We are an odd lot. We hear God’s Word and respond to it saying we want to follow it; we ‘repent’ of our sins. We may be in a small group of two or more, or we may be alone, on our knees but with that final “Amen” we close our Bible, our daily devotional, wipe our face, blow our nose, and continue on with life as if nothing had happened. Sometimes we will remark to a friend, “I don’t know, Nancy, I pray and pray but I feel like they don’t get any higher than the ceiling.” Even if we try to figure out why, we don’t always recognize the reason or if we do, we dismiss is because it is something we do not want to face, give up, walk away from. I battle with such sin all the time. If it is, and it always is, doing something our way rather than His way, we are out of His will and then we are in sin. It is not intentional, at least until we recognize the behavior and refuse to change.
We often look at purging this behavior or thinking pattern as “giving it up” which implies a loss; we fail to recognize what we will gain in a closer walk with Jesus and allowing Him to bless us. . When you “give up” something to draw closer to God, you are giving nothing up; you are making a choice, you are choosing God.
“13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
The Book of Acts states one should not present him/her members (body and all its parts) as instruments for sin (unrighteousness). That means we need to deal with the sin in our life first. When we cast off the weight, the guilt, the loss of communion with the Christ, the Son of God, the Maker of the Universe that came with that sinful act, He can and will bless us in so many wonderful ways.
This is where I start to get excited and my serious language goes right out the window. When we exchange our rebelliousness, our stubbornness for obedience to His will for us we receive a peace that truly surpasses all understanding. We receive a joy that cannot be taken away by the most challenging of life events.
You see, God, Jesus, so loves you and me. He wants to bless us, but we have to put ourselves in a position where we can receive that gift. He never tires of blessing us, he never tires of forgiving us for with each baby step we take, He shows us yet another area where we need to submit to Him.
Submission. Even as adults we bridle at the word. Our jaws set, our backs become stiff, we are so like Frank Sinatra’s song; “My Way.” Our desire to do it “our way” is what leads us to that discussion in the beginning of this article. It is such a hard, hard thing to do. Just watch your teenager or remember how they were. It was a daily fight, was it not? Yet we act that same exact way when Jesus shows us His will.
Do this with me. Close your eyes and imagine you are lying in soft grass, the singing of the birds in the nearby trees and the gentle gurgling of the brook that runs with clean, cool water lull you to relax. Your shoulders that were so tight start to loosen, your neck … oh that feels so good. Now little by little the muscles in your lower back relax. That pain you had been dealing with? That’s the one, right … there; it’s gone. The scents of the flowers growing near by, the gentle bird calls, the babbling of the brook with an occasional splash as a rainbow trout leaps out of the water have so drawn you in that pain and discomfort you have come to accept as normal are gone! Now your thighs relax, your knees (oh and how they have ached). even the calves of your legs, your ankles, your toes. You wiggle your toes in that soft grass, loving the feel of it against your bare feet. Keeping your eyes closed you stretch out your arms and feel nature rejuvenate your spirit. You never want to leave this heavenly place.
Something is nearby, not threatening, not dangerous, just there. You slowly open your eyes and see the most beautiful blue sky you have ever seen; you turn your head and there, there is a deer! You lay quietly but she does not seem afraid. The both of you are at peace and she moves closer, closer yet. Her nose bumps your head and you feel a thrill as she languidly investigates your hair, your face, and then moves a few steps over to drink from that cool, clean water. You lie there never ever wanting to leave. This, this is your place beside still waters. This is the peace you have always sought. This is the gift of submission to Jesus.
What I described is my special place, I get to visit there so seldom because I am so busy doing things my way rather than God’s way. Oh what fools we are!
Do you want that special place? Determine to submit. Make Psalm 19 your matra. Memorize it, tape it to your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, your door. Pray it, drop to your knees and pray it, remember it. Submission is not a bad thing, not when it comes to Jesus Christ. Practice it, let Him bless you.
Not it is up to you …
1-2 Job, you challenged Almighty God;
will you give up now, or will you answer?