Submit Yourself to God
By David Brandt Berg
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God has a very special place for each of us in His kingdom, and He has a special job, a unique mission for you which only you can fulfill. But there’s only one way that you will be able to find His will for your life—much less be able to fulfill it—and that is to be truly yielded to Him. Only then will you be able to let your dust become diamonds that show the beauty of God, bringing the Lord’s wonderful life, love, and light to as many folks as you can.
People have got to see Jesus coming through you. But if your witnessing is too full of you, they’ll just go on and figure that what you’re saying is a waste of time. This is why He tells us that it’s “not by (your) might, nor by (your) power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord. For we have this treasure (the Lord’s Spirit and His love) in earthen (fleshly) vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”1
Jesus even said of our work for Him, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”2 So we don’t ever have to worry about carrying too much or pulling too big a load. We just need to learn to submit ourselves to Jesus and let His Spirit work through us. As we “cast our cares upon Him and abide in Him,” we “can do all things through Christ.” Hallelujah!3
Jesus says, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”4
“Not My will, but Thine be done”
To find the will of God in our lives, we have to be yielded to the Lord. Jesus gave us the best example of yieldedness when He knelt down in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done.”5 Submission is the first step.
God’s Word says, “I beseech you, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove”—or know—“what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”6 The first requirement in finding God’s will is placing your mind, body, and will on God’s altar. As someone has said, “The major part of knowing the will of God is to be prepared to do it before you even know what it is!”
If you’re a Christian, if you’re saved and have Jesus in your heart, you are not your own. Jesus bought and paid for you and your salvation with His own blood. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”7 You don’t just belong to yourself, you belong to the Lord. “Know ye not that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”8
If you really believe the Bible, that Jesus bled and died on the cross to save you from hell and to give you eternal heavenly life, you should be willing to do anything He asks of you, and endure anything He requires of you just in plain thanks for your salvation.
Although He bought and paid for us with His own blood, Jesus didn’t buy us just to make us His slaves, His servants who have to do what He commands. He said, “I have not called you servants, but friends.”9 He wants us to be His friends, who do His will not just because we have to, but because we want to, because we love Him. In fact, He not only wants us to be His friends, but His beloved, His Bride. “That we should be married to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”10
He wants a Bride who can bear everlasting children for the eternal kingdom of God. “For herein is My Father glorified,” Jesus said, “that ye bear much fruit.”11
Give God a chance
The Lord knows that the more yielded and obedient we are to Him, the more He can then use us, and the happier we will be and the greater blessing we’ll be to others. He’s more willing to use, empower, anoint, and pour His blessings out upon us than we are to receive them.
The whole experience of our existence in this life is like a schooling to teach us what we need to know about the Lord and salvation and about service to the Lord and others, submission and obedience to Him and keeping His loving rules and His Law of Love. The Lord “loves a cheerful giver,”12 and He never forces anyone to do His will. In fact, if we won’t do His will for love, because we love Jesus, He’d just as soon get somebody else who will. He wants volunteers who freely and willingly submit to Him and His slightest bidding.
If you’ll commit your life and will to Him and be willing to accept whatever He wants for you and your life, He’s promised to mightily bless you, and as you continue to follow Him, you’ll become whatever He wants you to be.
It reminds me of what an unknown Sunday school teacher said to a lowly teenage shoe salesman that he had led to the Lord in Boston. He said, “Dwight L. Moody, there is no limit to what God can do with a man who is yielded and willing to do His will.” Moody looked him in the eye and replied, “By the grace of God, I am determined to be that man.” And he was!
A short while later he moved to Chicago, where he began preaching the Gospel and witnessing to others, and was soon so thrilled to be able to lead other folks to Jesus that he quit the shoe business and began serving the Lord full-time. He went on to become one of the world’s greatest evangelists, with tens of thousands of eternal souls won as a result.
What a sad loss it would have been not only to him, but to the millions who heard the gospel through his ministry, if Moody hadn’t determined to commit his will to the Lord. “But,” you may argue, “I could never do anything great for the Lord like Moody did. I’m no flaming evangelist or outstanding soul winner.” Neither was Moody to begin with. He was just a poor farm boy and a below-average student who became bored with life on the farm and moved to the big city. After several weeks in the city, he set a new goal for himself—to become a big businessman and to make $100,000. Giving his life to God’s service was the last thing on his mind.
