Christian's Secret

Scripture: Romans 8:37, 1 John 3:8, Romans 6:1-2
What is the secret to a happy life? Why does it seem so many Christians are unhappy? God would not have us carry our own burdens and continue to live in sin. We must put self away entirely. The only thing we can do is surrender and walk in faith.
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Today my radio message is going to be a very simple one indeed. There will be no finespun theology, no philosophy, no big words; for, we must try to come to grips with one of the greatest enemies in the Christian life. No thoughtful person can question the fact that for the most part the Christian life as it is generally lived is not entirely a happy life. It should not be that way, of course; the Christian ought to be the happiest person in the world. A keen observer of Christians once said: "You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. You are like a man with a headache. He doesn't want to get rid of his head, but it hurts him to keep it."

The secret of a happy Christian life is what we are going to study about in our broadcast today. Who cannot remember happier and more victorious days of the past? Why is it that we can always look back and seem to find days of greater victory than in the present? Sometimes we marvel how easy it is to drift away from a position of strength. There was a time, of course, when we never dreamed of defeat.

When we first became Christians we were determined to remain victorious to the very end. But somehow those victories began to slack off, and though we were not satisfied with this experience, it happened anyway. Perhaps we eventually came to be a bit unhappy. Ah yes, we might still believe in Christ and talk of Him and serve Him, but it just doesn't seem to be the very life of the soul.

I'm convinced that thousands of people have found Jesus as a Saviour from the guilt of sin, but they have not found Him as the Saviour from the power of sin. Many, many trials have come since being converted. Perhaps your heart has sunk down into a rut of discouragement. The early victories have grown dim. Finally, you resigned yourself to an alternating experience of victory and defeat, victory and defeat. But is that all we can expect from our religion? Was this what Jesus had in mind when He laid down His life for us? Did He intend to leave us struggling, weary, conscious of defeat? Is there some hidden reserve in the promises of the Bible? What does Romans 8:37 mean? "He will make us more than conquerors."

That certainly doesn't sound like defeat. II Corinthians 2:14 says, "He will cause us always to triumph." It doesn't say sometimes. He can save to the uttermost! There is nothing partial in that description, friends. The fact is that the Bible has declared unequivocally, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil." I John 3:8.

So settle this one thing in your life now, and settle it for all time. Jesus came to save you in this life from the power of sin. Every verse in the Bible regarding the cross describes the fullness of that victory. There is no hint of only a partial application of power. In Romans 6:1 we read this question: "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" Can we suppose that a holy God who hates sin in a sinner is willing to tolerate it to some degree in Christians? Friends, I believe that when we come to the place where we fear imperfection more than perfection, there will be great hope of us overcoming all sin. The only reason we have not reached out to greater victory is that we are afraid it cannot be done.

Christians are miserable because they are still carrying burdens around with them. Burdens of sin or of care. We must learn somehow to let Jesus bear these burdens for us. It is very hard to surrender completely to Jesus. We seem to prefer to fight rather than to yield to another. We prefer to carry the load rather than to let someone else carry it for us. Self must be put aside entirely. God's gifts are bestowed free of charge. God has a work to do on your soul that you cannot do. The only thing you can do is to surrender. Don't be afraid to do that, friends.

Suppose a patient came to a doctor and asked for some special care, and yet refused to tell all the symptoms of his illness. Suppose he also refused to take any of the remedies prescribed? Perhaps he might follow directions on certain things, but refuse on other things. Would any doctor undertake a case like that? Absolutely not! A doctor wants his patient to submit and obey all instructions. So God must have the whole case. The entire will must be yielded to Him. Some Christians seem afraid of the will of God.

I knew a woman once who was afraid to pray, "Thy will be done." Friends, God loves us and wants to give us the sweetest blessing possible. His will is actually the happiest way that anyone can travel. Yet, many Christians seem to think the Father wants a chance to make them miserable and take away some blessing. They imagine that to hold on to some things in their own will would prevent his unhappiness.

