The Battlefield Is The Will
We all have to learn that surrender is not the surrender of the external life, but the surrender of the will to God. When that is done, all is done. If the rest of the life is not right, the reason is that the will has never really been surrendered.
There are very few crises in life. What we are apt to call crises are not crises. The great crisis is where we surrender the will. God never crushes a man’s will into surrender. He never beseeches him. He waits until the man thoroughly yields up his will to Him.
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself…" (Matt. 16:24). The surrender here is of myself to Jesus. "If you would be My disciples," Jesus is saying in effect here, "then give up your right to yourself to Me." (See Gal. 1:15-16). This is not done by praying or longing. It is done by a sharp battle where the surrender of the will takes place.
After you have gone through the full surrender of the will, you will always remember the time. But do you remember how long it took God to get you there? Do you remember how you weighed up all the circumstances, and how you found that your heart or mind or body or sentiments, or other ties and friendships held you down here and there?
For a time you seemed to get peace, and you thought it was all done. But the battle came back again and again, because you had not surrendered to Him the central citadel which is your will. The remainder of the life is nothing but the manifestation of that surrender. The battle for the will is the great point where Jesus Christ wins or loses in your life and mine.
Once the full surrender of the will has taken place, you need not care what your circumstances are. Once you have got through the crisis of surrendering your will to God, wherever you are placed, on the home or foreign field, the Lord can rely on you, because your surrender has allowed the supernatural work of God to fully identify your life with that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The surrender of your will to God has always to be made in cold blood. Beware of the surrender you make to God in an ecstasy, for you are apt to take it back. It is not a supernatural vision of God that does it. It is not being taken up on a mount of transfiguration. It is a quiet, commonplace moment when God puts the thing to you so clearly that there is no misunderstanding that He is asking of you the full surrender of your will.
Some have gone through with this surrender of the will, and no matter where God places them there is no fear that they will turn back, because the central citadel of their will is possessed by God. Unless the central citadel of your will is held by the Lord, you may go down at any second, anywhere, no matter what the devotion of your heart may be.
After surrender, what? The whole of the life is an aspiration – the aspiration of an unbroken life of communion with God, and it does not matter if the life is dark or bright.