Monday, March 18, 2019

9. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree - (4) Submission

Paul says, 5You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  6Though he was God, [Or Being in the form of God] he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  7Instead, he gave up his divine privileges [Greek he emptied himself] he took the humble position of a slave [Or the form of a slave] and was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, 8he humbled himself in obedience [submission] to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  -- Philippians 2:5-8

In human nature it is not an easy act to surrender ourselves.  We struggle in our attempts to hold on to self, to maintain our iron will, to do and live as we want.  Charles Stanley, in essence, made a statement like this, we do not read God’s Word for the truth, but we read His Word to say what we want it to say.  The Word becomes a source to justify our life style not the life God intended us to live.  It is not an easy choice to submit our life to God’s Will and it will continue to be a struggle until that day of total submission as Christ submitted in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Our day of submission is our Gethsemane!

F.T. Pickett, Professor, Christian Life School of Theology, Author and Teacher, says: “Joy is derived from the confidence that the price of dying to our will holds the inevitable certainty of eventually realizing the triumph of HIS [will]”.

Richard J. Foster writes, “All of the luminaries in Scripture struggled as well:  Abraham as he relinquished his son, Isaac; Moses as he relinquished his understanding of how the deliverer of Israel should function; David as he relinquished the son given to him by Bathsheba; Mary as she relinquished control over her future; Paul as he relinquished his desire to be free of a debilitating ‘thorn in the flesh’”.  In the end each one submitted to God’s Will and they were blessed!

I quote Pastor James Merritt, “there are only three men in the History of the Old Testament who God did not reprimand.  They were Joseph, Daniel and Jonathan.”  Why?  They followed God’s commandments in total submission.

This does not mean they did not go through trials and suffering in their life, but it means despite the trials, they were in total submission to our God and Father.  In so doing they Glorified God.

To surrender self in total submission is the crucifixion of self.  Paul understood this perfectly in Galatians2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

In the crucifixion of self, we gain complete submission to Christ Jesus and the Will of the Father.  We are set free to pray, to act and to serve “where He (God) is already at work”.

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