Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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The Battle for Control

Dannah Gresh: Decades ago a popular song gave words to the battle for control between men and women in dating relationships.

You don’t own me. I’m not just one of your many toys.

Dannah: But that song could also reflects the attitude that many people have toward God.

You don’t own me. Don’t say I can’t go with other boys.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: How many of you are familiar with that song?

Dannah: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth played that song at a gathering of women not long ago.

Nancy: Lots of hands. You’re dating yourselves.

Dannah: The song is called . . .

Nancy: “You Don’t Own Me”

Dannah: Sung by Lesley Gore.

Nancy: A popular song. I think it was number two on the charts in 1964.

You don’t own me. Don’t try to change me in any way.

Nancy: That song quintessentially expressed the mindset of the early 60s, didn’t it? “You don’t own me. I’m not just one of your many toys. Don’t say I can’t go with other boys. Don’t tell me what to do. Don’t tell me what to say.”

Don’t tie me down 'cause I’d never stay.

Nancy: “Don’t try to change me in any way.”

Don’t tell me what to do. Don’t tell me what to say.

Nancy: “I’m free, and I love to be free, to live my life the way I want, to say and do whatever I please. Don’t tell me what to do.”

I’m young and I love to be out. I’m free and I love to be free, to live my life the way I want, to say and do whatever I please.

Nancy: Now that may have been popular in 1964, but am I right in saying that that is essentially the mantra of every human heart in every era? “Don’t tell me what to do.” Well, the gospel calls us to a mindset that is totally contrary to that way of thinking.

Dannah: We’re about to explore that gospel-centered way of thinking on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. It's Monday, April 12, 2021. I'm Dannah Gresh.

Don’t tell me what to do, what to do, what to do . . .

Friend, you may know that we are in our twentieth year of ministry at Revive Our Hearts. For twenty years we’ve been saying, “Yes, Lord” as we walk in faith and obedience, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Over these years, God has used this ministry to draw women to His heart. We’ve had the privilege of watching women hold up their “white flag” of surrender as they relinquish control over their lives. They say “yes” to the Lord’s will, to whatever He has for this day, this season, and this life. As a ministry, we are still saying, “Yes, Lord” twenty years later. We hope that’s the cry of your heart, too.

Today, Nancy is taking us through a declaration of surrender to the Lord. It comes from the True Woman Manifesto, which is made up of principles from Scripture to help us discover and embrace what it means to live as a Christian woman. The Manifesto contains fifteen statements that express our desire to be true women of God by His grace who live in humble dependence on His power. Let’s listen as Nancy takes us through this point of the True Woman Manifesto.

Nancy: We’ve been looking at the True Woman Manifesto, and we’ve been saying that we declare our desire and intent to be true women of God by His grace and in humble dependence on His power. We will . . . and then we’re looking at fifteen statements that express how we will live in accordance with what we’ve said we affirm.

We’re talking today about the second “we will” statement.

We will gladly yield control of our lives to Christ as Lord—we will say, “Yes, Lord” to the Word and the will of God.

What a contrary message to what we just heard: “You don’t own me. Don’t tell me what to do.” We’re saying we are glad to be owned by Christ, and we will say, “Yes, Lord” to Him.

I was working on this program when I had some guests in my home. The mom who has a number of little children said to her five-year-old little girl, “Don’t do that.” Then she saw that her little girl wasn’t paying attention, and the mom said, “Yes, mom.” Now what she meant when she said, “Yes, mom,” was, “Tell me that you heard what I said. Acknowledge that you heard it and that you’re agreeing to it and that you agree that if you don’t agree, there will be consequences.” That’s all in, “Yes, mom.”

I thought about that one because I was working on this session about saying, “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. We heard what You said. We are acknowledging that You said it, and we’re agreeing to live by it.” This “we will” statement says we will gladly yield control of our lives.

When we talk about submission to Christ as Lord, surrender to Him, we’re not talking about something that’s coerced. We’re saying it is a privilege. It is a blessing to live under His control. For many reasons, but not the least of which is that like sheep, we are stupid. We need leadership. We need oversight. We’re not wise enough to run our own lives.

