Category Archives: Christian Living

Submit to God

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

Something has been troubling me for some time and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but now I think I understand it better.  For awhile now, I’ve been dismayed by those who claim Christianity, yet fail to realize the authority of the Word of God.  There seems to be a wide spectrum of those affected by this as it ranges from preachers who teach a watered down, prosperity filled, self-serving gospel and extends to young teens in Christ who are unwilling to relinquish their worldly lifestyle.  All those in between seem to include the average, everyday person and even the not so average Hollywood stars who claim Christianity, but then speak out in opposition of Miss California’s stance on gay marriage.  I couldn’t quite understand how those of us who are to be united in Christ, could have such contrasting viewpoints and then it hit me.  We have to first assume, though I know it might be a stretch at times, that those who claim Christianity, have indeed accepted Christ as Savior.  Only God knows their heart and whether their commitment is genuine.  So this leaves only one conclusion, those outlined above, perhaps even some reading this, have refused to completely submit to God. 

The Bible is clear, as in James above, submission is essential to the will of God.  Early 20th century pastor, A.W. Tozer, offers this quote, “Anyone who might feel reluctant to surrender his will to the will of another should remember Jesus’ words, ‘Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.’ We must of necessity be servant to someone, either to God or to sin. The sinner prides himself on his independence, completely overlooking the fact that he is the weak slave of the sins that rule his members. The man who surrenders to Christ exchanges a cruel slave driver for a kind and gentle master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.”  It’s in this quote we find the main reason for refusing to submit, “the sinner prides himself on his independence.”  I think this is at the heart of the issue.  When we refuse to wholly submit to God, it’s our selfish pride that is holding us back.  Whatever it might be that we are clinging to, a particular sin, money or fame, or even just pride itself, each of these acts as an inhibitor to submission. 

The second conclusion we come to for why some refuse to submit to God builds upon the first, and comes from those who view their salvation as a license to continue the same lifestyle, believing that since their sins are forgiven, they are at freedom to live how they please.  As the Apostle Paul states in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”  Though Paul’s question is rhetorical, the answer is quite simply, because we refuse to submit to the absolute will of God.  The burden of independence, of refusing to submit, will eventually be overwhelming, because as sinful flesh, we are neither strong enough nor smart enough to rely on ourselves.  Paul says in Romans 6:19 “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.”

On this day, at this point in your life, what’s holding you back from submitting wholly and completely to God?  How heavy is your burden?  Unbearable?  Cast it upon Christ and submit to Him, just as He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

The question in salvation is not whether Jesus is Lord, but whether we are submissive to His lordship. – John MacArthur

Who is on the Lord’s side?

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Judges 21:25

When a body of people lacks leadership they lose their direction.  They begin to lose cohesiveness and everyone is turned to their own way.  Romans 3:12 says, “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”  When people begin to turn towards their own way, they lose sight of God, just as the Israelites did.  Our country has lost its way.  The pervasive attitude throughout our nation is “what’s good for you is good for you and what’s good for me is good for me.”  This humanistic worldview is exactly the same behavior that we see in the passage above.  Today, everyone is doing as they see fit, this includes defining marriage on their own terms, supporting abortion, embracing world religions, rampant drug and alcohol use, divorce, turning a blind eye to every evil imaginable. 

Our present condition is reminiscent of when Moses went up to Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments and he was gone so long that the people turned to idolatry and depravity.  Exodus 32:7-8 “And the Lord said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them.”  Throughout history, including that of the Israelites, a leader has stepped up when they were needed most.  For Israel, it was during times of rebellion when Joshua, Gideon, Samson, Samuel, and David stepped forward to lead.  In more modern times it has been those great revivalists like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, and others that have led people out of darkness.  My fear is that today we are laying the groundwork for a “false” leader to step forward and that in our desire for leadership, we end up following the wrong person.

What’s it going to take for us to wake up? Where are our real leaders? Or as Moses said, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Exodus 32:26 Let them step forward.

James 1:21 (ESV) Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

His Grace is Sufficient

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” II Corinthians 12:9

The passage above comes from Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, where he is speaking of a “thorn” in his flesh.  Paul pleaded with God three times to remove the thorn, which many believe was his loss of eyesight, but God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you.”  This is the Apostle Paul, the man who God inspired to write more than half of the New Testament.  It wasn’t just a guy walking down the street asking God for help, this was Paul!  But yet, God’s reply is so powerful and so caring.  How can we truly understand God’s grace?  We certainly cannot comprehend or even begin to grasp the magnitude of His grace, but we can define what grace is and through this how we need it in our lives.

The definition of grace can be summed up as undeserved assistance given from God for our regeneration or sanctification.  The assistance is that helping hand offered by God, through Jesus, to save us from eternal damnation.  This “assistance” comes through the redemption of Jesus Christ.  As Romans 3:24 says, we “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  Through His Son Jesus, God freely gives grace to those of us who accept Christ as our Savior. Ephesians 1:6 Each of us must understand the power of this saving grace and that this is where our eternal hope lies.  Just as we learn in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  It’s through God’s grace that we are afforded salvation.  It’s not something we are entitled to, something owed to anyone, but a gift, and there is no other method by which we are saved.  Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”  No matter how much someone tries, or how good a person thinks they are, there is no other way to salvation except by the grace of God through the bloodshed of Jesus on the cross.  Just as Paul tells us in Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”  If we were saved by our works, then grace would have no power.  Grace would have no purpose.  If it were something that we had the power to control, then God’s power would be diluted.  II Timothy 1:8-9, “…But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time….”

If we can realize the power of God’s grace, then we can understand why we need it in our lives and how truly blessed we are to be given that gift.  God granted us mercy when we as sinners least deserved it and through that glorious mercy we were given grace through His Son Jesus.  It is through this divine gift that our salvation is possible.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”