Submit as our Lord Submits

John 5

April 2

I have noticed a common trend in people who have started their own business or way of life. One of the main motivations for them to begin was the ability to be their own boss. They can work at their own pace in their own way. They in a sense can excuse themselves from submitting to an authority above them. I am not accusing those who have done this of being sinful or doing the wrong thing. I am simply noting a human behavior that is core to us: we don’t always like to submit and sometimes our motivation to climb up in reputation or status is to excuse ourselves from the act of submission.

In light of this, I want to focus on something we see from Jesus in John chapter five. Jesus’ combination of position and attitude are profound and completely backwards to our way of operating. Who is Jesus? He is the one and only begotten son of God. He is the only man ever to live who never sinned in his life—he was quite literally perfect. He is the only man so far to have ever seen the full face of God. He is the only man who sits at the right hand of God. He is the man who is the dividing line between those who are in the kingdom of God and those who are not. So in light of this inconceivably high status and position, did he ever think he could excuse himself from submission to God? Well, let’s take a look at what he says in verse 19, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”

Here is the only man in existence who had every right to “excuse himself from submission” and do things his own way in our eyes. Yet, no one has ever submitted as completely and humbly as Jesus did. In fact, the only way he ever received that level of honor and power was through his act of submitting to Yahweh, God of the universe. Only through becoming lowly can you be raised on high!

Jesus is our Lord; what he does we must do. So, if he believes that he must submit himself completely to his Father and do only what he sees God doing, then we must submit ourselves completely to God too. Also, this act of submitting to God’s will in our life and dying to our own is not for God’s service at our expense. He is infinite, He has everything, there is nothing He could possibly gain from your service. So, what’s the point? Why submit and serve a God who doesn’t need serving? In all honesty, it is in your best interest. Submission to God is all about God but it is all for you. When a good and loving father tells his child to obey him, is it because he will benefit at the child’s expense, or is it because it’s in the best interest of the child? (I’ll give you a hint. It is in the best interest of the child.)

I encourage you to follow the example of our Lord Jesus today. He felt that he should submit himself completely to God, and we should too. Only through submission can we enter into God’s kingdom.

-Isaac Cain

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Read John 5 looking for everything you can find out about Jesus. Who does he say he is? What does he do? What is his relationship with God and with men?
  2. What is the danger in studying Scriptures but not accepting Jesus for who he says he is?
  3. Jesus said he did not seek his own will, but the will of the one who sent him (vs.30). How will you follow his example and lay aside your own will to do the will of your Heavenly Father?
  4. Choose a verse from John 5 to write out and post on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. What does this verse mean to you?

Cleaning Up

Free Theme – Beatitudes – Matthew 5:8

Matthew 5 8

I’m going to start this by stating very plainly that I’m normally a super hygienic person but there are some times in life when showering just is not an option. We all know that feeling like your skin has an extra layer of grime and you just feel nasty.

I remember one of those times when I felt particularly gross and grimy was after my first backpacking trip. I hiked 4 peaks and climbed something close to 12,000 vertical feet with a 45 lb backpack and the temperature was in the mid 80’s. Luckily the trip was only two days and I really only missed one shower. Needless to say by the time I reached the parking lot at the end of the trip I was feeling pretty dirty. The natural thing to do is to go take a shower and clean ourselves up. Right when we get dirty we wash it off. This way we won’t royally offend people’s nostrils with our B.O.

It’s easy to realize when we’re physically dirty. We can literally feel the grime and (hopefully like myself) try to maintain good hygiene. Sometimes the thing that we fail to recognize is the condition of the heart. We allow our hearts to want, wish, and hope for things that it shouldn’t be hoping for. In our day to day lives it is easy to let the world distract us. Some of the things that we desire aren’t bad things at all and may even have godly results. In essence we can let the world contaminate our hearts or desires to become skewed.

I believe that the life God wants us to live is really just an outpouring from our hearts. Our actions are an indication of the condition of our hearts whether this causes godly or worldly behavior.

