When Robert Moffat left home at the age of eighteen, his godly mother, apprehensive about her son’s unconverted heart, asked him to read a chapter of God’s Word every morning and night. He recounted that one evening not many months later, as he read, a “renovation of light entered my darkened soul” and he became a child of God.
Robert had his life mapped out, but God had other plans. One day about a year after his conversion, as Robert walked toward a neighboring town to make a few purchases, he contemplated his future. He thought with pleasure of a prestigious position which had recently been offered him, and pictured himself climbing to a place of wealth and renown. Suddenly, his attention was arrested by a poster advertising a missionary meeting. The date was past, but Robert’s mind went back to his mother’s stories of missionaries who had taken the Gospel to remote areas of the world. Then, in the quietness of his soul, a Voice spoke: “Will you give up your plans for My plans? Are you willing to suffer that the heathen may be saved?” “Yes, Lord,” he said aloud, and from that day on, he had one passion—to take the Gospel to souls without God.
Some time later Robert took a position as gardener and there he met Mary, the love of his life. She, too, was a dedicated Christian with a zeal for foreign missions, and it did not take the two long to discover that they had much in common. When Robert was accepted by the London Missionary Society and his departure was imminent, he asked Mary if she would be willing to go with him.
Mary agreed with joy, but when Robert broached the matter to her parents, her father said, “My wife and I have no objection to your marriage, if you will stay in this country; but we will never agree to our only daughter going to some uncivilized land where she would suffer many hardships and, more likely than not, die an early death.” What a test of will! There were many tears as the two said goodbye; for, although their hearts were anguished, they were agreed that Robert must go to his God-given work while she remained at home.
The weeks and months that went by tested that consecration to the limit. The young missionary rejoiced in the progress being made among the African people, but in his heart was a secret sorrow. He was lonely. Still deeply in love, he wrote to Mary, and waited anxiously for a response. But when her letter came, it clearly had been written in agony of heart. It told him that further hope was useless, for her parents seemed more opposed than ever to her going to Africa. With tears rolling down his cheeks, Robert wrote, “In my suffering I am cheered with this one recollection—that it is for Jesus’ sake and the salvation of the heathen.”
Then, miraculously, God intervened. Robert received the astounding news that Mary’s parents had suddenly relented and Mary was expecting to arrive in Cape Town the following December. On the 27th of that month, the two consecrated Christians were married.
God blessed Robert and Mary Moffat with more than fifty years together. They opened mission stations in the interior, translated the Bible into the language of the Bechuanas, wrote missionary books, and together did all in their power to win souls in their beloved Africa. Their consecration to give of themselves no matter what the personal cost was richly rewarded!
1. Our key verse, Romans 12:1, tells us that we are to present our bodies a “living sacrifice.” What does this mean, and why is it to be considered a “reasonable service”?
2. We consecrate our lives to God as we seek and receive the experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Why, then, is it necessary to continue to consecrate on a daily basis? James 4:7; Revelation 22:14
3. Jesus is our Perfect Example of consecration of the will (see Matthew 26:39). What does it take to be able to say, “Thy will be done,” as Jesus did?
4. What are some areas of our lives where the surrender of our wills might be difficult?
5. Might the devil tempt us to consecrate something foolish or detrimental? How can we discern if it is God or the devil talking to us?
6. What are the benefits of having a life and will completely consecrated to God? See Psalm 40:8; James 1:25; Revelation 22:14
The will is like a wise mother in a nursery; the feelings are like a set of clamoring, crying children. The mother makes up her mind to a certain course of action which she believes to be right and best. The children clamor against it and declare it shall not be. But the mother, knowing that she is mistress and not they, pursues her course calmly in spite of all their clamors, and the result is that the children are sooner or later won over to the mother’s way, and fall in with her decisions, and all is harmonious and happy.
But if for a moment that mother were to let in the thought that the children were the masters instead of herself, confusion would reign unchecked. And in how many souls at this very moment is there nothing but confusion, simply because feelings are allowed to govern, instead of the will. Remember then, that the real thing in your experience is what your will decides, and not the verdict of your emotions. – Excerpt from “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” by Hannah Whitall Smith
“Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way! Hold o’er my being absolute sway. Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see, Christ only, always, living in me.“ – Last verse of the hymn, “Have Thine Own Way,“ by Adelaide Pollard
Consider the refining and casting of steel. The similarities to a Christian’s will under God’s control are apparent. Most steel processed for casting is recycled scrap. It has a shape, so we might say that it has a “will” of its own. But it is the wrong shape—not at all what the designer wants. It has potential, but it is quite useless in this form.
Scrap has to be melted to be made usable. We, too, must be “melted” by God’s Spirit before the refining process begins. The major difference is that the steel has no choice, but we must come willingly to God.
Once the steel is melted, the refining process is the next step. In the molten state, impurities are driven off, and alloys and other elements are added to make the steel stronger. So it is with us. God will put the heat on our lives to remove things not needed and will add things that make us stronger.
At this point, the steel is exactly what the metallurgist wants, but it is still of no use, because if it were poured out, it would just form a puddle. It must go into a mold. In the mold, the molten steel takes on the “will” of the design engineer as it becomes solid. As we allow ourselves to be poured into God’s mold, we take on the form that God has designed for us.
Will we be unusable scrap or a prized “casting” in God’s kingdom? The choice is ours. Spiritual usability comes down to having a will that is shaped by God. Is yours? – From a sermon by Howard Wilson
Consecration demands our all. A consecration with reservation is no consecration at all. Why not go all out for God today? Tear down every reservation that might be in your life, put them all on the altar before God. Say, “God, everything, every motive, every hope, every plan, every object in my life, every bit of my will, every bit of my affection, every bit of my devotion, are all Yours.” When you have said that, and you do not know anything more to consecrate, then continue to pray and ask God how to consecrate even further.
There is no limit to consecration. When you have given all you know how to give, then sometimes God will come down and, with a little touch of His hand, show you something that is not on the altar. You thought it was there, you intended it to be there, but maybe it was not there. Thank God for His faithfulness.
We do not mean to say that when God requires a consecration, it will not hurt, or that it might not cause us suffering. But it is the willingness we want to emphasize. It is the surrender of our wills that God is reaching for. – From a sermon by George Hughes
The Apostle Paul said “I die daily“ (1 Corinthians 15:31). Paul had surrendered his life to Jesus Christ on the Damascus road, and at that point, he died to sin. But surrendering is not just a one-time event. There is a moment of surrender, and there is the practice of surrender which takes place on a moment-by-moment basis, and should be a lifelong occurrence.
In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Paul’s daily surrender was dying to self and the real possibility that the events that came his way would indeed take his life.
Jesus was submitted to His Father, yet He practiced daily self-surrender. He voluntarily subjected His will to the Father, saying, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.“