Now this “we will” statement—“We will gladly yield control of our lives to Christ as Lord”—flows out of the one we talked about the last time, which is love for God. We will seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. You cannot separate submission to God from love for God. That’s why we started with love for God because when you love Him with all your heart, then it will not be a burden. It will not be a threat to bring your life under His lordship.

There’s a great picture of that in Exodus chapter 21, beginning in verse 2. This is back in the Old Testament law. It’s just a picture of what we’re talking about. The passage says in verse 2,

When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. . . . But if the slave plainly says, “I love my master . . . I will not go out free,” then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the door post. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever” (vv. 2, 5–6).

A bondslave. Here’s a servant who says after six years, “I am free to go, but I love my master. He has provided for me. He has met my needs. He is a good master, and I want to stay in his service forever.” And he became a bondslave.

We are called to be bondslaves of Jesus Christ. “Yes, Lord, what is Your pleasure? What is Your will? What do you want me to do with my life? You are in control.” But we give Him that control, we yield that control to Him as Lord with hearts that realize that He has loved us, He has provided for us, He has met our needs and our surrender to Him is a response of love. I love my Master.

Are there things about the Christian life that I find hard or challenging or distasteful at times? Of course. Are there things that God asks me to do that I’d rather not do? Of course. My flesh often goes contrary to the will of God. But I’ll tell you what, ladies. When it comes down to it, I love my Master. I know that if He gives me direction, He knows it’s for my good. It’s for my best interest. I trust Him. I trust His heart.

I have said to my Master going back to when I was a little girl, by the time I was five or six years old, there was this conscious awareness that He is Lord. He is my Lord. I have said to Him, "I want to be your bondslave for the rest of my life."

Now, have there been moments when I would like to have taken that back for a little bit? Of course. But God always keeps bringing me back to this point. I love my Master, and I want to be His bondslave. I will gladly yield control to Him. The basis for this "Yes, Lord" mindset, this surrendered way of thinking is that we trust God. We believe that He is God, that His Word is true, that His ways are good, that His will is best.

That really is the heart of the matter when it comes to surrender to Christ as Lord.

  • Do you trust Him?
  • Do you believe that He loves you?
  • Do you believe that He has your best interests at heart, that He would never do anything but what is best for you?

That’s why it’s so important that we get to know who God is. You can’t trust someone that you don’t know. If your view of God is skewed or distorted or wrong, you don’t realize how wise He is, how loving He is, how trustworthy He is, then you’re going to always be wondering why would I trust Him enough to yield control to Him.

I would say, by the way, to you younger women (I’m so glad to see some younger girls with us today). I can remember being at your season of life and in the journey, as I still am, of getting to know God. But there’s so much more I know about Him today than I did back then. It took faith to say, “Lord, what I know of You, I trust. What I know of You, I will submit myself to.” But I’m so thankful I’ve been on a journey of getting to know Him better because the better I know Him, the more I realize He really is worthy of my trust and my wholehearted surrender.

There’s such a battle for control that goes on in our hearts, isn’t there? We will gladly yield control of our lives. Even that wording suggests that it’s not always easy. Sometimes our will conflicts with His will. As you read the Scripture, you see that the wind, the waves, nature, demons obey His Word. How can we resist Him?

Every part, every area of my life is to be under the control of His Spirit. Is there any area of your life where you haven’t yielded control, where you are reserving the right to make the final decision? Any area of your life? We will yield control to Christ as Lord.

That, by the way, is the number one cutting-edge commitment. We have twelve of them in our ministry—Life Action Ministries and Revive Our Hearts. We call them cutting-edge commitments. The number one cutting-edge commitment of this ministry is the Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture. Here’s how it reads:

Our lives and ministry must be built on a non-negotiable, lifetime commitment to the lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture. His Word must determine our philosophy, direct our decision making, and reign supreme over every area of our lives.

