That soul has now delivered itself into His hands and His great love has so completely subdued it that it neither knows nor desires anything save that God shall do with it what He wills. Never, I think, will God grant this favor save to the soul that He takes for His very own. His will is that, without understanding how, the soul shall go thence sealed with His seal. In reality, the soul in that state does no more than the wax when a seal is impressed upon it–the wax does not impress itself; it is only prepared for the impress: that is, it is soft–and it does not even soften itself so as to be prepared; it merely remains quiet and consenting. (Teresa of Avila: Interior Castle: Fifth Mansions: Chapter Two)
What’s our most significant spiritual problem? It’s our unwillingness to embrace God’s love. No wonder the Apostle Paul prayed,“as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Emphasis mine.) Teresa says, “His great love has so completely subdued it (our will) that it neither knows nor desires anything save that God shall do with it what he wills.” His love softens our will like wax as He impresses his seal upon us. We do not soften ourselves, but simply remain “quiet and consenting” as we surrender to Him.
Surrender is not a popular topic even among Christians. Some, in reaction to past pharisaical rigidity, want nothing to do with surrender and obedience because legalistic leaders have ruined those practices. Others, who focus their “theology” on human freedom, say God doesn’t want us to surrender our will to him, but to think for ourselves and take action. And, they believe, God certainly doesn’t direct the details of our life. He wants us to make our own choices.
Of course God gives us great freedom, but that doesn’t mean he takes an inconsequential role in our lives. In fact, surrendering to God is an expansion, not a reduction, of freedom.
Here are three observations about surrendering to God:
- God possesses wisdom and foresight we do not have, therefore, He has detailed plans about many aspects of our lives. Surrender becomes the road to insight.
- Jesus was and is a rabbi. When He said, “Follow Me”, He meant that literally. Therefore, we embrace certain practices and behaviors.
- It’s not freedom when, in the name of freedom, we neglect obedience only to imprison ourselves through people-pleasing, various addictions, and undisciplined lives.
So let His love subdue our will. Let us be “quiet and consenting” like wax. Let Him impress His seal on our lives. We will then find great freedom and insight.
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