When we say we are submitted to Christ, what are we actually submitting to? To Christ’s commands? To what our churches ask us to do? To spend time with Christ? All of the above?
David pens in Psalm 51, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
If our submission to Christ began with mere sacrifices (of time, sleep, money, etc.), it would be easy. True submission starts so much deeper. The word “contrite,” when translated from the original Hebrew language, refers to be being broken, humble, even crushed. So when presenting ourselves to the feet of the Creator we must first come with a contrite heart. A heart that has been broken before a holy, perfect God. This can be difficult! But when we allow ourselves to be broken before Him we can truly evaluate our submission to Him. It starts at the core of who we are.
When presenting ourselves to the feet of the Creator we must first come with a contrite heart.
What do we think about when we are alone in our minds? What is our response when someone gets the praise for a job you did? What do we say to someone when gossip takes place? What kind of person are you when no one is watching or listening? It’s difficult questions like these that can reveal who or what we are submitted to. It is far easier to do outward tasks than it is to take your thoughts captive, leave a conversation, or choose to believe that God’s opinion of you is far more important than anyone else’s. Why is that? If you are like me, it took you many years to realize you are in the center of your universe. Rewinding years of patterns, mindsets, and habits is not easy. I am so thankful the Lord gave us his Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. We don’t have the power to change our own hearts, but we can do things to pursue a heart submitted to Christ. Brad Bell gave the first 4 suggestions in a sermon (a couple of years ago) and the last suggestion is mine.
BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER
JAMES 1:5, LUKE 18:1-14, 1 PETER 5:6-7
Have you ever simply asked God to do a work in your heart? He is eager to make your will align with His. Spending time communicating with Him can look differently for different people. Journal, blog, pray out loud, pray in the car, get on your knees next to your bed, and more. Communicating with the Lord strengthens our dependence on him. 1 Thessalonians even tells us to make our requests known to him!
Ponder: What is your ideal way to talk with God?
ENGAGE IN WORSHIP
PSALM 24, HEBREWS 10:24-35, PSALM 149
There are 2 kinds of worship you can participate in. Both are vital for your growth. Corporate – Worshipping, listening, and learning among other believers is not only beneficial, it’s biblical!
The Body of Christ is the instrument God uses to reach the lost, sharpen each other, and it simply is honoring to Him when his children come together to praise him. Individual – This does not necessarily mean singing worship songs for 20 minutes of your day (although it could). Worshipping God as an individual is simply doing acts out of adoration of Him. That could mean taking a walk and praising him for what you see, doing all the chores that day for your family, reading slowly over the lyrics of your favorite worship song, spending time in silence in front of him, the list is endless!
Ponder: What are things in your life that stir your affections (worship) for God?
LIVE IN COMMUNITY
ACTS 2:42, PROVERBS 28:13, HEBREWS 10:24-25
We talk about this a lot at The Well. Living in authentic community. Seen not just in a weekly lifegroup, but among friends who can see and speak into your life. These communities are encouraging to be around, and point others to Christ.
Ponder: Is the community you live in God-honoring? Who are the people that God has placed in your life to make you more like Him?
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2, TITUS 2
In the books of Timothy and Titus Paul explains the importance of believers discipling other believers. This is where life change can really happen! Younger women learning from older women, older men teaching younger men. If you have learned about the Lord through a difficult circumstance, why not share it with someone going through the same trial?
Ponder: Is there an older person in your life that you want to learn from? Is there a younger person in your life that you could take under your wing and show them the things of God? Why not pursue these people?
RECOGNIZE, AND FREE FROM AREAS OF SIN
HEBREWS 12:1-2, ROMANS 6
It is impossible to be truly submitted to Christ while also being submitted to our flesh. In order for the Lord to truly be changing us into the image of His son, we must examine our lives and walk away from the “sin that so easily entangles.” What are you waiting for?
Ponder: What is an area of struggle in your life? What are you going to do to walk away from that sin? Who can you share this with to hold you accountable?
Self-reflection and analyzing where you are at with the Lord isn’t always easy, but always beneficial!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Our submission should be to Him who is our prize, our sustainer, and our motivation!
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Editor’s Note: This article originally posted on The Well Community Church Blog.