3 Things to Remember As You Submit Yourself to God

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:7-10).

The summary command in these verses is pretty simple: Submit yourselves to God.

To “submit” means to “accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another.” When we submit to God, it means we acknowledge His authority over us and willingly give ourselves over and over again to Him.

It’s what we find Jesus doing as He prayed in the garden: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus, knowing what was before Him, acknowledged He would like another way for God’s will to be accomplished – something other than the cross. But despite that desire, He submitted Himself to God’s will. And in doing so, He not only accomplished what we could never accomplish for ourselves; He left us an example of what it means to submit our own selves to God.

You see that submission played out in the rest of the passage from James? How do we submit to God? Well, we wash our hands and purify our hearts, because it is God’s will that we should be sanctified. We grieve over our sin because it is God’s will that we should become like Jesus. And we humble ourselves before the Lord because it is God’s will that Jesus should receive all the glory due to Him.

But submitting ourselves to another is a dangerous thing, isn’t it? Maybe that’s why we have trouble with doing so not only to God, but also to anyone else in our lives. Because when we really, truly submit ourselves to another, we are putting ourselves in the hands of another. In that sense, submitting ourselves is an act of faith – we are believing that the one we are submitting to will not do us harm.

That’s why, in order for us to submit gladly to God, there are a few things we must remember. Things about who God is. To submit glady to God, we must remember that…

1. God is loving.

Why is that important if we are to gladly submit? It’s because we have to believe that God is our for our good. That He cares for us. That He is not going to take advantage of us when we submit to Him.

Unless we are convinced that God loves us, our submission will always be tinged with a little bit of “what if…” What will God do to me? What will happen in the future? Will God actually take care of me? Fortunately, God has left no doubt about His love:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

2. God is strong.

It’s not enough for us to believe that God is loving; we must also believe He is strong. That’s because there might be plenty of people in our lives who love us, but can those people do anything about what’s happening in our lives? They might have great affection for us and yet not have any real power to do anything on our behalf.

But not God. God is not only loving; He is also strong. So we can gladly submit to Him, not only knowing He desires the best for us, but that He has the power to make it happen.

3. God is wise.

Here we find the other thing we must believe about God. Because He might love us, and He might be strong enough to work things for our good, but is He wise enough to know what actually is for our good?

Again, the answer is yes. But we must be careful here to not confuse things like comfort, prosperity, health, and earthly benefit with “good.” God is wise enough to know the difference. Because He is, we can know that in our submission, He is always working for our good, even if the road to that good is painful.

God is loving, strong and wise. And because He is, we are not only commanded to submit to Him; it is foolish not to do so.

Subscribe to MichaelKelley.co

Never miss a new post. Subscribe to receive these posts in your inbox and to receive information about new discipleship resources.

You have successfully subscribed. Click here to download your bonus.