What does submission to the Lord entail?

by Julie Bump

The first thing that runs through my mind or what I feel, when I see this question is resistance. Don’t we all have the desire to control our own destiny and run our own lives? We hear it all the time in culture. “Just do it” or “Do what feels good” or “Live your Best Life” We want to be the captain of our ship and steer the boat in the direction we want it to go. We want to be the director and control the show. And anyone who says otherwise needs to high tail it out of our way because they are being controlling or limiting our potential.

Really this resistance comes from our heart. It is because we don’t see that submission to the right things is for our good and ultimately for God’s glory. We view submission through the lense of the world and culture instead of through the lense of the word of God. God’s word offers us a different perspective, if we just take the time to lean into, can give us a better and deeper understanding of the freedom we can find in submission. That what we think is limiting actually gives us great freedom in our walk with Christ. When we look at Scripture we see even Jesus Himself was submissive

This idea of submission at first glance may make you hesitant but give God’s word a chance to speak directly to your heart. Open your mind to what scripture says and allow God’s Spirit to change an idea you have adopted from culture and let God’s word shape your thinking. The scriptures are alive and active. They have the power to slice through philosophies and worldly thinking and develop in us godly character. It can literally draw us into God’s presence and it’s in that place that we can find true rest and a clearer way to view the world around us. The scriptures give us everything we need for life and godliness. So let’s dig into a specific passage and let the Holy Spirit do the work that only He can do.

We are going to walk through John 14:23-24. Here Jesus is speaking with His disciples in the Upper Room just before he is arrested to be tried and then crucified. John is written by the Apostle John. This is an intimate setting, think of it as His last words and proclamation to His most beloved disciples before His crucifixion. He is imparting to them a specific message and trying to show them more of Himself before they watch the events unfold of His crucifixion.

23-24 “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”

In case you missed it the text actually says that Jesus HIMSELF submitted to the Father. Even Jesus the King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth Himself was submissive. If Jesus being God shows submission why are we so afraid of the idea of being submissive? Lets ask a deeper question… In what ways do we see that Jesus was submissive? He obeyed the Father’s command to come to earth as a baby, live a perfect life, and then offer Himself freely on the behalf of mankind. God the Father sent Jesus to earth.

Jump down to verse 30-31 of the same chapter and you see,
“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

Jesus submits Himself to the commands and will of the Father. Within the trinity we see how they work together in unity. It is similar in our relationship and life with Jesus. As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, we are to offer our lives in submission to His will for us. We too follow His example as He submitted to the Father. The text says that Jesus obeyed the Father and it showed the world how He loved the Father. It is the same in our walk with Jesus. As we submit ourselves to the words of Jesus and submit our life to Him the world will see our love for Him. The world will see our love for Jesus as we follow His commands.

Do you see how your submission to Jesus will visibly point people’s eyes to Him? Submission to Jesus is a visual representation of God to the world. It brings God glory when we submit to Him. It leads others to Him and it is for our good.

Let’s be real for a second and ask, How does submission actually look in my life as a teen who follows Jesus? It means that in your daily life your actions should be lived as a response from God’s word. As you study scripture, learn and grow from God’s word your life should be in a pattern of change. Sanctification {the process of becoming like Jesus} happens over time as we study God’s word. It produces life change. Things we used to say we don’t say anymore. Things we used to think were funny aren’t funny anymore. Our affections, desires, wants change to please God. We begin to live in submission to Jesus.

It means, your TikTok videos, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchats, should reflect evidence of your walk with Jesus. They should not be filled with things that do not honor God. Because remember your life and obedience in submission to Jesus should point others to Jesus not away from Jesus. It doesn’t mean that every single post needs to have Jesus in it. However, it needs to be filtered through your walk with Christ. Asking yourself the question, does this honor Jesus?

It means as your life changes and you become more like Jesus, you then want to share what you are learning with others. You grow in your community of followers of Jesus. You care about your community, the church, because as you are submitting to Jesus you begin to care about what HE cares about. He cherishes the church, His bride, more than anything. Your desires begin to align with His.

It also means that when you make a mistake, fall short, etc you confess your sin, embrace His forgiveness and begin again. It’s much like the series of cycles we see Israel go through in their walk in the Old Testament. They walk with God, fall away, are corrected, come back in repentance and begin again. That’s us! We follow Jesus, mess up, confess, and begin again. Submission to Jesus is a lifelong process. You will fail, but when you do you get up and begin again.

Are you beginning to see how submission can be a good thing? It gives us the freedom to know He has our best interest at heart. Let’s get practical. Go back on your social media platform of choice and select 3 posts you have made, the last 3 shows you have watched, or the last three people you have talked to on your messaging of choice, and then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did this honor Jesus? Was I submitting to Jesus in the way I posted this?
  2. Filter what you posted, said, watched through the lens of Philippians 4:4-8.
    • Was it true? Honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable?
  3. Filter what you posted, said, watched through the lens of Colossians 3:1-3, 16-17.
    • Was your mind set on things above? Did you do it in the name of the Lord Jesus? Would he have been pleased sitting with you to watch what you watched? See your snaps, texts, messages, etc.
  4. Did I submit myself to Jesus in these circumstances?

How’d you do? If you felt convicted, that is a good thing. It means that the Holy Spirit inside of you is moving and active. We want God to change us. It is going to make you uncomfortable sometimes. If you did well, praise the Lord. And if you didn’t do it. Go back and do it now. May you move forward in your walk with Jesus continuing to be submissive to His word. Study it. Read it. Feed on it. Make it a priority like you would any other part of your routine.

Submission at times may feel uncomfortable and you may resist it. I know sometimes I do. I drag my feet and mull over something God is teaching me for a while before I sit down and confess and ask for him to change me. However, as we continue to spend time reading and chewing on scripture, God will move us and mold us more into the image of Jesus. And that my friends is a beautiful thing.