Charles Stanley - God's Condition for His Full Blessing
Do you want God's full blessing that He's planned for you, or are you just sorta willing to get along the best you can and just sorta take what's coming your way and never even stop to think about what would God do in my life if He had full control of it? What are the possibilities of the ways I could be blessed if I let God do it His way? You see, most Christians are not very happy with their Christian life. They struggle over this and they struggle over that and they complain about, "God doesn't answer my prayer and my needs are not all being met and God is not giving me the desires of my heart". And they moan and they groan and they complain about, "The Christian life's not what it's all cracked up to be". And on and on and on they go, never stopping to ask the question, "Wonder why things don't work out right for me"?
Well, there is a reason, and that's what I want to talk about in this message. And if you will listen very carefully and follow some scriptures that I want to give you in this passage, God can absolutely change your life, revolutionize your life, change your sense of circumstances, and change the flow of the blessings of God in your life. You say, "Well, how can you promise me that"? Well, I don't have to promise you that. All I have to say is this. Here's what God says. He has never lied. You can bet your life. In fact, all of us who are believers, we've bet more than our life, we've bet our whole eternal life on Him. And those of us who've been saved a long time, we've lived long enough to watch what God does and how He operates and how His ways work out in our lives. We know He will keep His Word, not to the last breath, but through all eternity.
I want you to turn, if you will, to Romans chapter twelve. And the title of this message is "God's Condition for His Full Blessing". There is a condition in order to experience God's full blessing in our life. You say, "Well now, what do you mean by full blessing"? Here's what I mean: I mean to be able to experience all that God has planned for your life. "Well, what is that"? Here's what it is: it's whatever He knows is best in every single area of your life. He's a good God. He has the best in store. The issue is, do I want His best? Or am I willing to take not God's second best, because He offers no second best, but am I willing to be satisfied with far less than? God wants to give, God wants to reveal, God wants to give of Himself, or whatever abundance He wants to send our way. Are you willing to take less when you can have the very best?
Well, Romans chapter twelve, these first two verses, He says, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is," what's that? "That which is good and acceptable and perfect". Now, when Paul begins this passage by saying "therefore," what he's doing, he's referring to everything he's written from chapter one all the way through these first eleven chapters. And he's been talking about the sinful and helpless condition of mankind; God's justifying, redeeming, saving, forgiving work on the cross; the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the Christian life. And now he comes and he talks about His mercy that He's bestowed upon us, shown us mercy.
And he says, "Now therefore, on the basis of all that God has done for us," he says, "I beseech you, I urge you, I plead with you to present your body a living, holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is the reasonable, right thing to do". And he says, "Stop allowing yourself to be poured into the world's mold". He says, "That's not the best way. The best way is God's way, a sacrifice".
Now, with that in mind, I want to talk about this one condition in order to receive God's full blessing. There are not many conditions. There's one ultimate condition that is the bottom line to receive God's best. And when you look at this passage, it's very evident here that God's condition for full blessing calls for a full surrender. God's condition for a full blessing calls for a, listen, calls for a full surrender. What does he say? "I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your body". He's not simply talking about your physical body. but that's your whole being, body, soul, and spirit, the total being, as a sacrifice, living holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.
Now, when you think about sacrifices, for example, usually the word "sacrifice" or "surrender" or "yield" are very threatening words to some people. In other words, they want to talk about God's love, God's goodness, God answers prayer, God's kindness, God's mercy, and on and on we go. But when you start talking about sacrifice, when you start talking about surrender, when you start talking about yielding, these are rather threatening words because the implication is that somebody is about to get into my business. Somebody is about to want to control my life. Somebody's about to want to tell me how to operate. And so, therefore, all of us like our freedom. We don't want anybody controlling us, dominating us, telling us what to do or how to go about it. We want freedom. What we don't realize is the freest people in the world are those who have come to the place in life to recognize that the life fully surrendered to Almighty God is the freest life of all. God offers His best. He has prepared His best.
And the truth is, I can either be satisfied with less than God has to offer, or I can ask the question, "God, what would You do with me if I gave You my whole life? What would You send my way if I offered my life without reservation, without any bargaining, without any kind of holding back in any area of my life? What would You do, what could You do, what are You willing to do, what do You want to do"? One thing for certain, God has prepared the very best that He, in His infinite wisdom and unconditional love, can possibly provide for every single one of His children. Does that mean it'll always be what I want it to be? Not necessarily. Does that mean that if we offer ourselves in full surrender to Him, that things will always go the way we want them to go? Absolutely not, because sometimes what we think is the best way is not the best way at all.
