When I babysit, I frequently get the line: "But I don't want to!!!!" Sometimes, I respond with an eloquent and gracious comment. Other times, I respond by saying, "Well, it's not all about you."
Yet, I'm a huge hypocrite when it comes to getting what I want. I turn around and whine like a five year old when I'm interrupted at dinner or someone ate my last frozen yogurt bar (RELATED: Frozen Bar Face Off). In fact, the concepts of obedience and submission have been on my own backburner for far too long. I've tried to dance around the subject of obedience. After all, my plan is much better than the plan of the creator of the universe, right? Uh.... ya, that's where I get a little red in the face.
And yet, it is true. I walk around like I know better than God, and He needs to be following my orders. Yikes! It is then that I sheepishly remember verses like Psalm 18:30: "As for God, His way is blameless (NASB)." Or how about James 4:7, which says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (NKJV)."
These verses, along with others, don't leave much open for interpretation. We are to submit to God because His ways are much, much better than ours. We are also to submit to the authority He has place in our lives (Romans 13:13). And while this provides a sense of relief that it's off our shoulders and we can trust God with matters in our life, it tends to make me a little anxious.
In fact, I was struggling with this very issue on Saturday night when I cracked open my Bible for some time with God. "It makes sense," I rationalized to both myself and God, regarding a poor decision I intended to make.
I reassured myself with every page I flipped to get to my bookmark. "I know much better and I know this is the right decision. Plus, if these people are actually correct, then I can just obey later and it's all good. And in the end, you will forgive me anyway if I am wrong. But I'm not. I'm right. I'm right, God, so it's ok to disobey."
As soon as I finished this mini pep talk in my head, I began to read where I had left off the night before. Sure enough, James 4 was on the docket and I starting reading about the importance of submission. I quickly decided that reading some of the Psalms would be "more encouraging," but not before I got a good dose of correction from God. I was wrong. Flat out, 100% wrong. Even if I'd been correct about the disputed matter, which I wasn't, I would've been wrong.
Why? Because God's word makes it clear that we are to submit in obedience to the authorities God has placed in our lives. Now, there are special circumstances where we are instructed to disobey, but in my situation, that wasn't at all the case. James even references Proverbs 3:34, saying: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (NKJV)."
What is proud about disobedience you may ask? Well, it assumes that we know better than God, for one. In essence when we disobey God's instructions or the instructions from authority He's placed over us, we are saying: "You don't know what is best, I do. So, instead of listening to you, I'm gonna do this my way."
Yep. That pretty much sums up my experience the past few weeks. I kept trying to surrender control to God. But all the while, I was telling Him that He had to do things the way I wanted. I wanted to be free from trying to control everything, but I didn't want to take the path He had for me. Thus, no freedom for me! But when we recognize the pride behind disobedience, when we see it as the sin it is, we take the first step towards coming into alignment with Christ. For me, it meant a serious heart talk and a lot of writing. After that, we need to repent. We need to turn away from the disobedience and choose Christ.
It is super hard to do that, believe me. But be encouraged friends: God will bless your obedience! His plans are much better than ours, remember. So when you choose to lay down your will, be ready to pick up all the blessings He has in store for you! Plus, you will find a deep communion with the Father when you are living in obedience rather than disobedience. When we come into alignment with Him, we allow His spirit to flow and His love to pour out of us. This doesn't mean that turning from disobedience will be easy, but it does mean that the more we choose to do so, the better benefit we will see!
Take a step with me this week and identify and area of disobedience or lack of submission in your own life. One thing that helps me is writing a little sentence or short paragraph every day about how I'm doing with my obedience and what I am praying for regarding the struggle. Join me in seeking more of God and less of our sinful nature. And like I said before, be ready to pick up all the blessings and abundance of Christ that will come when you lay down "me me me." (RELATED: Are You Spiritually Face Washing?)