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