"SUBMISSION" (Lesson 5)
According to the Strong's Concordance, to be in "submission" means:
1. To subdue unto; to bring under, or submit to one's control. To subdue also means: to obey.
Are we allowing the Lord to bring us to such submission, to bring us under His control? Do we give Him the necessary permission to control our lives? You see, without permission, the Lord will in no way "force" our submission to Him. He, being the gentleman that He is, patiently waits for us to yield to Him, through our own choosing, and in no way, by coercion (force).
2. Submission means to be subject unto.. under the authority, power, and/or rule of.
Again, like discussed in point number 1, are we willingly subject (subjected) to, and submitted to the power, authority and rulership of the Lord, over our lives? Nothing less than such yielding of self, can be considered true subjection, or submission to Him.
3. Submission means to surrender, to relinquish, let go of, release, yield.
So, again, to surrender is to willingly let go of our lives, to a degree that all that is a part of our lives is surrendered into His keeping. That includes everything that has to do with our lives (our spouse, kids, families, friends, where we live, what we drive, where we go, how we spend our time, how we spend our money, our ministries, etc.). Everything is to be placed into the Lord's keeping. Often, we expect such yielded hearts in the lives of others, and yet perhaps we ourselves have not yet willingly yielded our all to the Lord. Before we can expect such yielded hearts in the lives of others, such a yielded heart must first begin within us ... within our own hearts ... within our own inner person. If our heart is not truly yielded to the Lord, what right do we then have to expect such committment of others? Let us first look to ourselves, to our own lives, and pour them fully into the keeping of our Heavenly Father.
Let's now take a look at what God's desire is, regarding our submission to Him. What does His word have to say regarding our life being in submission to Him?
God "commands" us to subject ourselves to, and be under His control, or, walking in obedience to Him. These next few verses, reveal what takes place when we are not subjected to the Lord:
WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. [I John 3:15.] [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love? But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]. (James 4:1-10, Amplified Bible).
The verses we just read, reveal there is only one way to overcome the controlling nature of our flesh, that very nature that is in complete opposition to God, and that one way is ... to be subject to God (verse 7).
As I mentioned earlier, the Lord will not force us to submit ourselves to Him. He didn't do so in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve were concerned, and neither will He do so where we're concerned. He has given us the freedom to choose what path we will take, and whether we will take it with, or without Him. Of course, it's to our best interest to obediently walk with Him, a submitted life to Him, that His promises become a reality in our lives. We cannot continue to follow a life of disobedience, a life that says "no" to God, and expect to see the promises of His holy word, bless our lives.
God's word also has something to say regarding our submitting to His discipline in our lives. If we are truly submitted to Him, then we will be submitted to His discipline and/or His correction. To be His disciple, means to be His learner, His pupil. It also requires that we come under His discipline, and wise are we, if we do so:
The ear that listens to the reproof [that leads to or gives] life will remain among the wise. He who refuses and ignores instruction and correction despises himself, but he who heeds reproof gets understanding. (Prov 15:31-33, Amplified Bible).
Not only must we be placed in subjection to (i.e., in submissive obedience to our Heavenly Father), but to His "chastening" as well, which means: education, training by disciplinary correction and instruction. My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God's children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness--in conformity to God's will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, and cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured. (Heb 12:5b-13, Amplified Bible).
You have commanded us to keep Your precepts, that we should observe them diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed and established to observe Your statutes [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]! Then shall I not be put to shame [by failing to inherit Your promises] when I have respect to all Your commandments. I will praise and give thanks to You with uprightness of heart when I learn [by sanctified experiences] Your righteous judgments [Your decisions against and punishments for particular lines of thought and conduct]. (Psalm 119:4-7 (esp vs. 7), Amplified Bible).
In other words, we are to bring ourselves under His control, and yield to His disciplinary correction, in and for our lives! Why? Once again, Heb 12:9-10 (Amplified Bible) ... so that we may "LIVE"!
Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. (Heb 12:9 Amplified Bible).
This word "live" from the Strongs Concordance means, emphatically, and in the Messianic sense: to enjoy "real" life, that is ... to have "true" life, and life worthy of the (His) name (active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God). Is not then, real life, "HIS" life? Is it not then to walk in, and experience the fulness of His life, His love, His blessings, His promises? Christ is "life", and true life is to be found in Him. May it be Christ Jesus we are in pursuit of! True life can be found in no other!
God also disciplines us that we might become true sons (and daughters) of God, walking a life pleasing to Him (i.e., walking a life after His Spirit, and in so doing, experiencing this "real life").
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom 8:12-14 KJV).
From verse 13 (ye shall live) has the same Greek meaning, as that described, above.
Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Gal 6:8, Amplified Bible).
Please realize, we can experience this "real life" now. We don't have to wait until we walk on "streets of gold". God's promises are for yesterday, today and forever ... now ... today! Yes, today "real life" in Him is available. We only need to willingly submit ourselves into His keeping, and from His loving, caring hand, reap His wonderful blessings, even every promise of His word!
So, to submit to God, I need to yield myself "completely" over to Him. I need to be under His control, authority, power and rule in my life (spirit, soul and body, mind and emotions)! I must let go of, and release to Him, myself, my desires, my ways, my spouse, my children, my home and belongings ... "everything" that belongs to me, for if I have truly given myself, my heart, my life completely to Jesus, then "everything" that belongs to me is no longer mine, but is HIS, for I, and everything to do with me, now belongs to Him.
Scripture teaches I should no longer live my life for self, but rather, I should live my life for Him, who died for me, and rose again.
And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Cor 5:15, KJV)
The word "live" in this verse means: "What thing I am devoted to". Am I "devoted" to Jesus? Are you? I pray it is so!
To be in submission also means to live in obedience to, or to "obey".
Next week: "OBEDIENCE"