The term submission is typically brought up in relation to obedience to God and compromise in marriage (by not being selfish). But, there is a lot more to it. We submit ourselves to our jobs, our life schedules, the law, and many other things in life.
Some of us are great at submission. The people who do well academically, those who excel physically and athletically understand the art of submission. Think about people who are full of peace and joy and all the fruit of the Spirit. Anyone who has achieved greatness and success, in any area of their lives, have submitted themselves to the process that was necessary to attain it.
If we want to have physical health we have to submit to proper diet and exercise. If we want to be a great athlete, we have to submit to training and consistent practice. If we want to have financial success, we have to submit to a budget to save and invest. The principal of submission works across the board. When we decide to do something, we have decided to submit to it.
Submission is Beautiful, Embrace It.
For many of us, submission is a dirty word. For me, it was literally cringeworthy. For as long as I could remember, I was rebellious and wanted to do my own thing. I rationalized that as a human being of sound mind I should be able to act and do as I saw fit.
This didn’t go over well.
I ended up wasting a lot of time and went through a lot of pain because I didn’t want to submit to anything. I thought I was independent and free-spirited when actually I was undisciplined and unfocused.
Not that there was a lack of desire or motivation – I have always been driven – but I didn’t get as far as I could have because I hated submission. I didn’t even realize that I was dealing with this subtle resistance. I was deceiving myself by thinking I could have success without submitting to discipline.
How many of us are not where we know we should be because we refuse to submit to anything?
Submission Beautifies Our Spiritual and Natural Lives
The Bible says in Psalm 128:2, “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you”. Psalm 90:17 says, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands”. Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty”. Romans 12:11 says, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit…”.
As we can see, our spiritual and mental lives are impacted by submission just like our natural lives. When we submit our heart, mind, and soul to the will of God, we bear all the fruit of the Spirit. If there is any emotional instability, then work to submit your mind to what the Word says. Then, the joy of the Lord will be your strength (Psalm 28:7).
Depression, fear, torment, confusion – they all must be submitted to the Lord. Here is a paradox: Submission is the key to happiness and success; even though submission may feel like a prison, it brings us into freedom both spiritually and naturally. The world glorifies self-will and independence, but the Word says that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Reasons Why We Resist Submission
There are different reasons why we struggle to submit, but I believe it’s based in pride and arrogance. Submission takes humility. Rebellion tells us that we don’t need the process, that we’re smart enough to do it our own way. So, we start and stop project after project, unable to commit to anything but our own whims.
We follow our heart and allow the way we feel to dictate what we do. The worst part about living this way is the condemnation that comes with the impulsive decisions we make.
I want to challenge anyone struggling to submit to repent and humble themselves to the process of development. We can do this! After you set your mind to change, the Lord will lead you in the next steps that you should take.
He led me to first change my eating. It’s a very basic first step in conditioning my body to have self-control and submit to the requirements of good health.
After eating clean for a few weeks, the Lord had me create a detailed schedule. I schedule time to do everything from studying to self-care and everything in between. This is the way that I am going to hold myself accountable. I’m just getting started and I don’t know what God will have me do next, but I know that if I want real change I have to start with submission.
I confess that I am afraid of failure and disappointment. I worry that I’ll never get it right, but God keeps reminding me that I’m not in this alone. He is my very present help and I have to rely on Him completely every step of the way.
When we finally discover our thorn we begin to fully appreciate our need for God and His grace.
So, What’s the Play Call?
- Remember that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
- Co-labor with God to overcome rebellion and self-reliance.
- If we submit ourselves to God, He promised us joy, abundance, and good success.