The story is told of a Christian who had endured great trouble. In speaking to another Christian about his trouble, this man concluded, "But it has all been in vain, and there is literally nothing left for me to do now but to trust it to the Lord." The other Christian answered sympathetically, "Alas, has it come to that?"

Friends, don't be afraid of God's will. Suppose you are a mother or a father, and you have an only child who is greatly beloved. Suppose that child should come to you and say, "I have made up my mind to let you have your way in my life. I'll obey you entirely and trust your love to do whatever you think is best for me." As a parent, how would you feel toward that child? Would you say to yourself, "Ah, here is my chance to make Johnny miserable. Now I can compel him to do the hardest and most disagreeable tasks I know, because he has committed himself to obey me." No! You would not say that! You would cover that child with kisses and give him the very best of everything, and make it as easy as possible for him, wouldn't you.

Listen, are you more loving and tender than God? God doesn't want to take anything good away from us at all. The happiest way we can find is God's way and will for us. Some people fear to yield because they fear God might take away their money or possessions. Yet the happiest people I have ever known were those who had surrendered the most to God. So, the first step is to surrender the will. We must lay every burden at His feet and give Him the whole case.

Many Christians are like the man who was walking along the road carrying a heavy load. He was offered a ride in a wagon, and when he sat down he continued to hold his burden on his lap. The driver finally said, "Why don't you put down that bundle and relax?" The rider said, "Oh, it would be too much to ask you to carry my load, I'll carry it myself." So, after surrender comes faith. This is essential in receiving a gift. A friend may give you a great deal, but it's really not yours until you believe it has been given and claim it as your own.

Most folks can believe this about forgiveness, but they somehow can't exercise faith in claiming victory and living the better life. They somehow believe that we are saved by faith but that we must live by works and effort. So they stop receiving and start doing. But in Colossians 2:6 we read this: "As we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so we are to walk in Him." We receive it by faith, and we walk by faith. The very same faith that received forgiveness and cleansing must now lay hold of power to walk the Christian path. Then we believed in Him as a Saviour from the guilt of sin, now we believe in Him as the Saviour from the power of sin. Then we trusted Him for forgiveness, now we trust Him for righteousness. Then He was our Redeemer, now He is our life.

Nothing becomes really ours until faith claims it experimentally. "According to your faith" is the limit of our receiving anything. It must be a current faith. No faith that looks for future deliverance from the power of sin will ever lead a soul to victory. The enemy delights in this future kind of faith, for he knows it is powerless. We should say, "Jesus saves me now."

There are two steps to take in obtaining this life of rest. First, absolute surrender of the will, and second, absolute faith. We must not fail in these two things. Let's repeat the steps now, simply. You are a child of God, you love the Master, you're sick of the sin that grieves Him and that holds you in bondage. Everything else has failed. Suddenly you realize that Jesus is able and willing, and you begin to trust Him. Faith lays hold of the new power from His life, and then the gate opens wide for you to begin to walk in that new experience. Now you realize that He not only delivers from future punishment but also from present bondage. You realize that He came not only to bear your stripes but also to live your life. We could just as easily have rid ourselves of sin as to accomplish the practical righteousness of living a holy life. Christ must do both for us.

A man was once obliged to descend a deep well by a rope. To his dismay, he came to the end of the rope before his feet touched the bottom. He had no strength left to climb back up, and to drop down into the darkness seemed a certain way to be dashed to pieces. He held on until it was impossible to hold any longer, then had to drop into the blackness. He fell a mere three inches to the solid rock bottom!

Friends, are you afraid to take the step of faith? Does it seem too sudden, like a leap in the dark? Do you not know that the step of faith always "falls on a seeming void but finds a rock beneath"? If you are ever saved, you must take that step. No other path will lead you to life eternal. Do it now, save yourself years of disappointment and grief by moving out in faith and surrender to Christ. You will feel His everlasting arms about you, and He will hold you up and save you now.

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