“What does it mean to Submit to God?”

Date: 11-08-14

Text: — James 4:7-10 — Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  [NIV84]

The Big Idea:  Our God deeply desires for us to follow what He has commanded because He Loves us.

My Thoughts: 

We sing, “He is Lord;” we often speak of His lordship over us, but what does it mean to submit to our Lord? Our God? James makes it clear using a military term in an urgent form in v. 7 “Submit”: “Fall in line; obey His orders.” But we cringe to think that the Holy One would do this…. But again, the Holy Spirit prompted James to use just the right word and form which necessarily implies: “willfully fall it line; choose to obey His orders.”

Do you find it as interesting as I do, Lifestyle worshipers, that James uses the word “God” and not “Lord”? I do. I think it further reinforces this free chose to submit. Our God does not demand we grovel at His feet, constantly begging for mercy. (Boy, I sure need to hear this!) No, rather our God deeply desires for us to follow Him, doing what He has commanded because He Loves us, knowing that it will go well with us and for us.

But what does it mean to submit to God? To me, it first means being available to hear from Him through prayer and His Word. In order to be available, I must make time to do this. Sometimes this requires carving out a moment here or there to read His Word, and particularly in my case, beyond sermon and Bible lesson preparation, but rather merely for my own personal edification.

How about your thoughts on what it means to “Submit to God?”  Care to share?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

— John 8:31-32 (NIV84 emphasis added)

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

—1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV84)

O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.

—Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

Heavenly Father, as I humbly submit to You, I ask the Lord Jesus Christ to empower me through Your Holy Spirit to make time to listen to You both at a special time and throughout the day.  Lord Jesus Christ, through Your power and by Your shed blood, I confess that I have not made a diligent effort to meet with You. I have sinned grievously against You. I ask You, Lord Jesus Christ, to bear the consequences of my actions. Remove the pain and shame I have caused Your Name. Be that part of my life that has been disobedient to You. I release myself into Your hands. In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“Aware of His Will”

Date: 10-25-14

Text: — James 4:13-16 — 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.  [*NIV84]

The Big Idea: Seeking the general will passages is a good place to start.

My Thoughts: 

Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions while I was in college ministry was, “How do I know what God’s will is for my life?” I tried to avoid giving a trite answer, but I believe we must move from the known and revealed to the unknown and yet to be revealed. So much of my counsel was, “Let’s look at what the Scriptures reveal is obviously God’s will — in general, and then trust Him to make His more particular  (i.e., specific) will for us know as we live the general.”

I don’t know which verses you would find primary in answering this question, Lifestyle Worshipers, but the one I frequently use is Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.*” When we are seeking the Kingdom and the King of the Kingdom (that’s what “His Righteousness” means—see  Jer. 23:6), then His will will be revealed with each step as we follow in Jesus’ steps.

Still too general? Along with Heartwork’s homework for today (i.e., talking to a mentor or a seasoned Believer, asking them how they depend on the Spirit’s guidance), you can also search the Scriptures for references to: “this is God’s will for your life” kind of statements.

Now, I know when this question, “What’s God’s will for my life,” is asked, a more specific answer is expected, like whom God wants me to marry, or what career He wants me to pursue, but don’t you think seeking the general will passages is a good place to start? As we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts (Ps. 37:4). (Oh, and as you seek the King and the Kingdom, don’t you think your desires will ‘super’ naturally match up with His?) Your thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own. — John 7:17 (NIV84)

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, —1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 (NIV84)

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV84)

Lord Jesus Christ, as You always obey Your Father, obey the Father in and through me. Reveal to me Your specific will for my life as I faithfully follow in Your footsteps. In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike