I believe every child of God is called to absolute surrender—a state in which she is completely yielded to her heavenly Father in every area of her life. We have heard it before, but we need to hear it very definitely—the condition of God's blessing is absolute surrender of all into His hands. If our hearts are willing for that, there is no end to what God will do for us and to the blessing He will bestow.
Absolute surrender—let me tell you where I got those words. I used them myself often. But once, in Scotland, I was in a company where we were talking about the condition of the church and what the great need of believers is. There was in our company a godly Christian worker who trains other workers for Christ, and I asked him what He would say was the greatest need--the message that ought to be preached. He answered very quietly and simply and determinedly:
"Absolute surrender to God is the one thing."
The words struck me as never before. And now, I desire by God's grace to give to you this message—that your God in heaven answers the prayers you have offered for blessing on yourselves and those around you by this one demand: Are you willing to surrender yourselves absolutely into His hands?
God knows there are hundreds of hearts who have said it, and there are hundreds more who long to say it but hardly dare to do so. And there are hearts who have said it, but who have yet miserably failed, and who feel themselves condemned because they did not find the secret of the power to live that life. May God have a word for all!
God Expects Your Surrender
Surrender has its foundation in the very nature of God—the Creator of life, the only Source of existence and power and goodness. God has created the sun, the moon, the stars, the flowers, the trees and the grass. Are they not all absolutely surrendered to Him? Do they not allow God to work in them just what He pleases?
And God's redeemed children, oh, can you think that God can do His work if there is only half or a part of them surrendered? He cannot. God is life, love, blessing, power, and infinite beauty, and God delights in communicating Himself to every child who is prepared to receive Him. But ah! This lack of absolute surrender is just the thing that hinders God. And now He comes, and as God, He claims it.
You know in daily life what absolute surrender is. You know that everything has to be given up to its special, definite object and service.
I have a pen in my pocket, and that pen is absolutely surrendered to the one work of writing. It must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it. If another holds it partly, I cannot write properly.
And now, do you expect that in your immortal being, in the divine nature that you have received by regeneration, God can work His work, every day and every hour, unless you are entirely given up to Him? He cannot.
The temple of Solomon was absolutely surrendered to God when it was dedicated to Him. And every one of us is a temple of God, in which God will dwell and work mightily on one condition—absolute surrender to Him. God claims it, God is worthy of it, and without it God cannot work His blessed work in us.
God Accomplishes Your Surrender
I am sure there many hearts that are saying: "Ah, but absolute surrender requires such a price! I have passed through so much trial and suffering already, and there is still so much of the self-life remaining. I dare not face giving it up entirely because I know it will cause even more trouble and agony."
What a shame that God's children have such cruel thoughts of Him! I come with a message to those who are fearful and anxious: God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your own strength, or by the power of your will; He is willing to work it in you. Do we not read: "It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13)?
And that is what we should seek—to go on our faces before God, until our hearts learn to believe that the everlasting God Himself will come in to turn out what is wrong. He will conquer what is evil and work what is well-pleasing in His sight. God Himself will work it in you.
Look at the men in the Old Testament, such as Abraham. Do you think it was by accident that God found that man the father of the faithful and the friend of God? Do you think it was Abraham himself, apart from God, who had such faith and obedience and devotion? You know it is not so. God raised him up and prepared him as an instrument for His glory.
I want to encourage you, and I want you to cast away every fear. Come with that feeble desire. If there is the fear that says, "Oh, my desire is not strong enough! I am not willing for everything that may come, and I do not feel bold enough to say I can conquer everything," I implore you, learn to know and trust your God now.
Say, "My God, I am willing for You to make me willing." If there is anything holding you back or any sacrifice you are afraid of making, come to God now and prove how gracious He is. Do not be afraid that He will demand from you what He will not bestow.
God Accepts Your Surrender
God works surrender in the secret of our hearts; He urges us by the hidden power of His Holy Spirit to come and speak it out, and we have to bring and yield to Him that absolute surrender. But remember, when you come and bring it to Him, it may, as far as your feelings go, be a thing of great imperfection. You may doubt and hesitate and ask, "Is it absolute?"
But remember, there was once a man to whom Christ said:
"If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23).
And his heart was afraid, and he cried out, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (v. 24). That was a faith that triumphed over Satan, and the evil spirit was cast out.
And if you come and say, "Lord, I yield myself in absolute surrender," even though you do so with a trembling heart and with the awareness that you do not feel the power, the determination or the assurance, it will succeed. Do not be afraid, but come just as you are. Even in the midst of your trembling the power of the Holy Spirit will work.
Have you not yet learned the lesson that the Holy Spirit works with mighty power, while on the human side everything appears feeble? Look at the Lord Jesus Christ in Gethsemane.
We read that He, "through the eternal Spirit" (Heb. 9:14), offered Himself a sacrifice unto God. The Almighty Spirit of God was enabling Him to do it. And yet what agony and fear and exceeding sorrow came over Him, and how He prayed!
Externally, you can see no sign of the mighty power of the Spirit, but the Spirit of God was there. And even so, while you are feeble and fighting and trembling, have faith in the hidden work of God's Spirit and do not fear, but yield yourself.
We want to get help, every one of us, so that in our daily life God will have the right place and be "all in all." And if we are to have that throughout life, let us begin now and look away from ourselves and look up to God.
Let each believe when he says, "Oh God, I accept Your terms. I have pleaded for blessing on myself and others. I have accepted Your terms of absolute surrender," that there is a God present who takes note of it and writes it down in His book.
There is a God present who at that very moment takes possession of you. You may not feel it, you may not realize it, but God takes possession if you will trust Him.
God Maintains Your Surrender
When God has begun the work of absolute surrender in you and has accepted your surrender, then God holds Himself bound to care for it and to keep it. Do you believe that? Do you believe that He can keep you continually, day by day, and moment by moment?
A life of absolute surrender has its difficulties. I do not deny that. It is a life that with men is absolutely impossible. But by the grace of God, by the power of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, it is a life to which we are destined and a life that is possible for us. Let us believe that God will maintain it.
Give yourself up absolutely to the will of God. Say to Him: "By Your grace I desire to do Your will in everything, every moment of every day."
It is God who will enable you to carry out the surrender. Yes, the living God wants to work in His children in a way that we cannot understand but that God's Word has revealed. He wants to work in us every moment of the day. God is willing to maintain our life. Only let our absolute surrender be one of simple, childlike, unbounded trust.
God Blesses When You Surrender
This surrender to God brings wonderful blessings. But it must be absolute. We must say, even if with a trembling will: "O God, I accept Your demands. I am Yours and all that I have. Absolute surrender is what my soul yields to You by divine grace."
You may not have as strong, clear feelings of surrender as you would like to have, but humble yourselves in His sight, and acknowledge that you have grieved the Holy Spirit by your self-will, self-confidence and self-effort. Bow humbly before Him in the confession of that, and ask Him to break your heart and bring you into the dust before Him.
Then, as you bow before Him, just accept God's teaching that in your flesh "nothing good dwells" (Rom. 7:18) and that nothing will help you except another life coming in. You must deny self once and for all. Denying self must every moment be the power of your life, and then Christ will come in and take possession of you.
Come and cast this self-life and flesh-life at the feet of Jesus. Then trust Him. Do not worry yourselves with trying to understand all about it, but come in the living faith that Christ will come into you with the power of His death and the power of His life. Then the Holy Spirit will bring the whole Christ--Christ crucified and risen and living in glory into your heart.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was an ordained minister in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa and the author of numerous devotional works that have become classics, including Abide in Christ, Absolute Surrender and Waiting on God.