Knowing God’s will begins with surrender of myself as a living sacrifice to serve Christ.
This refers to full surrender. A sacrifice doesn’t have its own will and plans. It is dead to self and alive only to God. But the large percentage of Christians surrender only partially. They reserve portions of their lives out of bounds for God. They say they want to do God’s will, but they aren’t willing to go wherever He leads and do whatever He wants, without reserve. They don’t put everything on the table before God. They wouldn’t dream of surrendering to such an extent that they are ready to leave their job, their property, their families, their friends. Large numbers of people have told me that they are desperate to find a sound church, but they aren’t willing to relocate for that purpose. The bottom line is that they aren’t fully surrendered to God’s will. He has made it perfectly clear in His Word that the church is to be preeminent in the believer’s life (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 10:25). They are surrendered with part of the heart, not the whole heart. I don’t know how many times people have told me that they couldn’t dream of serving God in a place like Nepal. There are few laborers in the Lord’s great harvest fields because so few have surrendered unreservedly.
Surrender is a free-will decision. God does not force us to be saved, and He does not force us to devote our lives wholly to Him after salvation. He wants us to do this from a willing heart. Thus, there are hard choices that must be made for those who want to know God’s will. I must choose to dedicate myself to Christ rather than to the pursuit of selfish desires. I must deny the flesh and pursue the Spirit. Most people devote their lives to money, pleasure, ease, comfort, security, prestige, and such things. The child of God has the privilege of pursuing a higher calling.
Surrender is a decision that is motivated by God’s love. We love God because He first loved us. We do not pursue the will of God in order to be saved; we pursue it because we are saved and we want to please the One who has saved us by His grace through the great price that was paid on Calvary.
Surrender is a reasonable decision. It is reasonable because knowing and serving God is the purpose of life (Ecclesiastes 12:13). It is reasonable because life apart from God’s will is vanity. That is the theme of the book of Ecclesiastes. If I use my life for anything other than God’s service, I am throwing it away. It is also reasonable to dedicate my life to Christ because God’s will brings great reward (Hebrews 11:24-27). A missionary who was later martyred once said, “A man is not unwise to give up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Surrender is a personal decision. Young people are often deeply concerned about what other young people are thinking and doing. There is “peer pressure,” but if I want to know God’s will I must move beyond that and focus my attention on pleasing God alone.
Surrender is also a daily decision. Dedicating myself to the Lord’s will is not something that can be done once; it must be done repeatedly. Many times a person will get fired up at a church meeting or a summer camp or a Bible conference, and he or she will surrender to the Lord’s will, but due to the pressures of life and spiritual warfare this decision can fade away if it is not renewed daily.
Taken from the ONE-YEAR DISCIPLESHIP COURSE, ISBN 978-1-58318-117-1. This powerful course features 52 lessons in Christian living. It can be broken into sections and used as a new converts’ course, a discipleship course, a Sunday School series, a Home Schooling or Bible Institute course, or for preaching outlines. The lessons are thorough and practical. There is an extensive memory verse program built into the course, and each lesson features carefully designed review questions. Following are some of the lesson titles: Repentance, Faith, the Gospel, Baptism, Eternal Security, Position and Practice, the Law and Grace, Christian Growth and Spiritual Victory, Prayer, the Armor of God, the Church, the Bible, the Bible’s Proof, Daily Bible Study, Key Principles of Bible Interpretation, Foundational Bible Words, Knowing God’s Will, Making Wise Decisions, Christ’s Great Commission, Suffering in the Christian Life, The Judgment Seat of Christ, Separation - Moral, Separation - Doctrinal, Tests of Entertainment, Fasting, Miracles, a Biblical Testing Mindset, Tongues Speaking, the Rapture, How to Be Wise with Your Money, the Believer and Drinking, Abortion, Evolution, and Dressing for the Lord. 8.5X11, coated cover, spiral-bound. 221 pages.
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