Long ago I came across this sen­tence: Per­fect obe­di­ence would be per­fect hap­pi­ness, if only we had per­fect con­fi­dence in the pow­er we were obeying.” 

I remem­ber being struck with the say­ing as the means of a pos­si­ble, though undreamed of, way of hap­pi­ness. I thought of that say­ing often, even when full of inner rebel­lion. It gave me the vision of a rest and yet a vision of a pos­si­ble devel­op­ment that would soothe and at the same time sat­is­fy all my yearnings.

Need I say that this rest has now been revealed to me, not as a vision, but as a real­i­ty. I have seen the Lord Jesus as the way to per­fect rest when we yield to Him and take His yoke upon us.

Dear hes­i­tat­ing soul, you are miss­ing such joy! The Mas­ter has revealed Him­self to you and is call­ing for your com­plete sur­ren­der. Yet, you with­draw and hes­i­tate. You are par­tial­ly will­ing, and you think it is fit and prop­er that you should feel thus. But a com­plete sur­ren­der, with­out any reserve, seems to you to be too much. You are afraid of it. You think it involves too much and is too great a risk.

Then, too, you see oth­er souls who seem able to walk with easy con­sciences in a far wider path than that which appears to be marked out for you, and you ask your­self why this is so. It seems strange that you must do what they do not have to do, and must avoid what they feel free to do.

Sur­ren­der With­out Limitation

Dear Chris­t­ian, this very dif­fer­ence between you is your priv­i­lege, though you do not yet know it. Your Lord says, He that hath My com­mand­ments and keep­eth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will man­i­fest myself to Him.” 

You have His com­mand­ments. Those you envy do not have them. You know the mind of your Lord about many things. Those walk­ing in dark­ness do not. Is this not a priv­i­lege? Should you regret that your soul is in such close rela­tion­ship with your Mas­ter that He is able to tell you things which those less close may not know? Do you not real­ize the ten­der degree of inti­ma­cy in this? …

He loves you with more than the love of friend­ship. He has giv­en you all, and He asks for all in return. The slight­est reserve will grieve Him to the heart. He did not spare Him­self. How can you spare your­self? For your sake He com­plete­ly sur­ren­dered all that He had, and for His sake you must sur­ren­der all that you have, with­out lim­i­ta­tion or measure.

Oh, be gen­er­ous in your self sur­ren­der! Meet His mea­sure­less devo­tion for you with a mea­sure­less devo­tion to Him. Be glad and eager to throw your­self com­plete­ly into His lov­ing arms and to hand over the reins of gov­ern­ment to Him. What­ev­er there is of you, let Him have it all. Give up for­ev­er every­thing that is sep­a­rate from Him. Con­sent to give up, from this time for­ward, all free­dom of choice. Glo­ry in the close rela­tion­ship with Jesus which makes this enthu­si­asm of devot­ed­ness not only pos­si­ble, but necessary.…

Let Him Have All

It is alto­geth­er won­der­ful. It will not mat­ter to you if men hate you and sep­a­rate them­selves from you. It will not mat­ter to you if men con­demn you. If this hap­pens for His sake, Scrip­ture says your reward is great in heav­en for if you are a par­tak­er of His suf­fer­ing, you will also be a par­tak­er of His glory.

Your love and devo­tion are His pre­cious reward for all He has done for you. It is unspeak­ably sweet to Him. Do not be afraid, then, to let your­self go in whole­heart­ed devo­tion to the Lord. Oth­ers may not approve, but He will. That is enough. Do not be stingy with your obe­di­ence or your ser­vice. Let your heart and your hand be as free to serve Him as His heart and hand were to serve you. Let Him have all there is of you: body, soul, mind, spir­it, time, tal­ents, voice, every­thing. Lay your whole life open before Him so that He may con­trol it. Say each day to Him, Lord, enable me to reg­u­late this day to please You! Give me spir­i­tu­al insight to dis­cov­er what Your will is in all the rela­tion­ships of my life. Guide me regard­ing my desires, my friend­ships, my read­ing, my dress, my Chris­t­ian work.” Do not let a day or an hour go by in which you are not con­scious­ly doing His will and fol­low­ing Him completely.

Such a per­son­al ser­vice to your Lord will enrich the poor­est life and give the most monot­o­nous exis­tence a heav­en­ly glow. Have you ever griev­ed that the romance of youth is so soon lost in the hard real­i­ties of the world? Bring Christ into your life and into all its details, and a romance far grander than the bright­est days youth could ever know will thrill your soul, and noth­ing will seem dif­fi­cult or unbear­able again.

When Christ was on earth, He declared the truth that there was no blessed­ness equal to the blessed­ness of obe­di­ence. And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a cer­tain woman of the com­pa­ny lift­ed up her voice, and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked. But He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:27 – 28).

It is more blessed to hear and obey His will than even to have been the earth­ly moth­er of our Lord!

May our sur­ren­dered hearts reach out with an eager delight to dis­cov­er and embrace the love­ly will of our lov­ing God!

Excerpt­ed from The Chris­tian’s Secret of a Hap­py Life by Han­nah Whitall Smith. Pub­lic Domain.

Originally published December 1874

Starting Soon: The 2020-21 Renovaré Book Club

An inten­tion­al way to read for trans­for­ma­tion not just infor­ma­tion. Runs Sep­tem­ber 2020 through May 2021.

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