by F.B. Meyer
There was nothing new in what they told me. They said that a man must not only believe in Christ for final salvation, but must trust Him for victory over every sin and for deliverance from every care. They said that the Lord Jesus was willing to abide in the heart which was wholly yielded up to Him. They said that if there were some things in our lives that made it difficult for us to surrender our whole nature to Christ, yet if we were willing to be made willing to surrender them, He would make us not only willing but glad. They said that as soon as we give or attempt to give ourselves to Him, He takes us. All this was simple enough; I could have said it myself. But they urged me to take the definite step and I shall be forever thankful that they did.
Very memorable was the night when I came to close quarters with God. The Angel that wrestled with Jacob had found me, eager to make me a prince. There were things in my heart and life which I felt were questionable, if not worse. I knew that God had a controversy with respect to them. I saw that my very dislike to probe or touch them was a clear indication that there was mischief lurking beneath. It is the diseased joint that shrinks from the touch, the tender eye that shudders at the light. At the same time, I did not feel willing to give these things up. It was a long struggle. At last I said feebly, “Lord, I am willing to be made willing. I am desirous that Your will should be done in me and through me as thoroughly as it is done in heaven. Come and take me and break me and make me.”
That was the hour of crisis; and when it had passed, I felt able at once to add, “And now I give myself to You: body, soul and spirit; in sorrow or in joy; in the dark or in the light; in life or in death; to be Yours only, wholly, and forever. Make the most of me that can be made for Your glory.”
No rapture or rush of joy came to assure me that the gift was accepted. I left the place with almost a heavy heart. I simply assured myself that He must have taken that which I had given, and at the moment of my giving it. And to that belief I clung in all the days that followed, constantly repeating to myself the words, “I am His.” And thus at last the joy and rest, victory and freedom from burdening care, entered my heart, and I found that He was molding my will and making it easy to do what I thought impossible. I felt that He was leading me into the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, but so gently as to be almost imperceptible to my weak sight.
Out of my own experience, I would suggest these seven rules to fellow Christians.
1. Make a definite consecration of yourselves to God.
Doddridge has left in his diary a very beautiful form of self-consecration. But you need not wait for anything so elaborate or minute as that. With most it would be sufficient to write out Miss Havergal’s hymn, “Take my life, and let it be,” and to sign your name at the bottom. But in any case it is well to write down some record of the act to keep for future reference. Of course, when we have really given ourselves once, we cannot give ourselves a second time. We may renew the consecration vows; we may review the deed or gift; we may insert any new clauses we like. And if we have gone astray, we may ask the Lord to forgive the foul wrong and robbery which we have done Him, and to restore our souls into the position from which we have fallen. Oh, how sweet the promise, “He restores my soul”! Dear Christian reader, seek some quiet spot, some still hour, and yield yourself to God.
2. Tell God that you are willing to be made willing about all.
A lady was once in great difficulties about certain things which she felt eager to keep under her own control. Her friend, wishful to press her into the better life of consecration, placed before her a blank sheet of paper, and pressed her to write her name at the foot and then to lay it before God in prayer. Are you willing to do this? Are you prepared to sign your name to a blank sheet of paper and then hand it over to God for Him to fill in as He pleases? If not, ask Him to make you willing and able to do this and all things else. You never will be happy until you let the Lord Jesus keep the house of your nature, closely scrutinizing every visitor and admitting only His friends. He must reign. He must have all or none. He must have the key of every closet, of every cupboard, and of every room. Do not try to make them fit for Him. Simply give Him the key, and He will cleanse and renovate and make beautiful.
3. Reckon on Christ to do His part perfectly.
As you give, He takes. As you open the door, He enters. As you roll back the floodgates, He pours in a glorious tide of fullness- fullness of spiritual wealth, of power, of joy. The clay has only to be plastic in the hand of a Palissy; the marble has only to be pliant to the chisel of a Michelangelo; the organ has only to be responsive to the slightest touch of a Handel; and there will be no failure in results. Oh, to be equally susceptible to the molding influences of Christ! We shall not fail in realizing the highest ideal of which we are capable if only we will let Him do His work unhindered.
4. Confess sin instantly.
If you allow acid to drop and remain on your steel fenders, it will corrode them; and if you allow sin to remain on your heart unconfessed, it will eat out all peace and rest. Do not wait for the evening to come, or until you can get alone, but there in the midst of the crowd, in the very rush of life, with the footprints of sin still fresh, lift up your heart to your merciful and ever-present Savior, and say, “Lord Jesus, wash me now from that sin, in Your precious blood, and I shall be whiter than snow.” The blood of Jesus is ever at work, cleansing us from unconscious sin; but it is our part to apply for it to cleanse from conscious and known sins as soon as we are aware of their presence in our lives.
5. Hand over to Christ every temptation and care.
When you feel temptation approaching you, as a bird by some quick instinct is aware that the hawk is hovering near, then instantly lift your heart to Christ for deliverance. He cannot rebuff or fail you. He will gather you under His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust. And when any petty annoyance or heavier worry threatens to mar your peace, in the flash of a moment, hand it over to Jesus, saying, “Lord, I am oppressed; undertake this for me.” “Ah,” you sigh, “I wish indeed I could live like this, but in the moment of need I forget to look.” Then do this. Trust in Christ to keep you trusting. Look to Him so to abide in you as to keep your abiding. In the early morning entrust to Him the keeping of your soul, and then, as hour succeeds hour, expect Him to keep that which you have committed unto Him.
6. Keep in touch with Christ.
Avoid the spirit of faultfinding, criticism, uncharitableness, and anything inconsistent with His perfect love. Go where He is most likely to be found, either where two or three of His children are gathered, or where the lost sheep is straying. Ask Him to wake you morning by morning for communion and Bible study. Make other times in the day, especially in the still hour of evening twilight, between the work of the day and the avocations of the evening, when you shall get alone with Him, telling Him all things, and reviewing the past under the gentle light which streams from His eyes.
7. Expect the Holy Spirit to work in, with, and for you.
When a man is right with God, God will freely use him. There will rise up within him impulses, inspirations, strong strivings, strange resolves. These must be tested by Scripture and prayer; and if evidently of God, they must be obeyed. But there is this perennial source of comfort: God’s commands are His enablings. He will never give us a work to do without showing exactly how and when to do it, or without giving us the precise strength and wisdom we need. Do not dread to enter this life because you fear that God will ask you to do something you cannot do. He will never do that. If He lays anything on your heart, He will do so irresistibly; and as you pray about it, the impression will continue to grow, so that presently, as you look up to know what He wills you to say or do, the way will suddenly open, and you will probably have said the word or done the deed almost unconsciously. Rely on the Holy Spirit to go before you, to make the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth. Do not bring the legal spirit of “must” into God’s free service. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.” Let your life be as effortless as theirs, because your faith shall constantly hand over all difficulties and responsibilities to your ever-present Lord. There is no effort to the branch in putting forth the swelling clusters of grapes; the effort would be to keep them back.
SOMEONE says, “I have tried to live a consistent Christian life, and yet I am not what I wish.” Perhaps you live too much in your feelings, too little in your will. We have no direct control over our feelings, but we have over our will. God does not hold us responsible for what we feel, but for what we will. Let us, therefore, not live in the summer house of emotion, but in the central citadel of the will, wholly yielded and devoted to the will of God.
by F.B. Meyer