I knew you’d come back for more. Chad Berry got us thinking yesterday about this whole issue of submitting and resisting, huh? Well, let’s pick up where he left off. Ready, set……
“Lord.” That’s another strange word to our 21st century ears. We have little context in which to place it. It means “ruler” or “master.” God has a claim on you. You have been bought and your life is not your own. We come to God on his terms, not ours. His terms involve submission to his authority. To say you believe in Jesus and the gospel story, but continue to live as master of your own life is not Christianity.
Instead, we should cast off our pride and humble ourselves before a God who will give us grace. We should submit to His way, His rule in our lives. We do not serve a harsh, unjust God who is not worthy of our devotion. We submit to a loving, powerful and awesome God who has had mercy and not treated us as our sins deserve. Instead, he met the demands of justice with his own life. What a wonderful Savior!
“In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God”. It might be tempting, even as a Christian, to see the command in James 4 as burdensome. It’s not when you stop and reflect on our great God. Love-driven, awe-driven submission is done with joy.
The working out of this humbling and submitting is part of our sanctification. It’s not an easy process. Like the Israelites, we are prone to forget God. Stopping and reflecting on God’s goodness do not happen naturally. It is a discipline (Ah! Another dirty word). We must learn and teach our children how to “preach to ourselves”as we submit to God (Of course, this implies another important part of discipleship, which is knowing what the Bible actually says. We won’t have anything to remind ourselves of or preach to ourselves if we don’t spend time in the Word.).
For example, say you want to tell a white lie. God’s Word says to speak truthfully. Remind yourself of this (ask for God’s help in remembering), submit to God and don’t lie.
You want to hoard as much money as possible so you can live a life of comfort while others are in great need, but the Bible says to be generous and not love money. Submit to God and be generous. It’s not your money, anyway.
You’re saying with your life, “God’s way is better. He is gracious. He has redeemed me from sin. I am free. I don’t have to live like that anymore.”
These are deeds of the flesh, which often come via temptations from the devil. We must resist him (finally, the 2nd part of the verse!). Of course you need help to do this, but another incredible part of the Good News is God hasn’t left you alone to battle sin with your own willpower and good intentions. He has given you the Holy Spirit. By the spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the flesh
You’re right Chad….but just what does that putting to death thing mean anyway?
Oh, Monday?….right, see you then.