And sometimes when we surrender our life to the Lord Jesus Christ, sometime when we give ourselves and maybe some particular thing that He's dealing with in our life, things don't always turn out the way we expect them to. But one thing for certain: when we are fully surrendered, they will turn out for what is for our good, our best, from the wisdom, listen, and the goodness and the love of Almighty God. So when he says in this passage, "I urge you, I plead with you, I beckon you," listen. He says to present your bodies a living holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, the only kind that is acceptable to God, when we come to Him in the right spirit saying, "Lord, here is my life".
Now, you're asking the question, I'm sure, "Well, what do you mean by a sacrifice? What do you mean by full surrender"? And I'm gonna come to that in a few moments, but I just want you to realize here that when he makes this plea, that it is a literal, practical thing. What he's saying is, "I want you fully surrendered to Me, fully and totally surrendered to Me". Now, somebody says, "Well now, wait a minute. What right does God have to require of me to be fully and committed and surrendered to Him? I mean, what right does He have there"?
Well, let's look at it for a moment. First of all, the Bible says He's established His throne in the heavens and He rules over all, so He is the sovereign ruler of this universe. He has a right to dominate and to control our life. Secondly, the Bible says that He is the creator of all things, so, since He created us, He certainly has a right to tell us how to live and what's best for us. Thirdly, He has saved us from our sins, and since He's our savior, He certainly has another right. And again, He sustains us every day. He's the one who keeps our heart beating. He's the one who keeps us alive. He sustains the whole universe every single day. And not only that, He is absolute total owner and possessor of every single one of us.
Now, He has the deed to your life. The tragedy is that many people trusted Jesus Christ as their savior and nobody ever told them, "Now that you've trusted Jesus as your savior, you have given over all rights to Him because He is the Lord". We sing about Him being Lord, we talk about Him being Lord, we read the scriptures about Him being Lord, but the truth is, we don't live out, we don't acknowledge in our daily life that He is the absolute Lord of our life. Because being Lord, He has absolute right, authority, ownership, control, and possession of our life. For example, look, if you will, in Romans chapter eight for a moment... or chapter fourteen, chapter fourteen and verse eight.
Romans fourteen, verse eight, listen to what he says. He says, "for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's". We belong to Him. We are His by ownership, by creation. Then, if you'll turn to First Corinthians for a moment and look in that sixth chapter, if you will, and listen to what Paul says here again about our relationship. He says in this nineteenth verse, the sixth chapter, he says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit," that is, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, he says, "who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own"? Look at that. You're not your own. "For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body". He says that every single believer, listen, we surrendered ownership, we surrendered possession.
The truth is, all of our rights have been surrendered and yielded the moment we surrendered our life to Jesus Christ. We became His purchased possession. What did He purchase us with? With the blood of Jesus Christ. And the moment we were saved, we became His blood-bought purchased possession. So, He has, listen, He has ownership. Now, one of the indications is of His ownership, we cannot see, but all of us who are believers know that it's there. He says in Ephesians chapter one that when you and I were saved, we were sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption, which means if we could put this on our foreheads somehow, that every single believer would have the stamp of ownership on their forehead. And all of us do have it on our heart, on our spirit, and that is, we're owned by Almighty God.
Therefore, when we act in rebellion, when we act in disobedience, we're acting other than who we are. We're the sons and daughters of God. We're ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. We represent Him. We belong to Him. He owns us, He possesses us. And therefore, when I say, "Well, I want to have it my way," what I'm doing is I'm acting out of character of who we are. And so therefore, when somebody says, "Well, who has any right to dominate and control my life"? Almighty God. We are His by ownership, by possession. And so therefore, when you look at this passage and he says to us, he says, "I urge you to present your body a living sacrifice," that is, he says, "Do what you ought to do, what is right for you to do".
He's your owner. He's the one who possesses you. Everything that you have has come through Him and come from Him. Therefore, He has the right, He has the awesome right to demand that you and I walk in obedience to Him, and that is that we live a surrendered life, yielded to Him, totally given over to Him. Now, so, one of the basis of that call for full surrender is the fact of who He is. But a second one is this, and that is simply this, that God has planned the very best for us. One of the reasons He calls for full surrender is because of what He wants to do for us.
