Freedom through Submission

Freedom through Submission

As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have several disciplines that aid us in following Him: prayer, Bible study, church attendance, etc. Each discipline has value only when we keep God in perspective. And each discipline brings freedom if we practice it! I want to stress that the disciplines bring freedom, because the discipline of submission is often seen as the opposite of freedom. It is seen this way because a spirit of rebellion has deceived us.

You may be asking, what freedom comes with submission? It is freedom from the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way. You may be thinking, “I like getting my own way”. However, submission frees us from the anxiety, anger, frustration, bitterness, rebellion, and other bondages of Satan associated with the desire to get our own way.

If we have a humble spirit of submission, we are free to love and trust God to bless us. We are free to value other people and love them. We are free to give up our own rights for the good of others. We are free to pray for those who persecute us. We are free to “turn the other cheek.”

Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Denying self is not something we like to do. However, Jesus’s calling for self-denial is not self-hatred. It is a calling to submit our life to Christ, make Him our Lord, and deny ourselves of any self-rule. If we will deny ourselves, we will discover our joy is not dependent on getting what we want, but on obeying and following Christ.

Jesus gave us a pattern for submission in all of our relationships. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not My will, but Your will be done.” That is submission. Jesus had the power to save Himself. He was tempted by His flesh and the devil to consider another way. However, Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father and faced torture and death on a cross for you and me. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). That joy was doing the will of the Father and saving you and me from damnation. That is submission!

Philippians 2:3-8 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

As Christians, we are to follow Christ’s example and submit to God for His purpose and the betterment of others. We yield our bodies, minds, and spirits to God, to do with as He pleases. That means we hear the Word, receive the Word, and obey the Word.

That means we do what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

When we don’t submit to loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind; when we don’t submit to loving others; when we don’t deny ourselves and follow Christ, we are controlled by spirits of rebellion, pride, selfishness, lust, and pleasure. Then we suffer terrible consequences.

James 4:1-7 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James asks, “Where do wars and fights come from among you?” It is easy to blame others for our relationship problems. It is also easy to blame external circumstances. But truthfully, as this Scripture tells us, we need to look within ourselves for the source of conflict. We may think of ourselves as godly people, followers of Jesus Christ, but deep within each of us is a prideful, rebellious, selfish nature.

We have problems with people and problems with God, because we have “desires for pleasure that war in our members.” Lust for power, popularity, prestige, and pleasure create strife. Abrasive words and abusive actions are expressed to one another because we are not submitted to loving God or to loving one another.

Selfishness, when it is observed in another, is so obvious and ugly. But selfishness, that is malignant within us, can be neatly surrounded with rationalizations, excuses, and even religious justifications.

The more selfish people want something and don’t get it, the more unhappy, restless, and discontented they become. They are driven by spirits of pride, power, and pleasure. When two un-submitted people’s desires clash, a quarrel is the result. Unfortunately, these conflicts even occur in the Church.

James said, “God resists the proud,” (James 4:6). Pride means to act arrogantly; to have a high opinion of one’s worth. Pride promotes self-sufficiency, rather than submitting to God. God hates pride because it has the capability of destroying our lives.

Why does God resist the proud? Because the proud have a spirit of rebellion like the devil, Lucifer. When we are prideful, rebellious, and selfish, we have the spirit of Lucifer instead of the Holy Spirit. So God resists us. The spirit of Lucifer is all about self.

 Isaiah 14:13-14 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.’

We have to serve somebody. Our choices are only two. We have to submit to either God or Lucifer. Unfortunately, North Americans seldom believe in a literal devil anymore. However, God's Word centers on an ongoing conflict between God and Lucifer. If we don’t believe in a literal devil and his fallen angels, called demons, then we will continue to battle against flesh and blood instead of fighting the real battle. That failure, to recognize the real enemy, will cause us individually to lose the war that is going on around us.

Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Mankind became involved in this conflict in the Garden of Eden when the devil was successful in leading Adam and Eve into sin. The conflict has continued throughout man’s history and will continue until the devil is bound in Hell.

As Christians, we are supposed to know our enemy and all his evil schemes. The Holy Spirit will give us discernment of the spirits. The Word of God tells us how to recognize them. Knowing your enemy is winning half the battle. The other half is faith, prayer, fasting, God’s Word, and using your authority over the enemy in Jesus Name.

