Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
“It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.”
1 Samuel 3: 18
The above words were uttered by Eli, the high priest in Israel, to Samuel, after Samuel revealed to him that sore punishment would come upon Eli’s house and upon Israel because of the wickedness of Eli’s two sons (1 Samuel 2: 12-22). This language expressed Eli’s resignation to the Lord’s will in the matter.
Resignation may be defined as a meek, longsuffering, forbearing and heartily willing submission to, and acceptance of, untoward and unavoidable experiences. Christian resignation must say and act from the heart, “Thy will, not mine, be done!” Such resignation shows an advanced stage of Christian character development.
The Circumstances of Resignation
The circumstances amid which one is called upon to exercise resignation are: (1) circumstances of trial; (2) circumstances of chastisement; and (3) circumstances of temptation. The Lord requires that we practice resignation: (1) for His sake to satisfy Him that we have this grace before He can entrust us with a position that requires its possession; (2) for our sake that we may demonstrate under trial that we have it to fit us for a position in which it is indispensable for its proper exercise; and (3) for others’ sake that they may receive from us what they need in a helper.
The Advantages of Resignation
God gets advantages from resignation, for it inures to His glory; it enhances His pleasure; it advances His cause; it foils His enemies; it reveals certain features of His spirit by acts; and it occasions others to cooperate in effecting these things for God. Resignation is advantageous to the individual who exercises it, for it is a precious part of one’s character; it decreases the difficulties of our narrow way; it helps our other graces to develop; it eases one’s trials, helps bear one’s chastisements and overcomes one’s temptations; it helps commend one to God; makes him fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life; and it helps one carry out his consecration, especially that part that requires endurance of evil for Christ’s sake. Finally, it is advantageous to others who see it exercised, for it gives them an example to imitate and encourages them to imitate it; it relieves or lightens the burdens of others; and it gives the resigned one opportunities to bless others by services that would not have been rendered if resignation had not been active.
The Abuses and Uses of Resignation
Resignation can be abused by being either overdone or underdone. Overdone resignation is supineness, servility, man-worship, cowardice, laziness, listlessness and backbonelessness. Underdone resignation is insufficient resignation, the spirit of disobedience, the spirit of indocility and headiness, the spirit of unleadableness, the spirit of anger, resentment and wrath, and the spirit of rebellion. Resignation’s primary use is to enable us to respond to the principles and examples of God’s Word, spirit and providences amid untoward and unavoidable experiences.
Resignation’s Enemies and Destruction
Resignation’s chief enemy is Satan. He seeks amid our trials, chastisements and temptations to defeat our resignation. He pits against it sin, error, selfishness and worldliness. Failing in this, he seeks to enlist our fallen flesh by our faults and lacks against it. Failing in this, he appeals to our proper natural affections to defeat it. He seeks to reinforce his previously mentioned means and methods by enlisting the world in our families, business, work, state, church, society, even the flesh of our brethren. The world is an enemy of our resignation, in the sense that its ignorance, superstitions or selfishness arrays them into enmity to us. Our flesh is the most delusive enemy because it seeks to evade the inconveniences and sufferings incidental to our developing and maintaining this grace.
Sometimes resignation is destroyed out of the heart by letting this grace become inactive. Another way is to let a dislike for the untoward and unavoidable conditions calling for resignation to come into our hearts and increase there. A third way of overcoming this or any other grace is by repressing it through any one of the forms of sin, error, selfishness or worldliness, with a mixture of ignorance or weakness and willfulness. A final way of destroying it is suppression, which occurs through willfulness.
Once resignation is tested and victorious it contributes its part to full overcoming, which will be rewarded with a glorious share in God’s coming Kingdom.
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