Joan Corbett - Williams and Perth Special Meetings - May, 2006

Hymn 266

Romans chapter 12, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Wonderful privilege we have of presenting ourselves to God. God has given us a lot of gifts. We present gifts with this human life we have, gifts that will take us no further than the grave. We have received gifts in Christ Jesus that go on into eternity. What are we giving to God? What are we presenting to him? Wonderful when we can everyday, give God our lives; present our bodies a living sacrifice to God. We need to do it every day.

It’s possible to give a gift without love, like a donation. You can give a donation without any love but when you want to give a gift to someone you love, it’s so different. If we love God and are giving Him back our lives, it’s going to be with a very different attitude from the attitude that it’s expected of us. When you choose a gift for someone you love it’s not something that pleases yourself but for the one you are giving it to, because you know it will bring pleasure to them. What is it that gives pleasure to our God? When we present our lives as a living sacrifice, holy – no double motive, no wrong spirit – we present ourselves to Him and that’s what will give Him joy.

I have been thinking about our human will: it’s so strong. And when we present ourselves as a living sacrifice, it means submission to the will of God. It means bringing this old human will of ours under the control of the higher power. We sing in a hymn, “Love empowers the highest choice,” and love in our hearts is going to help us to choose the will of God when it’s contrary to our own will. It will help us to deny our own will.

I was thinking about a little boy I know: about 2 or 3, and having his meals, or was supposed to be, and didn’t want his meal. His dad was trying to give him his food and his will was trying to express itself. A child isn’t very old when his own will becomes evident. Well he didn’t want his meal so dad put down his spoon and turned his face away. But that little boy couldn’t bear it. His lip dropped and began to whimper, and the tears came. So dad turned back and he ate every bit of his meal; his will submitted to the will of his father. He couldn’t bear to see the face of his father turned away. When we take our own will that’s what happens. The Father’s face is turned away and we do what we want to do. Wonderful if we can be as sensitive as that little boy was to his dad: we can’t bear our Father’s face to be turned away.

Again and again in the Psalms, David said, “How long will You turn Your face away?” He couldn’t bear to have the Father’s face turned away. On one occasion he was saying, “Turn us again,” pleading that God would turn His face to them. When we turn our face, we turn from our own will to the will of God then God will turn to us, won’t He? He will give us the help that we need. He won’t turn away when there’s true repentance and submission to His will.

When Absalom killed his brother he was a fugitive and Joab was pleading on his behalf. When he returned, David said, “Don’t let him see my face,” and it says he didn’t see the face of the king. There wasn’t true repentance and maybe David understood and he couldn’t show his face to him because of his attitude. I wondered if we feel God has turned His face from us and turned His back on you and you don’t have His favour. We need to look into our own hearts, search ourselves and see what it is that’s causing God to turn away His face from us. Maybe we can turn again like the prodigal. “Turn us again, oh God, and we shall be turned.”

In Isaiah, the Lord was saying, “In a little wrath, I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.” Maybe it’s because of something we have allowed in our lives and we feel the presence of God has been withdrawn from us. Then further on in II Chronicles chapter 30 Hezekiah – there was the promise that God would give grace and mercy. “Be ye not stiff-necked as your fathers were; if you turn again to Him there will be mercy, grace and kindness.” Don’t be stiff-necked be yielding. This old human nature of ours, I’m very conscious of its stubborn will.

We sang in the hymn about our will being brought into captivity to the will of God. The will of God is always best. Sometimes life’s experiences – what we wouldn’t choose – are always best. Whatever God allows is always best and good if we can accept that - accept the will of God for our lives at cost to our own will as we present our bodies every day, “I am willing for Your will today.” The fact we did it yesterday is not sufficient because this nature is still there. But His mighty power will give us victory over this human will. I love to think of Jesus doing the Father’s will, seeking the Father’s will. It’s one thing to fit into the will of God but are we seeking to know what the will of God is for our lives? It’s always going to be at the cost of our own will because it’s across the will of nature. Jesus understood his Father’s will, not only when he submitted to the cross but for every step of the way, committed Himself to God. When it came to giving Himself on the cross there was that wonderful submission, yielded to the Father’s will: very costly.

Where would we be if Jesus had taken His own will? It was just as strong as ours, but He submitted it to the will of God. So we read in these verses about presenting ourselves and it’s our reasonable service. God is not asking for something that’s unreasonable from any one of us. Do you feel what God is asking of you is unreasonable? Do you ever feel you were treated unfairly and others have a better opportunity than you have? But what God is asking of you is reasonable and we present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. It’s not unreasonable if God asks to give our lives, our all. He has given heaven’s best when He sent His son and Jesus didn’t count it unreasonable to come down to the earth and take upon Himself our nature. He didn’t count it unreasonable to deny Himself, to take upon Himself our sin. So should we count any little thing God is asking of us unreasonable? I don’t think so. There’s nothing unreasonable about it.

As we present ourselves to God every day in true submission to all His will, it’s not an unreasonable service. “Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If we present ourselves to God every day we won’t be conformed to the world: if we are honest, committing our will to the will of God. We aren’t going to be conformed to this world by doing the things that will bring pleasure to the heart of the Father. I trust God can help us, that there might be a turning again unto Him and He will turn again unto us and we can have that wonderful assurance that He will grant us mercy, kindness, forgiveness and wonderful blessing that come as a result of us turning to Him, like the prodigal son. It was in turning that He obtained the favour of the Father’s face towards Him.

May God help us to appreciate all that we have in Jesus and be made more conscious of our responsibility in giving back our lives to the One who has given all to us. It’s our privilege and the responsibility we have as God’s children to render back our lives into the hands of the one who has poured out His all for us and been willing for Calvary’s cruel tree so we might have salvation. I hope we can appreciate this.