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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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Obstacles, Obstructions, and Opposition

November 1st, 2013

“Amid all these things we . . gain a surpassing victory through [Christ].”  Romans 8:37 AMP.

An overcomer is your identity in Christ, not your ability apart from Him.

My thoughts and comments today are about “obstacles, obstructions, and opposition.”

Life can be challenging. Obstacles, obstructions, and opposition impose themselves across your path and into your plans. Such moments require choices with consequences good or bad. Do you look for an easier path, settle for less, waste valuable resource with little progress, or do you seek Godly solutions not previously considered? You have two options; you can overcome obstacles or be overcome by them. For the Christ-follower, the latter is not an acceptable option.

Too easily, you can indulge yourself and be overcome by things such as: worries, doubt, fears, failures, regrets, disappointments, temptations, or habits until you feel overwhelmed and helpless to resist. Be warned, “By [whatever] a person is overcome, by [that] also he is brought into bondage.” 2 Peter 2:19 NKJV. Paul’s counsel is plain and simple, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 NIV.

Obstacles, obstructions, and opposition can have differing sources. Some obstacles are merely circumstantial, inevitable situations which are common to any of us – things the Bible calls, “the cares of life.” Overcome such obstacles by seeing the opportunity they present, “When trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.” See James 1:2-4 NLT. Read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV/1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT.

Other obstacles result from a spiritual adversary seeking your harm who will use evil “schemes” to dissuade you or misdirect your life. See 2 Corinthians 2:11 NIV/1 Peter 5:7-9 NKJV. Be wise to his intent and undeterred by his opposition. “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NKJV.

Obstacles may even be providential on occasion, evidence of God’s loving intervention to wisely direct or protect you. The obvious or your preferred option may not always be God’s highest and best. But His love will guide you “in the right paths for His Name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 NIV. God may use an obstruction to prompt you to pause and pray about a decision or direction that would not be His highest and best for you. Discern times when God permits an obstacle, obstruction, or opposition in your path. Ignore an obstacle and God may allow an obstruction. Ignore the obstruction and God might allow opposition to get your attention. Paul expected and embraced God’s providential direction in his life. See Acts 16:5-10 NIV.

“Amid all these things [obstacles, obstructions, and opposition] we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 AMP. God has given you the spiritual authority, as well as a solemn responsibility, to be “. . more than conquerors . . [who] gain a surpassing victory THROUGH HIM who loved us.” Paul viewed himself and every believer as overcomers of the highest order. An overcomer is your identity in Christ, not your ability apart from Him. “In Christ!” What a glorious place to be. Read Ephesians 1:18-23 NKJV.

John echoes Paul’s confidence, “You have overcome . . because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world . . For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” See 1 John 4:4/5:4-5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your identity be clear and your confidence strong in God.

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Overcoming Temptation

February 24th, 2010

“Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee.” James 4:7 NKJV

“You govern the gate to your soul; govern it well.”

My thoughts today are about “overcoming temptation.”

Temptation seems to come with the territory. If you are human, you will be tempted. The question is not whether you will be tempted; that is certain. Rather, the matter is what you will do when you are. As long as you live, you will face temptations of various kinds. You will learn to successfully navigate your way through temptations or they will create havoc in your life and the lives of others around you. It is wise to recognize temptation’s early symptoms and to deal with it quickly and wisely.

Temptation’s warning sign is to badly want to have something or do something when at the same time your heart knows you shouldn’t. The Bible says, “Remember then, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17 NLT. I think we all face that problem in some measure. You know better; you just do not always do better.

The source of this ambivalence – “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8) – has three points of origin, the world, the flesh, and the devil. Those are the three avowed enemies of everything holy and good. The devil pulls and pushes you from one side while the world draws you from the other, and caught in between is your sin-weakened flesh – the carnal nature which struggles to resist its sympathy with the world’s enticing allure, and its historical link with the very real power of an enemy who seeks to dominate you now and damn your soul forever.

On this the Bible is clear, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15 NIV). There is an undeniable progress to temptation and its inevitable result – from desire to enticed, from enticed to sin, from sin to death! – and it all begins with you and “your own evil desire.” It starts with you; it can stop with you. Read James 1:12-15 NIV.

My friend, Campbell, often reminded me “the heart cannot desire what the eye has not seen.” You govern the gate to your soul; govern it well. Job was a wise and Godly man. “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully . .” Job 31:1 NIV. Adam and Eve, as well as you and me, would have been a lot better off if they had not looked upon the forbidden fruit as “pleasing to the eyes.” Genesis 3:6 NIV. Avert your eyes; guard your heart; save your soul. Remember, every temptation is not a sin; yielding to it could be.

Understand that you must take the initiative to withstand the evil tendencies, yet realize that you are not able to succeed on your own. Temptation is a powerful thing that is stronger than you can defeat alone, but never stronger than God’s power within you. See 1 John 4:4 NIV. Be assured that you are an overcomer through Christ. See 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV. Be diligent against your adversary. See 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV. Stay submitted to God in obedience and trust. Stand in firm resistance for righteousness in all things. “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. Watch the devil run the other way! You can overcome temptation.

My prayer for you today is to walk humbly before the Lord and wisely in the world.

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