What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.
4 Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.5 Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously?
6 But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
7 Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
James 4 HCSB
Sunday I had the rare opportunity to spend a little extra time at home before heading off to meet with The Church. I had some time to help my Littles study their Bibles, to study in my own, and get this up. (Then I made a dessert to take to a friend’s for lunch – yum!) I had read that day in my study about submitting to God. Unlike many people, the word submit does not scare me, but to be fair, I was raised by a bunch of single men and women (on and off) for most of my life. In other words, we didn’t even use the word! So, the first time it was ever taught to me was within the arms of a loving Church Family. It has always had an esteemed place in my eyes and heart and mind. Even with an esteemed place, though, it left a lot of unanswered questions as to how, in relation to God, do I do this. What does it look like? What’s my posture?
Sunday I was filled with a very good measure of His Spirit! I had done the thing we talk about doing but hardly ever do – I had begun my worship before I even drove onto the property of our church. During our corporate time together, then, was this sweet overflowing of what had already been going on that morning between my Jesus and me. Talk about stale, bitter, undrinkable, marah waters made sweet – oh, it was! I also walked in with a word…submit. I still didn’t know what submitting was supposed to look like. All I did know was somehow I was going to live it that day! Surprisingly it didn’t require me to keep my eyes closed or my mouth (well, not completely…smile). Instead of shutting me down, it really opened me up to a greater filling of Him. When eyes would veer, mind would wander, heart would think of letting her guard down, words would begin to falter, and attitude would seek self, I would imagine myself hiding way down deep in the comfort of his arms. A very great place to be!
Still, my vision was a little off and I knew it. God would not have His children cower before Him as they submit, and that was the picture I was getting every time I would shout to myself, “Submit!” Crouched down, head bowed, one hand on the floor to hold me up as I balanced on my toes, and one hand up to shield my face from Him. Amazingly, I still felt His love in this posture, but I knew this wasn’t quite it. So, I prayed. I asked Him to give me the real posture He would have me in as I submitted to Him. I love how He answers!
Last night was my weekly Bible Study with some ladies from my Church Family. We had a small group, but those are kind of my favorite – not as many walls to break through! We are studying Beth’s James, Mercy Triumphs. Session 5 included submission, but it also included a translation that clarified a bit more of the word. During her Greek word study she was able to examine other words used that include submission within its meaning. One of which was yielding.
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. Matthew 27 ESV
To yield: to let someone go on ahead, before yourself; to offer up. Over and over Beth demonstrated the act of yielding by lifting her hands up to God. It was a wonderful way to see it displayed, but no new revelation came upon me at that time. When the video was finished and we were reacting a bit to what we had just learned, then – THEN, He gave it! To understand my excitement fully, you need to know this: Beth mentioned how she had prayed to God for Him to reveal a real life example of what mercy looked, that she might share that with her listeners. He did! So, after this amazing testimony, we were discussing what submission and believing God and trusting Him would look. As I was talking to my friends about my last Sunday and submission, God brought it all together in my mind’s eye. I had to tell them! I began by saying, and it is true, that I don’t experience the Word the way I would like to, as often as I would like to, but tonight (last night) I was! I told them my Sunday study, my Monday morning prayer, and then, the exciting part, I told them how God had JUST answered!
To assume the posture of submission isn’t a cowering in the presence of Your Heavenly Father – the veil has been torn from top to bottom and we have full access to the Creator of all! The posture of submitting, at its sweetest, purest form, between a Father and His child is the same one my little girl still gives daily: with her hands lifted up, face lifted up, and voice crying out, “Momma, I need you!” Beautiful! I always thought about how much lower I could go, and I know it to be true, that going lower reveals “higher” blessings, but in the presence of the Almighty, no amount of falling prostrate is going to put me in any lower position, spiritually, than I already am. I am lower, He is high and lifted up, shining in the light of His glory! (Note this, though, sometimes the very physical act of falling face down on the ground is what is needed as I come face to face with our God. If He knocked Daniel, Isaiah, and John down with His glory, most assuredly my knees will buckle and bring me down! Our God is just that kind of God – too much!) Submission – humility doesn’t seem so much about going lower (though it does require it) as it does about knowing we need to reach up and say “Daddy, I need you!”
So there! When I wake up with a testy, fluctuating mood – I yield! When I begin to feel my superiority coming on – I will get my hands up and give it to The Superior! When I have yelled and fought and hurt again – I may actually kneel now, but I will lift my hands high and cry out “Daddy!”. When everything is going happy – I will lift my hands in humble adoration and thanksgiving! When absolutely everything is changing or falling apart – with head, hands, and heart lifted I will say, “Daddy, I need you!” When my self and pride and prejudices begin to flaunt their ugly heads, I may actually fall face down, but I will lift those hands and give all of me over to Him again. I will yield. I will submit. I will be beautiful in His Hands!