Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
What is submission? It is not a popular word. To submit means to give over or yield to the power or authority of another. It means to present for approval, consideration or decision of another. Our life is to be fully submitted to the Lord. It is the next step after repentance and the turning from sin and rebellion to righteousness and obedience before the Lord. You cannot received the fulfillment of salvation without submission to God. Trust in the Lord with all your heart means that we do not “lean on” human understanding any longer but base the decisions in our life on the knowledge, wisdom and understanding that God’s Word and His Spirit produce in us. In order to have God’s Plan and His Will for our life, we must submit to Him.
Many folks desire submission to the Lord but cannot tolerate the inconvenience, uncomfortableness, and weakness that comes with it. In order to submit my life fully to the Lord, it is to surrender my way completely. To trust the Lord with all of my heart and not the pieces that get broken off along the way. Submission to the Lord creates vulnerability as it requires more and more until our heart is fully invested. Human pride must be crucified with our flesh in order to become one with the Lord. We say that we want to trust the Lord with all of our heart but do we really mean it?
James 4:6-8 (NIV) But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Then redirects us to the statement just before it. He gives us ore grace. Who? Those who are humble have the favor of God but He absolutely opposes the proud. Is it possible to think our life is submitted to the Lord yet live in religious pride and arrogance? Absolutely. Many people do. Interested in the Power of God and His Hand they are not interested in investing their life in knowing His Heart and becoming one with Jesus. This is called doubleminded. It comes with a warning. We must wash our hands and purify our hearts as we lift them in full-submission to the Lord. In return, He releases grace and favor which are absolutely essential in our pursuit of Him.
Proverbs 3:7-8 (NIV) Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
There is a difference in confident hope and religious pride. As believers, it is important that our wisdom is based on the Word of God and our way is directed by the Will of God. Our respect for the Lord will separate us from evil as we consecrate our life in full submission to the Lord. It actually has the power to renew us from the inside out. How can I determine if my life is submitted to the Lord genuinely? Perhaps if we inspected the spiritual fruit of our life, it might allow us to see what is feeding our life? Spiritual fruit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Those who are fully connected to Jesus Christ will bear much fruit but apart from Him can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV) Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
To honor the Lord with our wealth goes beyond a monetary contribution. The wealth of our life is the Fruit of God’s Spirit as listed previously. If we are not producing these very important fruits then we have nothing of worth to offer a lost and dying people in a forsaken world. They do not need a handout they need God’s Love. If we are unable to be productive in our life with Christ, what do we have to offer? I can browbeat people. I can scare the “hell” right out of them so that they change their habits and try to live the right way. Obedience is not the way of salvation. Submission is the way of salvation.
Have you ever been wandering the aisles of the grocery store to find hostesses at kiosks along the way with hats and aprons offering a sample of certain products? They will offer you a sample to taste and put a coupon in your hand to purchase the product. Genius! Whoever came up with this idea was absolutely a marketing genius. “Taste and see that the Lord is good blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8). The fruit of our life is the offering given to others to show them God’s Love and His Grace. We honor God with our wealth not only in our giving physically but our giving supernaturally to others. To share the Love of God we have been given.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV) My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Submission will require discipline along the way. Our flesh will always rise up against submission and God’s Discipline or Guidance through life. It does not want to die. But if we are not disciplined, we are not loved. To be undisciplined is to be considered illegitimate meaning that we are not Children of God as once thought. He loves us too much to allow us to live without correction. He is a Good Father who loves His Children.
Proverbs 3:13-18 (NIV) Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
A philosophy of life that I share with my children is that to make a mistake is not fatal. It only becomes tragic when we gain no wisdom from it. Blessed are those who find wisdom. We must gain understanding for it is the wealth of life. Wisdom gives us long life in one hand and riches and honor in the other. Her ways are called pleasant. Her pathway is peace. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who hold on to her tightly. Those who do are blessed. I wonder what might happen if our pursuit of wisdom today took us down the road called submission. What if we truly understood what it meant to fully submit and surrender all of our heart to Jesus?
Romans 8:6-8 (NIV) The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Submission to God is a mindset. Why do I say that? Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding in ALL YOUR WAYS SUBMIT TO HIM. Trusting the Lord with all our heart and not leaning on our own understanding to guide and direct us through life is submission. We are warned in James about “double-minded” people. Godly submission is different than religious pride. There is a fine line between confident hope and arrogance. We must daily seek to submit our heart, mind, body and soul to Jesus Christ.
How do we submit to an unseen God? Well, the Word of God is quite detailed in its explanation. True surrender and submission to the Lord is evidenced in one’s ability to submit to authority. All authority in life, good or bad, is placed by the Lord and should be honored with submission. (Romans 13:4-5) It is important to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ not worthiness of character. (Ephesians 5:21)
We must be careful not to be caught up in the Power of God but committed to the submission of heart to Jesus every single day. Religiosity will draw our focus from Jesus to things like the power manifested in a ministry or the angels all around. Where is your focus today? On the miracles, signs and wonders, or the Person of Jesus Christ? It matters. The Power of God accessible in a believer’s life is “heady” and personal. It manifests from the Spirit within us so discernment is required. If we do not live fully submitted and surrendered to the Holy Spirit humbly before the Lord, we are in danger of falling from our high place. One must remember especially in ministry that it is not that spirits submit to us but that we are surrendered to God and saved that really matters. (Luke 10:19-20) To know what we are producing, we must examine the fruit of our life. Anyone can lose their connection to Christ. His Grace allows full restoration? We must all live under this warning – “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.” (Colossians 2:18-19)
Matthew 8:7-10 (NIV) Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
A long time ago, a good friend told me that I must submit to my husband. I was angry at her words. She was given me godly instruction that made my flesh really, really mad. But the Holy Spirit inside of me took that Word and began to work it through my heart and mind. Have you ever read the book, “Green Eggs and Ham”? I felt like at every turn the Lord kept offering me this thing called submission. It was not palatable. I did not like it. I did not want it. Thanks but no thanks. But just as the Dr. Seuss concluded, he just had to try it. Well, I cannot necessarily say that I always find submission palatable at first. There is a story written in Matthew 8 that is one of my favorites in all the Bible. It is about the centurion and his faith. He believed Jesus at His Word. He understood the authority of Christ because he was not only a soldier submitted to his commanders but a commander with committed soldiers. Submission is our commitment to trust the Lord with every expectation in our life. It is to surrender before we understand and work to gain wisdom. We all need wisdom, understanding, and discernment. We must understand the importance of submission to get the same response as the centurion. “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Submission is a requirement of faith. It is by faith that we are saved. Salvation requires submission.
Today I must evaluate the relationships in my life and determine if I am fully submitted to the authorities in it. I must examine my connection to everyone else to see if I am submitted to them out of reverence to Christ. A lack of submission is spiritual rebellion that demands a change to be righted. It is not lip service but life service. If I truly love and respect the Presence of Jesus Christ in my life – I must learn to live in a life of submission. To be productive in Christ and His Spirit is a submissive trait. It will require a lot of grace to get right. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Lord, be it unto me as I learn to submit my life to you more and more each day. Jesus I want to trust you with all my heart today.
I Peter 5:5-11 (NIV) In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.