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Submission or Subjection?

September 27th, 2017

Joy and satisfaction are found in submission to the ways and will of God.

 “Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil.” James 4:7 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today ask,

“Submission or Subjection?”

I may be corrected by an English teacher reading this, but I am intrigued today by two similar words that sometimes seem alike, but can infer a dissimilar process. Those words are: submission and subjection. I think a distinction between them is important for proper application – practically, relationally, and spiritually. The first of those words – submission – describes your voluntary willingness to comply with another’s request or requirement of you.

You submit when, by your free will, you forego your rights to do otherwise.  Submission suggests a voluntary willingness and readiness, choosing the better option for the right reasons. Your relationship with God is based on willing submission and joyful obedience. James advised, “Therefore, submit yourselves to God.” James 4:7 NKJV. By your choice of submission, you subject yourself to obedience as unto the Lord.

The second word – subjection – includes the idea of coercion and subjugation. “Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.” Psalm 106:42 NKJV. Coercion occurs when someone attempts to impose their will on another person. Anyone who demands compliance at the threat of their disfavor or unwanted consequences is trying to force you to do their wish and will. In both submission and subjection, the end results are similar but the motivation and strategy differ vastly.

Submission is your voluntary response to what is asked of you and is beneficial and appropriate for you to do. God patiently awaits your submission. In contrast, subjection relies upon coercion, demanding by threat of disfavor or punishment to gain compliance you would not otherwise give. Our better nature responds more positively to a request or rightful expectation. Our baser nature – and we all have one – is oppositional, expressing reluctance, resistance, or outright refusal to demands contrary to our own will or perceived pleasure.

Submission is a choice that only you can make. Joy and satisfaction are found in submission to the ways and will of God alone. Conversely, subjection is imposed from outside by others. Only frustration and displeasure will be found there. Others will try to overlay their expectations, plans, and will upon your life. Trust the sacred environs of your heart and life to none but God. Our God never imposes His will on your life, nor should you allow others to impose theirs. He offers His ways and will for your good.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV. Subjection burdens you with concerns you did not choose. Submission to God frees you to elevate your life to all that is higher and better. The choice is yours!

Today, I pray for you to know joys of submission to God and His ways.

Christian Communications 2017

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When Push Comes to Shove

March 25th, 2013

“They were about to . . take Him by force to make Him king.” John 6:15 NKJV.

Jesus will not be King at the time or terms of anyone but His Father.

My thoughts and comments today discuss “times when push comes to shove.”

Has anyone pressured you to become what they want you to be? Have you tried pressuring someone? How did that work out for you? Not so well, I would imagine. Manipulation of another is rarely successful and never as satisfying as you hoped. Yet many people insist God be and do as they wish. How has that worked out for you? Not so well either, I would imagine. But people still try.

Chastening Israel for their idolatry, the prophet Isaiah describes the folly of a man cutting wood to warm himself, roast his meat, “and of the residue he makes a god . . falls down and worships it, prays to it, and says, ’Deliver me for you are my god.’” Isaiah 44:17. How foolish you say? Without success, people try to force God to be what they prefer or do what they insist. A god of your making is not much of a god. Idolatry is not always the inadequate representation of God in wood or stone; more commonly, idolatry can take the form of your demands and expectations of God, to suit your convenience or pleasure.

God made you, “in His image and likeness.” He will not allow you to make Him, “into your image and likeness” – a god subservient to demands, catering to whims, excusing faults, indulging sins, supplying wants, requiring little, and giving much. God will not be coerced nor obliged to you. At all times, He will remain true to His nature, character, wisdom, and purpose. There always seemed efforts to force Jesus to comply in ways contrary to the Father or Jesus’ own substitutionary purpose – such as the Tempter’s taunting in the wilderness, the criticism and plotting of religious leaders, the resistance of His disciples, or the mocking crowd at the cross, “If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross . . and we will believe.” See Matthew 27:40-44 NKJV.

Following Jesus’ miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fish, John reported, “When they had seen the sign that Jesus did, [they] said, ‘This is truly the Prophet [we have been expecting] (NLT).’  Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” John 6:14-15 NKJV. Imagine; to fit their expectations, people would attempt “by force to make Him king.”

Manage your reaction when God or others do not promptly bend to your will. Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, some people in His home synagogue in Nazareth became so angry with His words that, “they took [Jesus] to the top of the hill on which their town was built. They meant to throw him over the cliff, but He walked through the middle of the crowd and went His way.” Read Luke 4:28-30 TEV. Most are not as violent; some just persist, plead, and pout to weary any opposition. God is too wise and loves too much to indulge your insistence.

Jesus will not be King at the time or terms of anyone but His Father, nor should you be swayed by the coercive manipulation of others. You cannot force God to act in the way you want or at the time you want, just because that’s what you want. See Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV. God’s ways are best, whatever pressure you are feeling at the moment. Be wary “when push comes to shove,” in your relationship with the Lord Jesus on your journey of faith.

My prayer for you this day is that you will let God be God and accept His timing as perfect.

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