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!

Renovaré Book Club: Next Book Begins Soon

The next book in the Renovaré Book Club, Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, runs February 3-March 21. Join others online or in-person, or take a guided journey through the book on your own.

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

Originally published January 1875.