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.”
When I was in college, and before I got married, I did a lot of cooking. It was generally awful. I don’t know how many times I would start dinner and get half-way through the recipe before I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients. I didn’t plan. You would think I would learn, but it took a long time and many failed recipes before I started to get just okay. Now, keep in mind, this was mostly before smartphones and Google, and my mom didn’t always answer the phone (no cell phones), so I was left up to my own choices. Not good.
We ended the last blog talking about how God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. What does it mean to be humble?
Webster defines “Humble” in this way: Lowly; modest; meek; submissive; opposed to proud, haughty, arrogant, or assuming and in an evangelical sense, having a low opinion of one’s self and a deep sense of unworthiness in the sight of God.
All of the commands in James 4:7-10 flow from James’ desire that we live a life of godliness, not worldliness. The world promotes pride and arrogance, doesn’t it? How much do we pay our actors or our sports heroes to play a part of arrogance? What gets the most significant news coverage? Not humility. Pride wins the day in the world economy, but not God’s.
In this passage, we see four ingredients in the recipe for humility.
Today, we examine Ingredient #1: Submission to God.
Submit means “To yield, resign or surrender to the power, will or authority of another.” It is a military term. In our relationship to God, we are to order ourselves under the authority of God, to give absolute and complete control of our life to Christ.
Most of us have voluntarily submitted our lives to something or someone. Notice that James says we are to submit to God. The object of our submission is essential.
The best illustration of submission to God is Jesus Christ Himself.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but thy will.”
We submit our desires, dreams, purposes, plans, and hopes to God’s will, not ours. We utterly abandon ourselves to God.
Is your car out of alignment? You may not be able to see it by looking at the vehicle and may not feel it, but there are other indications. Look at your tires! If the tread shows wear and tear in places it shouldn’t, your car might be out of alignment.
Similarly, look at your life! Look at your marriage. Is there wear and tear where there should be unity? You might be out of alignment. This happens when you fail to submit every aspect of your life to God.
If you fail to get this first ingredient correct, it messes up the entire recipe. One time, I was baking a cake, and I didn’t have flour, so I substituted baking powder or powdered sugar. They look the same! What a nightmare. It was inedible and ruined the entire evening.
Similarly, if we submit to the wrong thing or don’t fully submit to God, the rest of our Christian life will not go according to plan.
Submission involves active obedience to God’s commands. Crying out, “NOT MY WILL, BUT YOUR WILL!”
Some questions to consider:
-Where is your spiritual life out of alignment?
-Have you fully submitted to God?
-Why is submission to God key to living the Christian life?
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash