Read: Luke 23
Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46, NLT)
Submission is not a very appealing word in our culture, but it is critical to the Kingdom life, growing and producing God-pleasing fruit in us. Submission is not weakness, it is acceptance of the will of God for our lives, and our joyful surrender to it. Submission is an active faith in God’s plan and a ruthless trust in his character, especially when things are unpleasant for us. Submission says, as Jesus prayed, “Father, not my will but your will be done.”
Submission shapes everything about the Christian life: How we respond to our circumstances, how we regard others, how we regulate our emotions, and how we relate to the eternal world. More than anything, godly submission produces confidence that God knows what he is doing with our lives, which in turn, produces even greater surrender.
Submission also releases God’s favor in our lives. Just look at Jesus, the most powerful, yet most submissive man who ever lived. Of all the qualities that endeared him both to the Father and to those of us who have entrusted our eternal salvation to him, it was his joyful surrender to the mission of God that stand above all others. In particular, notice how his submission to God’s plan in the face of death released the Father’s high favor to him:
“Jesus humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names.” (Philippians 2: 8-9)
“Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Is there anything that moves both the heart and the hand of the Father more than our submission to the divine mission, especially when it requires surrender to the unpleasant providence of God? Is there anything that better demonstrates tough-minded but tender-hearted trust that God knows what he is doing than submission to his plan? Is there any greater joy, tranquility or stability than knowing and trusting that because of the Fathers’ competent care, this world is a perfectly safe and satisfying place—even when it doesn’t look like it? Is there any prayer more God-honoring than to pray, as Jesus did, “Not my will but your will be done…into your hands I commend my spirit?” (Luke 22:42, 23:46)
No—there is none!
“Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives.” ~Andrew Murray
What If God Took Over?
Surrender and submission to the will of God is not always, perhaps not usually, an easily thing. Where do you need to submit to the Father’s will today? As you think about that, remember the words so movingly expressed by the old hymn,
My times are in thy hand:
Why should I fear?
My Father’s hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.