The Greek word “hupotasso” is translated to “submission” in English. In non-military uses, it means to voluntarily give in or to cooperate with. Concerning God, I like to think of it as trusting God’s arrangement for our lives.
James 4:7-10 says, “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.”
In order for us to submit to God’s arrangement for our life, we must do four things; the first of those is to resist the devil. Satan is very good at what he does and he knows what buttons to push to get you off track. In order to resist him we must do a few things. Luke 22:40 says, in part, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." We must pray. Prayer is the direct line of communication between God and us. When we pray we usher God’s presence into a situation and we allow God’s power to intervene. Matthew 4:7 says, “Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Another thing we must do is use God’s word. Satan was tempting Jesus and he quoted scripture; and if it’s good enough for Jesus, then it’s surely good enough for us.
The next step toward submission is to get closer to God. Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” According to this scripture, there are two ways we should grow closer to God. We must do it with a sincere heart and an assured faith. What the heart desires the mind will pursue, and what the mind is assured of, it will rely on.
The third step towards submitting to God is to do some housecleaning. When trash piles up in your house you take it out and throw it in the dumpster. The same thing applies in our spiritual lives. When the trash of sin enters into our daily routine then we must gather it up, throw it in the trash and take it out. Sin only serves to entangle us and keep us from being in Gods will.
The fourth and final thing to do is for us to become humble. John 3:30 says, “He must become greater; I must become less.” If we are to ever fall under God’s arrangement for us, we must decrease and allow Him to increase in our lives. We all want to be the boss and make our own decisions; but only God has the perfect plan for our life and we will only experience the fullness of that plan if we allow Him to reign as Lord in our life.
You can look at submission two ways: Like a lid that holds you down and keeps from getting out, or like a blanket that covers and protects you.
Make 2017 the year you get God right in your life and allow His loving hand to guide and protect as you give in to His master plan for your life.
Wade Phillips is senior pastor of Madisonville Christian Fellowship.