How then are we supposed to cleanse a heart when it gets dirty and we allow things in that shouldn’t be there? The answer is pretty easy. We need to ask God to purify it but we also have to put in personal effort. We obviously have to want to have it clean – that means asking God for help in submitting our hearts and minds to focus on Him. Also, not allowing ourselves to focus on things we shouldn’t. The thoughts you allow yourself to dwell on will eventually be imprinted on your heart. Think of your mind as the arena where battle for your heart and life is won and lost.

James 4.8 tells us “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded.” The truth here is that the double-minded do need to have their hearts cleansed. This is exactly what happens when our hearts become contaminated. We need to be singularly focused on God.

The best way I have found to do this is just praying two phrases as often as needed throughout the day. “Lord, I give you all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength. Help me stay focused on you.” Feel free to change the phrasing to suit you but I think praying a prayer like this will go a long way helping you stay focused on God.

So all this talk so far and we haven’t even gotten to our beatitude. Consider everything before this the pre-requisite for the beatitude. Today’s beatitude is Matthew 5.8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Of all the beatitudes and really all the promises of God there isn’t another which I want to be realized in my life so badly. For a Christian I don’t think there is a reward higher than this. I think that the greatest of all human desires is “to know and be fully known.” Obviously one aspect of that is already completed by God. We are already fully known by God. He knows our minds and our hearts. We, though, don’t fully know God. I don’t know if we ever will but I want to know all that I can. On this earth we do all we can to know him. We pray, read scripture, look to see his glory in nature and we catch glimpses of him in all these things but it isn’t seeing him. It is not viewing him on his throne in real life. I feel like we only get to see God’s social media account and we never get to see him in person. Except God’s social media doesn’t come close to the majesty and beauty that he actually has. I don’t think our physical bodies could handle beholding a holy God in all his beauty and magnificence.

This is why we need to keep our hearts pure. So that one day we could see God for all that he is.

Daniel Wall

In God I Trust

Proverbs 3 5 NIV

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart

And lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 is an often quoted and memorized Bible verse.  However, not surprisingly, it is easier said than done.  It is easy to say the words, without really thinking about what living out these words looks like.

Trust in the LORD.  When I trust in something I can count on it.  The dictionary definition of trust is, “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something; to have confidence in (someone or something); to believe that something is true or correct.”  All of these definitions need to apply to my trust in God.  I must believe that all his promises are reliable and that what he says is true.  I must believe that he had the ability to create the world and that he has the strength to stand against my enemies.  I need have confidence that he cares for me and believe that his word, the Bible, is true and correct.

There are so many things in this life that I can put my trust in.  I can trust my family, my doctor, the government, my pastor, and the list goes one.  But over time, all these people will disappoint and let me down.  There is only one that is totally faithful and trustworthy, and that is my Heavenly Father.  However, if I don’t take the time to get to know God personally, I will never be able to totally trust him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart.  If I truly trust in God, it must be with ALL my heart.  If I only trust God some of the time, or with only some things, then I am not trusting God at all.  Trust is an all or nothing kind of proposition.

And lean not on your own understanding. I need to let go of what I think I know, and totally rely on God.  I must stop trying to be self-sufficient, but instead depend on my Creator and his infinite wisdom.

In all your ways submit to him.  Trusting in the Lord requires that I submit everything that I have, and everything that I do to him, all the time, every day.  Some versions say, “in all your ways acknowledge him.”  I acknowledge him when I feel his presence with me throughout the day, and turn to him for comfort, companionship and guidance.

And he will make your paths straight.  When I fully trust God, then he can lead me down the correct path.  So often I want to go my own way and do my own thing.  I like to be the boss. However, when I am truly trusting in God then I eagerly follow God’s direction.

When I want to know what God’s will in my life is, I only need to trust in him with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding, but in all my ways submit to him.  If I am trusting, leaning, and submitting, then I can be confident that I am following God’s plan for my life.

Jill McClain

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