To submit is to arrange under. It means to accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.
Power is defined as the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality; the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
I like being in control, making decisions and influencing others. I don’t mean the, take-over-the-world kind of power, rather the change-the world-for the better kind. You know…the power to influence your friends to go with your movie choice or favorite restaurant when making weekend plans.
Power isn’t always bad. When I see injustice in the world I want the power to change it. When I see things in me that aren’t pleasing to God or hold me back from being the best version of me, I want the power to change. When I see someone hurt, or worse, I hurt them, I want the power to change that too. Yet, too often the power I turn to in order to effect change comes from me instead of God. To tap into God’s power requires me submitting my will to Him. Submission takes great power.
Rom5:6 “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
It’s interesting how I can see myself as a sinner but not as powerless. I can see my need for God as my savior but can lack the desire to want to submit to him as my Lord. To give up my will to God freely is to embrace the power that he gives me instead. It is the power to develop hesitation in my speech. It’s the power to put the person I love and their feelings before my own even when I think my feelings may be justified or more important. It’s the power to submit to someone else because I trust his or her love for me, or see and place other needs above my own.
Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence from Christ.”
By nature I am incredibly independent, but being in a relationship with someone means that I now have to consider him besides myself. This person thinks differently than me, is hurt by different things than those that hurt me, and can see God differently in given situations. All these things complement our relationship but also equate to a high learning curve when it comes to communication. Being in an intimate relationship amplifies this call to submit. Relationships are all about self-denial, growing, tolerance, and acceptance. Without submitting to Christ and one another it will not work. In the everyday God is using this man to show me, on a smaller scale, how I can hurt God when I fail to seize the opportunity to submit. Take, for example, when my boyfriend makes plans that I don’t know the details of and question said plans. This hurts the man I love. It makes him feel as though I do not trust his judgment and his intent to take care of me and make me happy, which he does. In the same way, God is hurt when I question Him when I refuse to submit and trust His love for me.
Psalm 36:7 “How precious is your loving kindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
His plans for me are so much better than anything I could fathom, and in the times when I do submit, I see that. God never forces me to submit, I must go freely. He never demands it but rather desires it. God supplies true power through his Spirit but it is my daily choice to submit. I must chose by faith to trust in Him over my desire to want to know what’s next or to rely on myself. Through Christ, by the Sprit, I have this power.
Galatians 5:22-25(NIV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Practically, submitting to God means inviting others into my life, it means being vulnerable and seeking out spiritual mentors, guidance and insight. It means that in addition to praying before I make a decision I can be humble enough to run it past a few people to help me see something I may be missing. Other times, submitting means stepping out on faith when doing what I know is right even if I do not know what is ahead or don’t quite feel like doing it. Ultimately, submitting to God is yielding my powerlessness to His true power, which transforms and allows me to go exponentially further than my own, inadequate, power can take me.
Rm 15:13 “ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Sprit.”
Nhm1:10 “They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.”