The Bible speaks often of submission. What is submission? Submission is the lowering of self. It is placing oneself under the authority and/or needs, desires, wants of another. Oftentimes, people are forced to submit. But the submission the Bible champions is a VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION. As disciples of Jesus, we are called on to choose to submit ourselves to God and, when God commands, to people.
Submission is essential! Without submission, governments cannot function, teams cannot perform, businesses cannot produce, families cannot remain cohesive, churches cannot fulfill their purpose in God’s kingdom, and so on. Voluntary submission, in essence, is simply HUMILITY IN ACTION!
Submission is also a FAITH ISSUE! It is easy to say that one has faith in God. However, if one truly has faith, then one trusts God enough to submit to his commands. Even more challenging, one is also willing to trust God enough to submit to the people God requires. (We will look more at this topic in coming weeks.)
WHY AND HOW WE ARE TO SUBMIT TO GOD!
Read HEBREWS 5:7-9. Why were Jesus’ prayers heard by God? What was the result of Jesus’ submission to God? Jesus became something via submission to his Father. In the same way, God is trying to make you into something. What role might submission to God play in this process? Can God (or anyone, for that matter) lead you if you are not willing to submit to his authority?
It also says that Jesus became a “source of eternal salvation” as a result of submitting to God. Do you believe God wants to work through you to be a source of eternal salvation for others? Can you think of scriptures to support your answer? How submitted is your life to the calling to go and make disciples?
Read JAMES 4:1-10. Note 4 areas in which this passage implies we are to submit to God.
4:1-2 > SUBMIT ONE’S WILL TO GOD! Are there any areas in your life in which you have not surrendered your will to God? In which you still find yourself more attached to your own agenda than compelled to serve God and his purpose?
4:3 > SUBMIT ONE’S PRAYERS! When you pray, is it predominantly a practice aimed at moving God to do what you want… fulfill your desires… bring to pass your ambitions and objectives? Or do you offer your petitions surrendered to and desiring that, more than anything, God work his will and purpose through you and your life’s circumstances? Do you pray, “Father, not my will, but yours be done…” and “Thy kingdom come…” type prayers? (Matthew 26:36-42; 6:10)
4:4-5 > SUBMIT ONE’S VALUES! As disciples, we must choose a value system! God’s or the world’s! Which one have you chosen? Which one did you choose today? Which one will you choose tomorrow and the next day? (1 John 2:15-17; Matthew 10:7-10)
4:7-10 > SUBMIT ONE’S WHOLE SELF! As disciples, we must surrender our whole selves. We must “wash our hands” (repent in our actions)! We must “purify our hearts” (repent in our attitudes)! We must stop being “double-minded” (repent in our thinking)! Are we truly focused on God more than anything, or have we allowed the pace of life to push him aside? When we fail to read his word, pray, attend a meeting of the body, get some time with another disciple, text or call others, etc., is it really just a scheduling issue, or have we allowed ourselves to be consumed by thorns? (Matthew 13:18-23)
According to verse 10, what does God ultimately long to do? How might submission to him be essential to this end?