That’s just a way of stating what this statement is in the True Woman Manifesto. "We will gladly yield control of our lives to Christ as Lord."

Now, we need to remind ourselves that He is Lord. We’re not making Him Lord. He is Lord. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Jesus said in Matthew chapter 28, verse 18. In his message on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36 NIV).

Now if Jesus is Lord, and He is, the implication of that is that He deserves our absolute unquestioning obedience. We have to do what He says to do. Jesus asked in Luke chapter 6, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but you don’t do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46 paraphrased). You see, it doesn’t do any good to say, "Yes, Lord," as we encourage women to say in this ministry and at our True Woman conferences. We say, "Yes, Lord, yes, Lord." But it doesn’t do any good to say those words if in your heart you’re not yielding control to Him as Lord.

By the way, the great model of this is the obedience of Christ to the will of His Father. He gladly yielded control. He submitted to the will of His Father. Psalm chapter 40 (also repeated in the book of Hebrews), “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart"'" (Psalm 40:7–8). Jesus said, “God, I love You and I delight to do Your will. Your law is within my heart. I have a heart for Your law.”

That’s the example we have in Christ. As He moves in us and fills us, He will put His law within our hearts. He will give to us not just a grudging obedience to God’s law and to God’s ways, but a delight to do the will of God.

I should point out that this heart to yield control to Christ as Lord is an evidence of true salvation. If you’re not saying, "Yes, Lord" with your lips and with your life, you have no basis to have assurance that you are a child of God. So often today we have people in our churches who are living in willful, known, unrepented of sin, yet claiming to be Christians.

Some of you have children who are prodigals and they’re living in willful sin, perhaps they live an immoral lifestyle, living in overt, known rebellion. But you’re saying, “Oh, they made a decision for Christ when they were three years old. I know my child’s a Christian. I’m just praying he’ll come back to God.” Your child may not be a Christian at all. Don’t assume that your child is a Christian or your mate or yourself if there’s no evidence that you have a heart to say, "Yes, Lord," to obey God.

What you may need to be praying for your mate or your child is, “Lord, bring them to recognize that they are not a Christian, that they need to be born again, that they are lost.” Don’t let them be resting on a false assurance, professing something that there is no evidence that they possess.

You see, when we say that a person can make a decision for Christ and then live any way they want to live, we’re implying that salvation is a profession at a point in time that doesn’t necessarily change the way you live, that doesn’t require surrendering your life to Christ as Lord. Sadly, this has been characteristic of so much evangelism that’s been done in the last century. As a result, there are millions and millions of people in this country, people in your church and mine, who think that they are Christians but who really are not. There’s no heart to obey God.

Now some of you are saying, “Oh, I’ve disobeyed God. Are you saying I’m not a Christian?” First of all, I can’t tell you whether you’re a Christian or not. I can also tell you that if you are a Christian, there will be times when you disobey God. What I’m saying is if you don’t have any bent, any inclination in your heart to obey His Word, then you have no basis for assurance that you are a child of God.

Here’s how we know that we know Him, if we have a heart to keep His commandments. Now to say "yes" to Christ as Lord, to say, "Yes, Lord," it requires faith. Because on the front end when you’re facing a decision or an issue in your life, all you can see is the downside, the pain, the cost, the negatives, the fears, the loss, the hard place. If I say, "Yes, Lord"—I’m looking at some single women in this room—maybe He’ll never let me get married, or maybe He won’t let me marry the person I want to marry.

Or if I say, "Yes, Lord, my life is Yours; my body is Yours," maybe He won’t let me have children, or maybe He’ll give me a lot of children. Maybe He’ll send me to . . . and you name whatever it is that’s the worst place you can think of on earth that you don’t want to go. Maybe God will make me do this or won’t let me do this. I won’t have any fun, or I will be miserable.

