"Submission is more than obedience; it involves humility." - John Calvin
"Shall I, I pray Thee, change Thy will my Father
Until it be according unto mine?
But no Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray thee blend my human will with Thine."
- Amy Carmichael
"Man is most truly himself, not when he struts about in pride of ability and possession, but when he sees himself as a creature of God and submits to the will of his Creator which is his true happiness." - Warren A. Quanbeck
Ephesians 5:23 definitively states - "...Christ is the head of the church..."
Ephesians 5:24 adds - "...the church is subject unto Christ..."
What the Apostle Paul - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - was saying here is that the Lord Jesus is the One Who is in charge of His body - the church. He - not man - rules over it. And because He does, He alone has the right to direct and control it.
The church - as His Bride - readily acknowledges His authority... being devoted to Him - submits herself to His will and ways with cheerfulness, fidelity, and humility...and seeks to please Him in every respect.
In James 4:7, we can almost hear the Apostle James - pleading with a loud voice to the churches abroad with these words - "Submit yourselves therefore to God..." He is calling for an immediate response. Forcefully, he is demanding some sort of action on our part.
It is a call for more than obedience. It is a call for the total surrendering of our wills to God's will - the absolute yielding to Him in all things and the yielding to the world, the flesh, and the devil in none.
It entails - abandoning all selfish pride... immersing ourselves in His Word in order to know His ways and our duty... bowing to all of His decisions and dispensations...yielding to what He has deemed necessary for the welfare of our lives and the salvation of our souls... and willingly submitting to His desire for us rather than haughtily insisting on having our own way or satisfying our desire for worldly pleasures.
We must give ourselves humbly and completely to the Lord - in duty, love, and interest. There is nothing that Satan hinders more in each of our lives than to have us in total subjection to God's will. Hence, it's time - like never before - that the church wakes up and starts resisting the devil rather than resisting God's will and ways. We will never know what life truly is - until we learn this lesson well and do it.
The writer of Hebrews inquired - "Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Hebrews 12:9)
It is sad when the church would much rather submit to man and his rulings - but not comply with God's!
Because His government is perfect, the Lord Jesus has every right to control us. We should cheerfully submit to His training, correction, discipline, and suffering - if need be - so that we may truly "live" - both spiritually and eternally.
In Psalm 32:9, David implied what our attitude should not be in relation to God's control over our lives - "Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee." In other words, don't walk around like a senseless beast who has to have a bit in its mouth to keep it in line.
Our attitude toward His Lordship over our lives should be that which is exemplified in the following Scriptures -
a) "Here am I"
Genesis 22:1 says - "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am."
Genesis 31:11 says - "And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: and I said, Here am I."
Exodus 3:4 says - "And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I."
1 Samuel 3:4 says - "Then the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I."
2 Samuel 15:26 says - "But if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto Him."
Isaiah 6:8 says - "Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."
b) "Not my will"
Matthew 26:39 says - "And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
John 5:30 says - "...I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me."
John 6:38 says - "For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me."
John 14:31 says - "...as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do..."
Philippians 2:8 says - "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
c) "The will of the LORD be done"
1 Samuel 3:18 says - "...It is the LORD: let Him do what seemeth Him good."
Matthew 6:10 says - "...Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
Matthew 26:42 says - "...O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done."
d) "If the Lord will"
Proverbs 19:21 says - "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand."
Acts 18:21 says - "But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will..."
1 Corinthians 4:19 says - "But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will..."
1 Corinthians 16:7 says - "For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit."
Hebrews 6:3 says - "And this will we do, if God permit."
e) "All are in Your hand"
Deuteronomy 33:3 says - "...all His saints are in Thy hand..."
1 Samuel 2:9 says - "He will keep the feet of His saints..."
Psalm 31:5 says - "Into Thine hand I commit my spirit..."
Ecclesiastes 9:1 says - "...the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God..."
2 Timothy 1:12 says - "...He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him..."
How are you responding to the Apostle James' charge to -
"Submit yourselves therefore to God..."?
Are you answering by saying - "Here am I...Not my will...The will of the Lord be done...If the Lord will...and All is in Your hand" ?