“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4
My abuelito Jose (Grandfather) recently passed away, he was in the last stages of cancer and it was too late to undergo chemo-therapy. He suffered until the last moment. At first I didn’t understand, I was aware of the reality that he no longer would be with us, so my prayer wasn’t a miracle, even though I believe in a God of miracles, my prayer was for his pain to go away. I prayed that God would take away his suffering and that even though he was leaving us I wanted it to be peacefully. Day after day though, the pain just kept getting stronger and stronger. “Why?” I asked God, my abuelo was a faithful man of God, so why? I soon realized that this world is full of pain, hate, and suffering and until we are at His throne that will never truly go away. I know he is rejoicing right now and that: “…the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18. God did answer my prayer even though I didn’t see it at the time, and I find immense joy in knowing that he is where we all should strive to be. When we are at these places of pain, we often forget what God has done for us. For me it was more time with him. You see before this my abuelo had to undergo a big surgery, there was a high risk that he wouldn’t make it through, but it was necessary. We prayed for a miracle and that’s what we received.
The highest form of submission to me, is in the pain. I had to submit in the confusion, my abuelo submitted in his suffering believing, hoping and trusting that our Father would carry him through, and He did.
Jesus suffered for our sins and transgressions. Not only did he suffer physically, he suffered spiritually and emotionally as well, beyond anything we could ever experience. So much so that He cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46, yet STILL submitted, knowing we would mess up time and time again. This is not intended to guilt trip you but instead make you realize the immense, unexplainable love that God has for us. Don’t just think of God as this authoritative being who is in control of everything, think of him also as a loving father that longs to be close to you, longs to have a personal relationship with you.
If it's not God, who or what are we submitting to? Temptations? Pride? Selfish endeavors? Sin?
Sin is tricky, it can disguise itself in a relationship, job, thought, anything you can think of. “The devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you’ve ever wished for. Pray for wisdom and discernment.” -Some quote I read the other day. This has truth to it, the devil is cunning in this way. If we don’t submit to Jesus, how are we to know right from wrong? Submitting is studying the word to open our eyes to seeing the truth. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. YOU have the authority under Jesus to also say “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me;…” Matthew 16:23. If we’re not actively pursuing God, studying the word, serving others, then it makes it easier for Satan to attack it makes it easier to stumble on our walk with the Lord.
Don’t hold me back
Whether you know it or not, you have so much potential, I’m talking about LOADS of it! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. He did not come to harm us, but give us life abundantly, sometimes we do a lot of the harming to ourselves. Everything we do is a choice, from morning to night: Do I stay in bed? Do I brush my teeth? Do I make eggs or stop by bill millers (because we both know they make the best breakfast tacos in SA and if not we need to have a talk) Anyways you see my point it may be the smallest thing but the bible says: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. Do it for HIS glory, that’s when we know were making the right decisions, don’t hold yourself back from the blessings God wants to pour out onto you.
Take time today to
Recognize your bad habits/choices. Submit them to God.
Appreciate every right decision you’ve made as you glorify the Father.
Not let Satan, sin or yourself hold you back from your true potential and purpose.
Serving goes hand in hand with submission: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them” (1 Corinthians 9:19). Jesus, the king of kings and lord of lords, demonstrated the highest form of servitude and submission without having to, but wanting to. There is no excuse for us not to do the same, He also tell us that when we do this, we are able to win more people to Christ! How amazing is that.
In His Steps
God sent his ONLY son to earth for US. Jesus chose to obey the father and when it came to the point of knowing He was going to be crucified He pleaded with God, yet ultimately accepting His father’s will: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” More often times than not we plead to God about our current and future circumstances, relying on him to change them, where as instead we should pray for strength to overcome the situations, wisdom in the conflicts and peace through the storms.
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16) in our modern society being last at anything sucks. Whether it is last place in a race, waiting last in line, or being low on the totem pole of economic wealth, etc. However, Jesus reminds us in Matthew 19:16-30 about the rich young ruler who did everything but give up his worldly possessions to inherit eternal life. God doesn’t want you to live in poverty to gain this but rather He wants you to put Him above everything else, never make anything else a priority. Serve everyone else above yourself without seeking recognition or reward. The few who do are considered last but will be first: “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Servitude is necessary for churches to grow, for people to prosper and for the world to change.
Don’t serve to glorify yourself above others, don’t serve with a “have to” attitude, serve to glorify God, serve through him and to him.
Take time today to …
See what position you hold yourself to
Are you serving in your church, home, work?
Pray for strength to overcome difficulties instead of removing them.
Abraham and Isaac
He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” … When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” Genesis 22:1-12
This passage might strike you one of two ways, “How could God command Abraham to do such a thing?” which in short the answer would be who are we to question what God asks of us? In this instance God was only testing Abraham however Abraham did not have a doubt in his mind that the Lord would provide so he SUBMITTED (see what I did there) to his authority. The other way you could have interpreted this passage was by seeing an ultimate example of trust and submission to the Father, one without question one we need to live by. This was Abraham’s ONLY son by Sarah, it was his promise and yet he was ready to sacrifice him to the Father. How much more should we submit to what God tells us! More often than not we question or doubt Him. Why should I give? I’m barely scraping by. Why should I join a bible study? I can study by myself. Why should I serve in church? They look like they got it under control. God is not asking you to question Him, God is telling you to trust him.
Not only do we see Abraham submit to His father but we see Isaac Submit to Abraham, do you really believe that Abraham (100 + years old) would have subdued Isaac (a young man) on an alter ready to be given as a sacrifice unto the Lord, no! Not if Isaac let Abraham do this, Isaac trusted His Father who Trusted God.