There are fears. We have to face those fears with faith and faith helps us to see that on the other side of obedience there is always joy. There are treasures. There are pleasures. There are riches. There’s a place of abundance. Now, I didn’t say it’s an easy life because there’s no easy life this side of heaven. But there is joy that comes after we step into the pathway of obedience and say, "Yes, Lord," regardless of what we feel, what we think, what we want, and we let Him be Lord.

Remember that this is not a one-time choice, not a one-time decision to say, "Yes, Lord." Saying, "Yes, Lord," is a way of life. Saying it many times, daily, it’s an ongoing thing in life as God brings new things into our lives and new seasons of life. Say, "Yes, Lord." Surrendering to the ways of God sometimes may involve tragedy and loss and pain and mysteries that we can’t explain.

Saying "yes" to the will of God. That might be motherhood. It might be saying "yes" to singleness. It might be saying "yes" to infertility. It might be saying "yes" to stay in a difficult marriage. It might be saying "yes" to vocational ministry. But it’s knowing that God is good. He is God. His ways are best.

So the heart of a true woman is the heart of Mary of Nazareth who said, “I am the Lord’s handmaiden. I am the Lord’s bondservant. May it be to me as you have said,” Luke chapter 1, verse 38 (paraphrased). "Yes, Lord."

The call every day as true women is to bow the knee. I try to do that, by the way, once a day. I have for many years. Many times, most of the time it is just very quickly, but just to bow the knee before the Lord. Usually it’s the last thing before I go to bed at night. To bow literally, physically before Him just as a way physically of saying what I want to be true of my heart: "Yes, Lord. I surrender. I gladly yield control of my life to You as Lord. I wave the white flag of surrender. I want to acknowledge Your lordship of my life."

If the world’s song is “You Don’t Own Me; Don’t Tell Me What to Do,” the song of the redeemed heart is seen perhaps in the words of Frances Havergal written in 1874. “Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”

[Chris Tomlin singing]

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing always only for the King.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold, not a mite will I withhold.
Take my intellect and use every power as you choose.

Here am I, here am I. All of me, all of me.
Take my life, take my life. It’s all for Thee, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine. It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thy own. It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour at your feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be ever only all for Thee.
Take myself and I will be ever only all for Thee.

Dannah: Chris Tomlin singing "Take My Life and Let It Be." Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been quoting that hymn and showing us the importance of the heart behind that song. Nancy will be right back.

I hope your heart has been stirred to say, “Yes, Lord,” today, and for the rest of your life. As Nancy explained, we say “yes” to obey Him out of delight and love for Him. We say "yes" to His will knowing that He is in control, and we can really trust Him.

Our team recently created a set of Heaven Rules Note Cards to remind you of this truth. Each of the twelve note cards in the set has a different inspirational message and verse from Scripture to remind you of God’s providence. These are a great way to encourage those around you, to reach out and remind them of the hope and comfort that’s found in Jesus.

We’d love to send you this set of the new Heaven Rules Note Cards when you give a gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. It’s one way we can say "thank you" for supporting this ministry. Just go to ReviveOurHearts.com to donate, or call us at 1–800–569–5959 and request the Heaven Rules Note Cards.

Can Jesus be your Savior but not your Lord? Some people think so, but Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says you can’t separate those terms so easily. She’ll explain what it means that Jesus is Lord. That’s tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts. Now, here's Nancy to pray.

Nancy: Let’s bow our hearts for just a moment of prayer and in this quiet moment I wonder if you just need to say, "Yes, Lord." Wave that white flag of surrender in your heart and say, "Lord, I don’t understand all that You’re asking of me. I don’t know where all of it will lead, and by faith I want to surrender my life, this season, myself, every part of me, gladly yield control of my life to You as Lord."

Take our lives, Lord, and let them be set apart, consecrated for You. Take our time, our bodies, our appetites, our affections, our free time, our jobs, our finances, our sexual lives, relationships, everything, Lord, take it all. Take our hearts and let them be wholly devoted to You. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to experience the joy that comes when you say "yes" to the Lord. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

"You Don't Own Me." Lesley Gore. The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore. 1964 John Madara, Dave White Tricker.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.