"Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it'"--Luke 9:23-24.
God's ownership of us begins with one simple word:
Most of us use this word with contempt. In our culture, to submit is a sign of weakness, an action of last measure. Giving in. We submit to most things involuntarily. The American man is one who never gives in, who fights to the end, even when all odds are against him.
We’ll never surrender.
Sometimes not even to God.
Here’s the irony to submission. More times than not, we’re the last to do it, but the first to expect it. We want it from our wives, our children, our employees, even from God. What do we do when we pray for something and it doesn’t happen? Have you ever questioned Him? I know I have. But God, I’m living for You. I’m doing all the right things. Why aren’t You coming through for me?
Sometimes we see God as a divine ATM machine. We assume He’s there for us, not vice versa. We want Him to submit to our wishes, sometimes even our demands. Yes, even our demands. Submission involves a radical alteration in our thought processes. It involves sacrifice of what we think we want.
When we submit to God, fully, we stretch our arms out to our sides, face the waves, and say “I’m yours.” Insanity in the natural sense. It’s suicide to watch a hurricane approach and not fear for our lives. But the storm God sends is only destructive when we fight it, when we try to evacuate from it out of fear of what it will do to our lives, our miniscule little world we’ve created for ourselves.
It goes back to the question. Is He Lord? Until we submit—fully—to Him, fully to the circling wind and pelting rain, Christ will remain to us as nothing more than a philosophy, a nice idea. Church, Bible study, service, tithing, all this will be immaterial. It won’t matter. It will remain nothing more than a game, a neat little psychological diversion. It will be nothing more than an emotional crutch to get us through the rough spots in life, nothing more than a cardboard shelter.
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