Sabbath, February 14, 2004
“Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.” Psalm 119:2.
• To realize the absolute need for complete change in our lives.
• To be prepared for the greatest and longest war that we have to face every day and hour.
• To understand what it means for me to surrender to Christ completely and to accomplish this voluntarily and without any reserve.
THE GREATEST WAR
1. What do I need to do to see a true change in my life?
Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
“God’s promise is, ‘Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.’ Jeremiah 29:13.
“The whole heart must be yielded to God, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His likeness. By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these: ‘Dead in trespasses and sins;’ ‘the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint;’ ‘no soundness in it.’ We are held fast in the snare of Satan, ‘taken captive by him at his will.’ Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1: 5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26. God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him.” – Steps to Christ, p. 43.
2. What is the greatest battle in my life? Galatians 5:16, 17; James 4:1. What lie does Satan insinuate in the mind of people about the government of God? Galatians 5:16, 17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.
“The government of God is not, as Satan would make it appear, founded upon a blind submission, an unreasoning control.” – Steps to Christ, p. 43.
COMPLETE AND VOLUNTARY SURRENDER
3. What method does God use so that I can approach Him?
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
“It appeals to the intellect and the conscience. ‘Come now, and let us reason together’ is the Creator’s invitation to the beings He has made. Isaiah 1:18. God does not force the will of His creatures. He cannot accept an homage that is not willingly and intelligently given.” – Steps to Christ, p. 43.
4. What dangers will I face if I surrender to Christ unwillingly?
2 Corinthians 9:7 Let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
“A mere forced submission would prevent all real development of mind or character; it would make man a mere automaton. Such is not the purpose of the Creator. He desires that man, the crowning work of His creative power, shall reach the highest possible development. He sets before us the height of blessing to which He desires to bring us through His grace. He invites us to give ourselves to Him, that He may work His will in us. It remains for us to choose whether we will be set free from the bondage of sin, to share the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 43, 44.
5. What decision should I make when I surrender to Christ?
Luke 14:33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
“In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him. Hence the Savior says, ‘Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.’ Luke 14:33. Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely.” – Steps to Christ, p. 44.
THE HUMAN CONDITION AND THE DIVINE INVITATION
6. What are God’s thoughts about those who want to be saved by their own works?
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
“There are those who profess to serve God, while they rely upon their own efforts to obey His law, to form a right character, and secure salvation. Their hearts are not moved by any deep sense of the love of Christ, but they seek to perform the duties of the Christian life as that which God requires of them in order to gain heaven. Such religion is worth nothing.” – Steps to Christ, p. 44.
7. What blessings do I receive from Christ when I accept Him? What things in my life do I leave behind when I surrender to Christ?
Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
“When Christ dwells in the heart, the soul will be so filled with His love, with the joy of communion with Him, that it will cleave to Him; and in the contemplation of Him, self will be forgotten. Love to Christ will be the spring of action. Those who feel the constraining love of God, do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements of God; they do not ask for the lowest standard, but aim at perfect conformity to the will of their Redeemer. With earnest desire they yield all and manifest an interest proportionate to the value of the object which they seek. A profession of Christ without this deep love is mere talk, dry formality, and heavy drudgery. “Do you feel that it is too great a sacrifice to yield all to Christ? Ask yourself the question, ‘What has Christ given for me?’ The Son of God gave all–life and love and suffering – for our redemption. And can it be that we, the unworthy objects of so great love, will withhold our hearts from Him? Every moment of our lives we have been partakers of the blessings of His grace, and for this very reason we cannot fully realize the depths of ignorance and misery from which we have been saved. Can we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced, and yet be willing to do despite to all His love and sacrifice? In view of the infinite humiliation of the Lord of glory, shall we murmur because we can enter into life only through conflict and self-basement?…
“But what do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 44-46.
• How convinced am I that my nature and character need to change find grace in God’s eyes?
• If something is done superficially or with a grudging spirit will it be of any benefit for my spiritual life?
• How can I gain victory in the greatest struggle against self?
• Am I aware of what will hinder my consecration and am I willing to renounce and get rid of it?