How can surrendering your will do God make you free?

Proverbs 3:5-6


5     Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.

        6     In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


How can surrendering the will actually lead to freedom?  That idea seems like an oxymoron when you first think about it.  To give up the will to someone else seems like a loss of freedom, and indeed it would be except in the case that the someone is benevolent toward you, is much wiser than you, and is looking out for you.  In that case, surrendering the will might actually keep you out of a lot of trouble, and open up opportunities for more freedom than not surrendering the will. 

But still, surrendering the will?  We Americans pride ourselves for freedom and independence.  Why would we want to surrender anything, let alone the will?  Wouldn’t that feel oppressive?  Why would we ever do it?

The reality is, we are not the wisest beings, nor even the strongest.  There are other created beings even among us that excel in power and strength, and cunning, and many of them are not benevolent towards us, but malevolent, wishing us harm, and ready to actually take away our freedoms if given the chance.  Their promise of freedom and fun may seem great, and indeed may be fun for awhile, but there is always a price, and to choose against their will will quickly lift the veil to the lie of that promised freedom.  Once under their control, under their influence, the freedom of choice is only toward self-destruction, or to benefit their malevolent causes.  Their allurements are empty and unfulfilling, bringing no real happiness.

But then there is God, who created us to be free from oppression, free from harm, hurt, loneliness, all of the things we dread and fear.  He created us for his government, his environment, to be happy, to live fulfilling and useful lives to the benefit of others.  He asks us to surrender our wills to him because we have been lied to, and separated from him so much, that our natural will is toward the malevolent ones.  If we do surrender our will to God, we will actually experience more freedom, because he will protect us from those who would enslave us, and he never takes away our freedom of choice or does things to harm us or put us into oppression.

Think about it.  When we surrender our will to God, we will become more like him!  Our own natural will will become more in harmony with his will, and our natural choices will be in-line with his, which will result in love and benevolence to everyone around us.  This is what we were created for.  This is what will make us happy.  Surrendering the will to God will never end in oppressiveness, never feel like giving up freedom in the long run.  It might feel like we are giving up big important things now, but then we will realize how small and petty were those things we thought were so grand and difficult to part with.

Ellen White has this to say about making peace with God in the July 6 1904 edition of Signs of the Times article entitled “The Abiding Rest”:

“In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, or dejected by censure or disappointment. Amidst the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage. But many who profess to be His followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him; for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender, they can not find peace.  The abiding rest—the consciousness that God is true—who has it? That rest is found when all self-justification is put away, and an entire surrender is made to Christ, to be and do only what He wills. Those who do not comply with these conditions can not find rest.”

And in The Review and Herald April 12, 1892 article entitled “Sanctification Through The Truth”:

“Every soul who receives the truth should make the fullest possible surrender of himself to God,—a surrender represented as falling upon the Rock and being broken. Our old habits, our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, must all be yielded to the transforming power of Christ if we would become vessels unto honor, [ready] for the Master’s use, prepared unto every good work.”


I’d like to leave you with a few verses in the bible that talk about the surrender of ones will to God:


Psalms 46:10

10         Be still, and know that I am God!


Romans 12:1–2

The New Life in Christ

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.


Matthew 16:24–27

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

Related Information

Sabbath School Superintendant’s Remarks