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Embracing Who We Really Are
D.L. Moody, while on his European crusade in 1873, was so inspired by a conversation he had with British revivalist Henry Varley that he prayed:
“The world has yet to see what God can do with, and for, and through, and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. By God’s help, I am to be that man.”
This is the essence of the desire to be all God created you to be— to be “all in for Him,” as they say. The problem is, after we conjure up the desire, we come face-to-face with the “how to.” In other words, how do I surrender my life to the Lord? How do I yield everything to him? And how do I live a truly sanctified, higher Christian life?
In any other endeavor, we would find someone who is where we want to be and model our lives after them. But we live in the Laodicean church age, and sold-out Believers are few, especially in the West. So what are we to do? What’s the next step? And is there anything we can learn about surrender from even the obscure passages in Scripture that point us in the right direction?
What Does it Mean to be God’s Servant?
After God gave David rest from all his enemies and after he consolidated the kingdom to himself, David made what he thought was a pretty good request from the Lord. After all, he reasoned, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains” (2 Sam. 7:2), and we can’t have that. So he decided, after receiving less than stellar advice from the prophet Nathan, to take it upon himself to build a dwelling place for God, or more specifically, for the Ark of the Covenant. And, on the surface, it seemed like a good idea, even somewhat noble.
But God was not amused, for neither David nor Nathan had sought the Lord in this matter.
In fact, God rebuked David twice for forgetting who he was as God’s servant, or “slave” (doúlos)— which, by definition, makes God the Lord and Master of all, including David. So, in response to God’s stinging censure, David humbled himself profoundly before God’s rebuke. He owned his true identity as a “servant” or “slave” (doúlos), and acknowledged it ten times in his brief exchange with God (vv. 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29). That’s ten times in just eleven verses.
So, what transformed David’s perspective? He simply recognized his true identity before God— not as a self-made king, but as a submitted servant or faithful slave (doúlos) to the Lord.
David’s example highlights that discipleship stems from knowing we belong wholly to God. As Paul wrote, “You are not your own… you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Have we grasped this liberating truth? We cannot experience God’s depths while still stubbornly clinging to personal rights and claims over our lives. True freedom, paradoxically, comes through bonding ourselves permanently to our Master as His faithful servant, longing for Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant (doúlos)” (Matt. 25:21). Remember, God did not save us to be independent contractors employed in His service. He has something much greater in mind.
Just like assuming a new family name changes the way we view ourselves, likewise, our core identity in Christ transforms how we approach life. Living “all-in” starts by accepting that we now belong to Another— to Someone far greater than we can imagine.
Time to Re-Calibrate Your Identity
Perhaps it’s time to let Him recalibrate your identity like He did David. His Word invites us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice… and be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:1-2). When we grasp God’s complete right to direct us, surrendering fully becomes the only reasonable response. It is a natural outflow from the identity we now embrace— a faithful slave to the Most High King.
Let God begin the transformation of your identity today.