Christ genuinely wants what is best for us: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord” Jeremiah 29:11-14
Take time today to …
Focus on the things God has called you to do.
Trust that everything will work out for the good.
“He must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:30) Okay, so what if the creator of the universe died on the cross for my sins, those of my grandmas’ and the guy on the street corner’s sins? Yes, I get it, He saved us all from an eternity in Hell, but so what?
Do you see how ridiculous and ungrateful that sounds? We as Christians might not say that exact same sentence (at least I hope not) however some of our actions and thoughts prove to speak louder than our words. By not submitting to Christs’ authority or the authority He has placed in our lives we are saying He is not worthy to be obeyed, when in reality, we owe him everything without a smidge of regret or resistance. So, when God asks us of something, whether that is to start volunteering in children’s church or with the youth, connect to a lifeline and stay consistent, tell that one family member about Jesus or give to the church. Whatever it may be: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8) He came to give us everything, joy everlasting and love never-ending, that much more we should give in return.
Who am I
“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name” a lyric from the song Who am I by Casting Crowns really gets into the spot of humbling ourselves, knowing that there is 7.5 billion people in the world yet God calls us His child is not to be taken for granted.
Submitting to authority has always been a struggle for me, not in the way where I didn’t do as I was told, but in my heart. I couldn’t tell you where it stemmed from but I do know that when someone would tell me to do something my immediate thought was “well why can’t you do it?” or “what do you know” I would always do it with a bad heart. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with that today, we’d all be lying if we said we didn’t. The thing to remember though, is to acknowledge that we don’t know everything put aside our pride and be in the position of servitude rather than attitude.
Take time today to…
Pinpoint areas in our life where pride seems to seep in.
Be content in the area God has placed you in and for the people he has placed in authority over you.
When we don’t get what we want,
We can’t expect God, the creator of the universe & mankind, to just hand us everything on a silver platter, it doesn’t quite work that way. If it did everyone in the entire world would be very spoiled and wouldn’t know the difference between good and evil. God loves us as His children, and He wants to give to us “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4, but first He wants to teach us right from wrong so that in doing so we can attain holiness, which is the ultimate goal as Christians.
Smooth sailing into stormy seas…
Picture this, you really want to go sailing however you already checked the weather and there is a 90% chance of rain, disregarding the report you look outside and see sunny skies. You make the decision to go out in the waters. A while later you see this one gray cloud, you ignore it because you’re enjoying the day so much. Now the winds start to pick up and it starts to get cloudier and cloudier, still you choose to be out because “it’s not that bad”. Finally, the seas get rough, the wind is blowing you the opposite direction, rain and thunder surround you and despite your best efforts it becomes nearly impossible to see or get to where you’re going.
God is our forecast and we must choose to submit to His authority, even when it doesn’t make sense, even when we think we know best. He sees all things and looks out for us and wants the absolute best for us because he has: “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). No matter how much you have in your bank account, give God 10%. No matter how much you think your marriage is failing you, trust in God to see you through. No matter how much time you think you don’t have, find some and spend it in the word, prayer, in church and small groups. If you’re not moving forward, you’re pressing back.
When you disregard Gods’ authority you’re setting yourself up for failure, whether you see it today, tomorrow, next month or even next year. “For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” (Proverbs 5:21) Ultimately, it’s our decisions that can lead us astray, to the point where it becomes very difficult to turn back. Let’s rewind and have God take the lead, let’s listen to what he wants us to do and let’s submit to that still, small voice.
Take time today to…
Reflect on past decisions, good or bad.
Ask in your small group or a trusted believer/leader about any disobedience they see in your life that you might not see in yourself.
Ask God to become the center of your life so you can submit to His authority.
This might sting . . .
We’ve all been there, not wanting to submit to an authority, whether it was as a child and disobeying your mom every time she said “Put your seatbelt on” or “eat your vegetables” or even the infamous “don’t mess with that bee-hive!” but ya still did and ended getting stung once or twice. No? Just me? Well nevertheless we feel as if we know better and what’s best has to be MY way. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s just not the case.
So who do we submit to?
Great question! The bible gives us several authorities to which we should be submissive towards, in 1st Peter 2:13-14 we see that God has placed authority over us to ensure his righteousness: “Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God,” Now we can see in todays’ society that our authority figures aren’t always righteous however our job and purpose is to place a trust so deep in God that even if corruption, injustice and faults occur we may still be in submission to His authority trusting that he will carry us through. In the following chapter 1st Peter 3:1-2 we see that God wants wives to be submissive to their husbands: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” Now in todays’ culture a lot of women interpret this to be some sort of oppression where in fact its an act of obedience and worship unto the Lord. Peter even states that the life of a husband who disobeys and is faithless can be won over because of this submission.
Submit to who, you?
Christians are also called to submit to each other, our brothers and sisters, in a form of respect for one another and “out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21. We tend to look out for ourselves first, its human nature, but if we can learn to put our pride aside and submit to one another we can accomplish a lot in our walk with Christ. How we serve our employers or people who are in a position of authority over us is another important step into our submission with Christ, “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man ... Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.” Ephesians 6:5-8. We see that everything goes back to obeying as we were obeying Christ. Paul not only mentions us but our “masters” as well, so in either position no one has an excuse to not submit to Gods authority, our heavenly master.
Take time today to…
Reflect on your own life,
Who do you submit to?
Who don’t you submit to?
Do you do this as if you were submitting to Christ with a sincere heart?
Take time to pray about the areas where you just need to let go and trust God whole-heartedly.