Day 12: Submission

By: Andy McMahon

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James 4:7
”Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I grew up in a house with addicts. My mom and my step-dad were both on hard drugs, and when they got “sober”, they switched to prescription medication. It probably goes without saying that my home environment was volatile.

When my parents demanded “submission”, they used it to abuse me. Or, If I refused to submit because… well, I was a little stubborn, if you can believe that; then they would beat me into submission. That is not a metaphor. It was my life.

It’s no surprise that when I got radically saved by a loving God, I didn’t understand submission. As a matter of fact, if we’re being honest I bucked against it under the guise of grace. Any scripture that talked about submission (Hebrews 13:17, Job 22:21), I would glance over it, and go “Not me. I’m not falling for that again.” 

One day I was reading Romans, (One of my favorites) and I got to Romans 8:7.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

This freaked me out.

The guided thought in Romans 8 is, essentially that if we are WITH Christ, we are more than conquerors. (AMEN) Since we are with God, then we should not fear anything else in the world, because God is greater than ALL things! (AMEN) All great things! I’m on board with it! Then we get to Romans 8:7. Which essentially says, If I can’t submit to God, or his laws than basically, I am not WITH God. Do you know what that means? It means I’m not more than a conqueror. I will live in fear.

There’s not a lot of gray area here. I am either for him or against him. I either submit to God, or I don’t.

So let’s jump over to James 4:7 really quick using this same principle.  ”Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” With the knowledge that there’s no gray area here, then what this means is If I don’t submit myself to God, then I won’t be able to resist the devil, and he will NOT flee from me!  This means, if I don’t submit to God, then I am a tool of the enemy.

Ouch.

How do I get past that? I learned growing up that submission made you weak! If you submitted you’d be abused!

It took me a while to get there, but when I did, I questioned how it took me so long. I’ve worked so hard my entire life to not get hurt again, I didn’t realize every guard that I had put up.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

True, healthy submission takes trust. True healthy submission requires me to let go of my understanding of what submission is, or how the world used it to attempt to destroy me, and understand that submitting to our all-knowing, all-loving God means that in our submission he will be able to guide us on the right paths. When King Solomon says this he knows what he’s talking about! Look at his life; he understands that this thing called serving God is going to take everything we have. And it’s impossible to give everything without 100% full submission.

So, I challenge you today to ask yourself if you’ve submitted it all to God. If you haven’t, what’s stopping you? Ask Holy Spirit to help you with that, and trust God with all of your heart! 

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