In fact, when Moody was first saved, he was so completely ignorant of God’s Word and truth that when he went before a church committee to see if they would accept him, he was refused membership. His Sunday school teacher later wrote of him: “I can truly say (and in saying it I magnify the infinite grace of God as bestowed upon Mr. Moody), that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker when he came into my Sunday school class, or one who seemed more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear, decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any sphere of extended public usefulness.”
But when he found Jesus and he realized how much the Lord had given for him, he determined to give his life to the Lord to do whatever God would ask of him. The Bible tells us, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”13 This is the secret of success of not just Moody, but of every truly great man or woman of God whom He has ever used; they drew close to the Lord and relied upon Him and His power and His Word for guidance, strength, and inspiration.
Despite all of our faults, weaknesses, and inabilities, there really is no limit to what God can do with us, in accordance with His will, if we will commit our lives completely to Him. Of course, that is a very big “if,” because we each have our own free will, and we can choose to either commit our lives to Him and “seek first the kingdom of God,”14 or we can seek first our own desires and our own plans and our own ways. The choice is ours.
If you’re willing to be what God wants you to be—not what you are, but what God wants you to be—then He can mightily use you. God knows you can’t do it yourself. You have to turn your life, your mind, your heart, your everything over to the Lord and let Him work through you. When you finally get to the point where you surrender to Him and give up and let go and let God, then God has a chance to step in and do it. And He will. Just give Him a chance.
When we’ve submitted our all to the Lord, then we don’t need to worry about anything. Our lives are in His hands, under His loving care, and the Enemy has nothing that he can get ahold of or lay claim to. In fact, to really overcome the Enemy, submission is exactly what the Lord requires. He says, “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”15
But as long as there’s one little dark unyielded corner of your life that you’re not willing to yield to the Lord, if there’s one little part that you refuse to surrender, the Enemy can bother you in that one little thing, plague you with that one little thing. This is why God’s Word says, “Neither give place to the Devil.”16
I’m reminded of the story of Huddersfield. A rich landlord desired to buy an entire village, and finally he bought every piece of land in the area. That is, all except one little plot. For there was one stubborn farmer who refused to sell his tiny piece of land, and nothing would change his mind. The wealthy land owner even offered the farmer much more money than his little piece of property was worth, but the old farmer, fond of his land, absolutely refused to sell. The landlord finally gave up, but encouraged himself by saying, “What difference does just one little plot of land make? I’ve bought everything else, so Huddersfield is mine. It belongs to me!” But the stubborn old farmer overheard him and reminded him, “Oh no it doesn’t. We own Huddersfield. It belongs to you and me!”
Don’t let the Devil be able to say that of you to God. “Aha! Look, God! He’s yielded everything except this one little thing. So even though he belongs mostly to Thee, a little bit still belongs to me.” To “overcome the wicked one” and to have the “peace of God which passes all understanding,” you must commit your all to the Lord. Then, when your will is in harmony with God’s will, you are safe under the shadow of His wings, and He has promised to bless you with His perfect peace and heavenly rest17 no matter what storms of life you face. Like that dear old hymn says:
You have longed for sweet peace,
And for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest or be perfectly blest
Until all on the altar is laid.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.
—E. A. Hoffman, 1905
So present your life on His altar today, ask Him to take and use you for His glory, and He will—as much as you will let Him. You are His child, and He loves you and will always do His best for you to make you useful and happy in His loving service for others, so that you may bring them the same life and happiness that you have found in Jesus. He never fails!
Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg, originally published April 1987. Adapted and republished November 2014. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
1 Zechariah 4:6; 2 Corinthians 4:7.
2 Matthew 11:30.
3 John 5:30; 15:5; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:13.
4 John 15:4–5.
5 Matthew 26:39.
6 Romans 12:1–2.
7 1 Peter 1:18–19 NIV.
8 1 Corinthians 6:19–20.
9 John 15:15.
10 Romans 7:4.
11 John 15:8.
12 2 Corinthians 9:7.
13 James 4:8.
14 Matthew 6:33.
15 James 4:7.
16 Ephesians 4:27.
17 1 John 2:14; Philippians 4:7; Psalm 91.