Matthew 17:14-21 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him." Then Jesus answered and said, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me." And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

If you think this Scripture was for them back then and the devil doesn’t operate that way today, then you are deceived by the enemy and you need your eyes opened by the Holy Spirit. The influence of Satan is everywhere: in government, the media, in our education system, in our homes, and even in some churches.

The devil’s devices include obsession, possession, and oppression. These are affecting people all around us and may even be affecting you. Judas Iscariot was affected by all three. He was obsessed with money, possessed by Satan, and oppressed to commit suicide.

Obsession causes us to think or worry about something constantly and compulsively; to be preoccupied, consumed, and fixated on an idea, emotion, person, or thing. If we are obsessed, we don’t believe we can live without it or them. Obsession is running rampant in our society today because of uncontrolled passions for sex, money, pleasure, or power.

Possession means to own or be in control of something or someone. To be demon possessed is to be controlled by demons. Signs of demon possession are obvious by out-of-control, ungodly, physical and verbal behavior. Many demon possessed people are in prisons and insane asylums, but the daily news reveals that many are still living among us. When the demons use that person to do their dastardly deeds, we make the mistake of calling it something else because we don’t believe in the devil, which is the devil’s biggest deception of all time. (Las Vegas shooter- motive?—ignoring demons—wouldn’t have done it if he was filled with the Holy Spirit)

Oppression causes depression, hopelessness, and a loss of faith. Oppression is highly stressful: exerting a worrying, troubling, or burdensome pressure on somebody. It causes pain, fear, tears, and thoughts of suicide. It is a cruel bondage with no comfort. Oppressed people take drugs to feel better, but some give up instead of realizing the joy and freedom that could be theirs through submission to Jesus Christ.

All of these bondages need deliverance. We can’t set ourselves free. We need Jesus and His deliverance. Submission to Jesus and His Word will set us free from the bondages of Satan.

If you are affected by Satan’s devices, get with someone who will not sympathize with your fleshly desires and demonic thoughts, but who will give you the Word of God, rebuke the demons in Jesus’s Name, pray with you, and continue praying with you and teaching you what God says. Desire Jesus, submit to Him, and He will deliver you, set you free, and fill you with the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

Be careful what goes into your mind, for it will affect your soul (mind, will, and emotions). Submit your mind and will to God and the devil will have difficulty deceiving you. Therefore, stay away from demonic movies and literature that can affect your mind and emotions as much, if not more, than actual experiences. God shows us in His Word that witchcraft, sorcery, spells, divination, and magic are evil. He hates those practices because they blind us to His loving ways; then turn our hearts to a deceptive quest for self-empowerment and deadly thrills, resulting in spiritual bondage.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations, the LORD your God is driving them out before you.

Harry Potter's world may be fictional, but the timeless pagan practices that literature promotes are real and deadly. I do not understand why Christian parents allow their kids to watch horror movies, read demonic literature, attend “haunted houses”, and then wonder why their children are battling spirits of rebellion, spirits of lust, and having nightmares in the middle of the night. Parents have been deceived by the enemy to believe these things aren’t real and therefore won’t hurt us.

James said, “Therefore submit to God.” If we would do this, it would solve all our personal and societal problems. God offers us freedom through submission, but spirits of pride and rebellion deceive us and keep us in bondage. Consequently, many have shipwrecked their faith and their lives. They are all around us. Furthermore, look at this nation, which claims to be “under God” (submitted to Him). It is being destroyed more and more as it increasingly rejects God.

We are like the captain of a ship, who looked into the dark foggy night and saw lights approaching. Immediately, he told his signalman to send a message" "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north." The captain was angered; so he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am seaman third class Jones." Immediately the captain sent a third message, with a threat: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."

In the midst of our dark and foggy times, you may think, as captain of your own life, you can avoid destruction by ignoring God’s Word, but God and His Word are immovable. They don’t change, and submitting to Him will save your life.

The word submit, is a military term that means "get into your proper rank." By submitting to the Lord, we place ourselves in proper rank and enjoy freedom in His Kingdom.

Lastly, James said, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Once we submit to the will of God, God abides in us and we have the grace, the authority, and the power to resist the devil. By submitting to the will of God, we cause our enemy to flee from us. Only uncompromised submission will bring totally victory and freedom in our life.

If you have the desire to submit your life to Jesus Christ, believe in Him and confess your faith publicly, repent of your sin and self-rule by submitting to baptism. Then you will be born again by the Holy Spirit, who will give you power and freedom through submission.