Now, look at this passage, because oftentimes we think, "Well, I don't know that God loves me," and so forth. Look, if you will, in Jeremiah chapter twenty-nine. I want to give you two or three verses here that are just indications of what God wants to do in our life, that He has planned and He has the best provided for us. And so, listen to what He says in this twenty-ninth chapter. He says in the eleventh verse, "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all of your heart.'" Look at that, He says, "For I know the plans that I have for you".
God has a plan for us. What is His plan? Here's His plan for you. No matter what you may think about your life and the past and what you don't have and what you could have and what you oughta have and what you should have and what you'd like to have, listen to what he says. He says, "I have plans for you". What kind of plan is that? It is the best plan that an infinite, all-wise and all-loving God could and would plan for you. It's the very best plan. So, if we are needing and if we are dissatisfied and discontent and our Christian life's not what it ought to be and we don't think our relationship with the Lord is right and we don't feel intimacy with Him, I'm telling you, listen, we're not waiting on God; God's waiting on us. He wants the very best. He's calling for a full surrender. He's calling for that which is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.
Listen, it's not a sign of weakness to give up to Almighty God, to surrender everything to Him, to yield everything to Him. That's not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of weakness to hold onto myself and hold onto what I want and I have for fear of what may happen if I turn my life over to God. Listen, those who, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you surrender fully everything that you are and everything that you have, trusting Him to see what He will do in your life. You see, most people don't want to take any risks in life. They just sorta want to keep everything secure, and so they won't take another job oftentimes because there's the risk that they may not be able to do as well as they think they could or somebody else expects of them.
And so, everybody wants to, these days, seem to want to live in security. Let me tell you something. If you obey the living God, you're gonna have to take some risks. But here's the awesome thing about risking with God. How much risk is it when whatever you do, you're, listen, you're in the grip of the sovereign, omnipotent ruler of the universe who loves you absolutely, listen, who will not let anything happen to you that is not good for you? Is that a risk, or is it not? That's the kind of risk I want. Who wants to live the kind of life where everything is just sort of humdrum? And I want to be sure that everything just works out right, and I just don't want to take any risks, don't want to... want to be careful. I know what God is saying, but, but, but, but, but.
Listen, God is gonna require of us, if we surrender ourselves to Him, He's gonna require of us things that will challenge us. How do you think He grows us up? He grows us up by giving us challenges in our life, things that are difficult for us, things that are hard for us, things that oftentimes we don't like, we don't want, we would never choose; why? Because we're seeing it from our viewpoint. When you see it from God's viewpoint, what we don't like and what's pain for us, and what's difficult for us and hurtful for us, what's God doing? Growing us up, maturing us. He says that's good. Whatever drives us to Him is good. Whatever, listen, whatever makes us Christ-like is good. God says, "I've got good stored up for you. What I want is a life fully surrendered like a living, listen, living holy sacrifice, so that I can pour out the best that I have and all that I have for you".
Now, let's think about something. Why, why do we reject? Why do we recoil? Why do we resist a full surrender of our life? Because we'll say, "I know He's God, I know He loves me unconditionally, I know He has the best for me, I know He'll always do what's right for me". And yet, listen, we will declare that we believe every bit of that, and same time, when it comes to a full surrender, we resist it. We recoil to the very same, at the words of total surrender. You know, "I want to hear about God's love and goodness and answered prayer, but surrender and yieldedness and sacrifice, I don't like those words". But what about it? Why is it we recoil? Number one, fear.
Now, it's interesting the attitude people have about God. For example, somebody says, "Well, you know, I'm just afraid to make a full surrender because I'm afraid of what God may require of me". Now, what does that say? It says that my idea about God is this. He's sitting up in heaven and He's just waiting for the day for me to give full surrender and then He's gonna... Put it on me! Listen, this is not the heavenly Father the Bible tells us He is. So, people are afraid. But you know what? It's false fear. What do you and I have to fear when we have an unconditional loving God who's provided to us? He says, "I've planned the best for you. Have a plan for you". He says, "It's for welfare, it's good, not calamity".
So, people are afraid. They're afraid to surrender. Listen, now, ask yourself this question. God wants me to give myself fully and absolutely and totally to Him. Now, what is it I'm afraid of? And if you will analyze what you're afraid of, it has no basis whatsoever. But there's a second reason. The second reason is because of our own sense of selfishness. We don't want even God dictating to our life, telling us what to do, telling us how to do it, and telling us when to do it. We just don't want God doing that. Now, we're willing to pray, go to church, read the Bible, do all those other things, but we don't want God telling us how to run our life.
