Once our wills are laid down and the will of God taken up by faith God’s will and the Bible itself will become much clearer to us. God’s will is not hard to understand if we know our Bibles and if we still lack wisdom we can ask God to give it to us and He will (James 1:5-6). It is our privilege as God’s children to know everything we need to know for our spiritual growth and the Holy Spirit Himself is the one who imparts this knowledge. The apostle John said, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you all things” (1 John 2:27).
The will, not the emotions
The Holy Spirit Himself searches the deep things of God and wants to reveal them to us but He needs our permission to be taught. If our wills are completely surrendered to the Lord then the Holy Spirit will be able to teach us what we need to know. When we resist the Lord the Holy Spirit dwelling in us becomes a prisoner without power consequently we will begin to walk in the flesh and grieve Him beyond understanding. Laying down our wills is more than just having some emotional experience. The emotions may be involved but in the end it is only when our wills are laid down that the power comes.
2. Power in prayer comes when we surrender our will to God.
(1 John 3:22) “We receive from Him whatever was ask because we obey His commands and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
If we obey God’s Word and do those things that please Him then He will answer our prayers. So often our prayers go unanswered because we neglect obedience to God’s Word and are not faithful in living the Christian life. If we really love Jesus then we will love and obey His Word. If our wills are completely surrendered to the Lord and we know His Word then we will pray in line with God’s Will and have the assurance that He will answer us every time (1 John 5:14-15). Of course He will not always answer us straight away but if we are praying in line with the Holy Spirit then we will have the assurance that our prayers have already been answered even though we do not see anything in the physical realm.
3. The joy of the Lord comes when we surrender our will to God.
(Psalm 32:11) “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad you righteous, sing all you who are upright in heart.” (Psalm 40:6) “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say the Lord be exulted.”
(Psalm 105:3) “Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.” (Acts 13:52) “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
The Joy of the Lord always follows the surrender of the will. We cannot be filled with the Spirit and be joyless Christians. In Nehemiah we read, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Supernatural joy from the Holy Spirit is infectious and will draw others to the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have the joy of the Lord then it will be evident to others even though we are passing through trials and tests. In fact James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-3). Some struggle in this area more than others. The joy of the Lord will always generate the strength of the Holy Spirit to enable us to persevere. To persevere literally means to “remain under pressure” and not to give up. Perseverance has a work to do in us namely bringing us to the point where in every situation we act like mature men and women of faith.
Not some superficial emotion
Now the joy of the Lord is not just some superficial emotion although joy is often expressed with great emotion. Remember that David danced before the Ark of the Lord and this was really appreciated by the Lord. In fact the Lord delights in us when we come into His presence with joy, praise and with thankfulness (Psalm 100). This joy weathers all the storms of life and is not dependent on favourable circumstances. Living in God’s kingdom means living a life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). When we know that we are right with God and are at peace with Him we will experience His joy. If our joy is merely fired up by heart stirring sermons, moving testimonies, chorus singing and the manifestation of spiritual gifts at meetings yet our joy is generally lacking in our day to day lives we need to ask ourselves whether we really do have the joy of the Lord? Many Christians have no joy in the world or from it because they are not in the world, yet they have no joy from their Christian lives either because their wills have never been unconditionally surrendered to the Lord. Sometimes the surrender of our wills to God will mean missionary service, the full-time ministry, laying aside of our cherished ambitions, giving up of a promised promotion at work or giving up of a lot of money or may be all that we have. Whatever we give up to God He will replace with “Joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
When we surrender our wills to God He so changes our will by the Power of His Holy Spirit that in the end we only end up wanting what He wants for us. His desires will become our desires, His plans and ambitions will become our plans and ambitions and whatever pleases Him also pleases us. We will in fact love what He loves and hate what He hates. When we surrender the whole of our will to God we will have no regrets because His will is good, acceptable and perfect in every way (Romans 12:1-2).
A wholehearted surrender
There is only one way to really experience the joy of the Lord and it is only through a surrendered life. When our wills are unconditionally and wholeheartedly surrendered to the will of God the Holy Spirit will bring us the joy of the Lord no matter what our circumstances are. There is a story told of a believer who was to be burned alive at the stake because of his faith. He had fully surrendered himself to the Lord and when he had come to the place of execution he threw his arms around the stake and cried out “Welcome Cross of Christ, welcome eternal life.” He really had the joy of the Lord!
4. The Lord Jesus reveals Himself to us when we surrender our will to God.
(John 14:21) “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by my Father and I too will love Him and show Myself to him.”
Surrendering our lives to the Lord involves the obedience of our wills to His Word and to His plan for our lives because it is by our obedience that we prove our love for Him. There are many today who say they love Jesus and make a great show of it yet do not love or submit themselves to His Word. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Living Word made flesh and the co-author of the Bible along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. If we do not love God’s Word we do not love Jesus! True love for the Lord Jesus involves obedience and commitment. When we surrender ourselves to the Lord Jesus He reveals Himself to us and the way He does this is through His Word the Bible. R.A.Torrey said, “A surrender of ourselves to Christ brings Christ to us.” Jesus Himself said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
5. The great secret for receiving the power of the Holy Spirit is the surrender of our will to God.
(Acts 5:32) “We are witnesses to these things and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Romans 8:14) “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.”
Now it is possible to yield individual sins to the Lord but not our wills and so our prayers to be filled with His Spirit go unanswered. God wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit and according to Ephesians 5:18 it is a command and not an option for us. If we continue to try and live the Christian life without being filled with the Spirit then we will be in a state of continuous disobedience to the Lord. The Biblical condition for being filled with the Holy Spirit is absolute and unconditional surrender to the Lord. When we surrender all to Him we may experience a great emotional release even accompanied by tears or on the other hand it may just be the quiet assurance that the Lord has done what He has promised to do. On the other hand we may not feel anything at all but if we have fulfilled the conditions laid down in God’s Word and have asked Him to fill us with His Spirit then we must believe that we have received what we have asked for. Jesus Himself said, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer believe that you have received it and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). Ultimately we will have the assurance that we have been filled with the Holy Spirit. One thing that we will notice is that we will have a new boldness and confidence and supernatural power when witnessing to others.
A surrender of the will is the secret
If we have surrendered our wills to God and have asked Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit then the assurance we need that He has done this will come. God will give it in the way He chooses and in the way that is best for us. Unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit we will be powerless and ineffective in our Christian life and service. When God fills us with His Holy Spirit He will release in us and through us the spiritual gifts we need to successfully do the work He has called us to do. God Himself determines how the gifts will operate according to His will and not ours. We cannot make demands on Him because He is sovereign and the Holy Spirit reveals His power and His gifts in the way that is right for us (1 Corinthians 12:11). We will not know the power of God’s Word, the power of Jesus blood, the power of prayer or the power of the Spirit until we have completely surrendered our wills to God. Power belongs to God and His power is His will for us if we know the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. The Lord says, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” May our unconditional response to Him be, “Here am I Lord, send me!”
Adapted from the book “Power from on High” by R.A.Torrey.