Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 5: Consecration
Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?"
What you need to understand is the true force of the will.
This is the governing power in the nature of man,
the power of decision, or of choice.
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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.
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
The government of God is not, as Satan would
make it appear, founded upon a blind submission, an
unreasoning control. 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. A mere forced
submission would prevent all real development of mind [p. 44] 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.
In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily
give up all that would separate us from Him. Hence
the Saviour 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.
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.
When Christ dwells in the heart, the soul will [p. 45] 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-abasement?
The inquiry of many a proud heart is, "Why need
I go in penitence and humiliation before I can have
the assurance of my acceptance with God?" I point
you to Christ. He was sinless, and, more than
this, He was the Prince of heaven; but in man's [p. 46] behalf He became sin for the race. "He was
numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of
many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
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.
God does not require us to give up anything that
it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He
does, He has the well-being of His children in view.
Would that all who have not chosen Christ might
realize that He has something vastly better to offer
them than they are seeking for themselves. Man is
doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own
soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of
God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden
by Him who knows what is best and who plans for
the good of His creatures. The path of transgression
is the path of misery and destruction.
It is a mistake to entertain the thought that God
is pleased to see His children suffer. All heaven is
interested in the happiness of man. Our heavenly
Father does not close the avenues of joy to any of
His creatures. The divine requirements call upon us
to shun those indulgences that would bring suffering
and disappointment, that would close to us the door
of happiness and heaven. The world's Redeemer
accepts men as they are, with all their wants,
imperfections, and weaknesses; and He will not only cleanse
from sin and grant redemption through His blood, but [p. 47] will satisfy the heart-longing of all who consent to
wear His yoke, to bear His burden. It is His purpose
to impart peace and rest to all who come to Him
for the bread of life. He requires us to perform only
those duties that will lead our steps to heights of bliss
to which the disobedient can never attain. The true,
joyous life of the soul is to have Christ formed within,
the hope of glory.
Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the
surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give
yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power,
in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of
your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are
like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts,
your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of
your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens
your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you
to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not
despair. What you need to understand is the true
force of the will. This is the governing power in the
nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice.
Everything depends on the right action of the will.
The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs
to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot
of yourself give to God its affections; but you
can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your
will; He will then work in you to will and to do
according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole
nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit
of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him,
your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.
Desires for goodness and holiness are right as [p. 48] far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail
nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring
to be Christians. They do not come to the point
of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose
to be Christians.
Through the right exercise of the will, an entire
change may be made in your life. By yielding up
your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power
that is above all principalities and powers. You will
have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and
thus through constant surrender to God you will be
enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.
Click here to read the next chapter:
"Faith and Acceptance"