Well, let me ask you a question. Does that mean that you and I are smarter about how to run our life than God is? That's what the implication is. You see, there has to be a reason. There is a reason in our thinking. I didn't say it was a good reason or a right reason. There has to be a reason that we are responding to God by withholding from Him our total being, our total selves, has to be a reason. It certainly can't be because He's bad, because He's evil, because He'll mistreat us, or any of those things. It has to be because something in our thinking is not correct. What I want you to see is acting any other way but in full surrender doesn't even fit who we are. Who are we? We're the purchased sons and daughters, but listen, we are owned by Him. We're owned by Him. He has the rights on us. We have no right.
And imagine us telling an omnipotent God, "You can't have all of me". Would be like this pen saying, "I'm not gonna write for you". And anybody whom the Lord has called to preach the gospel, the mission field, or serve Him in any way, my friend, for you to tell Almighty sovereign God that you're not gonna do it, have you thought about how serious that is? God's called you to teach a Sunday School class of young boys who need a father image. They come from broken homes, no father, looking for somebody to be an influence in their life, and you say, "God, I'm not gonna do that". Listen, do you think, do you realize what you're telling God, when He owns you? He possesses you, He has the right to control, He could swipe you out and never even bat one of His divine eyes. And you're telling Him no?
My friend, you haven't been thinking very wisely, that you're gonna tell God no about any aspect of your life. He has a right to call for full surrender, and we protest it because we're selfish, and because we have an erroneous view of God, and because our attitude is such that we think He's going to abuse us in some fashion. Now, with that in mind, let's get down to the hard, cold fact of what is and what is involved in this whole issue of making a full surrender. I want you to jot down three words. The first word is definite, definite. The second word is deliberate. And the third word is voluntary. Now, think about this. By definite, I mean a specific decision. By deliberate, I mean carefully evaluated, thought about it, thought through it. Voluntary, that is, it is an act of your will, a choice that you've made.
So, I'm gonna give you this definition, I'm gonna give you time to write it down. What is involved in a full surrender? It is a definite, deliberate, voluntary transfer of undivided possession, control, and use of our entire being, body, soul and spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ to whom we rightfully belong. It is a definite, deliberate, voluntary transfer. What do you transfer? You're transferring, listen to this, you're transferring what? Undivided, I'm not...I don't have any...no more hands on it. Undivided what? Possession, undivided control, undivided use. That is, His absolute possession of me, His absolute control of us, and His absolute use of us any way He sees fit. Body, soul, and spirit. That's the total being. Transferred, listen, voluntary transfer of undivided control, use, possession to Jesus Christ, to whom we rightfully belong.
That's what a full surrender requires: a deliberate, definite, voluntary transfer. And what we're saying is this, we're saying, "God, I've had it my way, but from this point on, it's Your call. Whatever You want, that's what I want, that's what I'm gonna do. Whatever You require, that's what I'm gonna do. Wherever You say go, that's where I'm going. Whatever You want, that's what I want. And when I don't want it, I'm gonna trust You and obey You even when I don't want what You say". There may be something in my flesh, and it's not easy oftentimes to be obedient, but you know what? It's not a matter that I always feel good about it, it's the matter that I acknowledge His right to require.
And a life fully surrendered has transferred, listen, undivided, so that I don't have, I'm not running part of the show and He's running part of the show. It's not part of me and part of Him doing this. It's not part of His possession and I'm claiming something for myself. Undivided, undivided possession, control, and use of our total being, body, soul, and spirit, transferred to Jesus Christ, to whom it rightfully belongs. Only then is He practically the Lord of my life. Here's what that requires, here's what it calls for: Lord, here's my life. No reservations, no bargaining. Total, absolute surrender. Is that difficult? Yes, it is.
Listen to this. That's why He sent the Holy Spirit to enable you and me, listen, to trust Him, that when we yield everything to Him and surrender everything to Him, in a definite, deliberate, voluntary decision on our part, that from that point on, watch this, if He owns us, He possesses us, He's responsible for us. God assumes full responsibility for the life fully surrendered to Him. He calls for a full surrender because He wants the best for us, and those who are willing to make that surrender will experience a joy they have never known, a peace they have never known, a confidence they have never known, a sense of security they have never experienced. That is the gift, and so much more, if you're willing to trust Him with your whole life, which belongs to Him anyway. And what you're saying, in essence, is this: no longer will I have it my way; from this point on, I want it Your way.