– Hannah Whitall Smith
Victory in Surrender
One of the greatest paradoxes in the Christian faith is that there is victory only when we surrender. All you have to do is read the Old Testament to see dozens of examples where those who were in desperate situations could only surrender to God for His assurance of victory on their behalf. When Jehoshaphat was surrounded and he cried out to God, the Lord helped him by turning his attackers away (2 Chr. 18:31). When God crushed the Egyptians, Israel sang out praise for God’s shattering of the enemy (Ex. 15:6), and in every case where they surrendered, God’s mighty right hand brought them victory, as only He can (Psalm 118:15). The horse of war might be prepared, but the victory belongs to God (Prov. 21:31). However, God cannot do any great miracles in our life until we first totally surrender to Him.
Surrendering of the Will
It is only when we surrender our will that God works in our lives with the supernatural ability that only He can. If we haven’t surrendered, then God sees that as us fighting in our own strength, and, as we know, that will not end well, ending only in our defeat. This surrendering is what one man, who fought a fierce battle with pornography for decades, finally told me brought him victory. The victory was the Lord’s, and God amazingly took away this man’s urge to view pornography. If God can change a pagan king’s heart (Prov. 21:1), then He can change anyone’s heart. He took Saul (his name means destroyer) and changed his heart and his name to Paul. Saul, the chief persecutor and destroyer of the church, became His greatest missionary because of a heart transplant performed by the Spirit of God. Today my friend believes he is being called to minister to other men who still battle the strong addiction of pornography. His first lesson to them is that miracles can only be wrought by God, but only in wills that are utterly surrendered to Him.
Victory in Christ
Paul thanked God for the victory that comes in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57) because the last enemy that was to be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26) was that of death (1 Cor. 15:54) when He finally and forever took the sting out of it (1 Cor. 15:55). Just as we’ve all been born into death by Adam’s sin nature, so in Christ everyone who’s trusted in Him shall be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22), and that is why there is true victory in in Christ. We are conquerors only in Him (Rom. 8:37), and the dominion that sin had over us is vanquished (Rom. 6:14), although we still struggle against our own flesh (Rom. 7:15-16). We all want to do the right thing, but we have to realize we don’t have the ability to do the right thing (Rom. 7:18), so this is why there is victory only in Christ (Rom. 7:25), Who alone can bring us out of our own wretchedness (Rom. 7:24).
Indeed, it is wonderful what miracles God works in wills that are utterly surrendered to Him and the miracles of conversion, of letting God fight for us, and in knowing that we can have victory only in Christ, which comes only when we lay down the arms of our own strength, because victory is possible only when we surrender to God.