“God’s rules help us resist rebellious behavior and cherish our freedoms.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 4, 2021
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34) Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:6-7
Freedom that flows out of submission to Christ is not self-will, but free of self to do God’s will. The best version of myself comes from dying to myself. Free from my old ways to follow a much better way—the very best way. The ball and chain of unbelief that shackled my soul has been unlocked by love and unfettered by grace through faith. The cross of Jesus Christ gave merciful clemency from my death sentence to hell—absent God, and replaced it with His abundant life on earth, topped only by eternal life with Him, forever in heaven. True freedom indeed. Grace gives me the freedom to resist the devil, overcome sin and tame my self-will!
Liberty in the Lord is truly lasting freedom. Outside of submission to God Almighty, we become a discontent, miserable slave to the almighty dollar, to people, to places and to things. To be a servant of Christ is a much greater glory than the greatest monarch on earth—King of Kings and Lord of Lords—He reigns! The desire of our Creator and Savior is not an onerous burden but a light yoke of love. We are children and friends of the Most High, free to serve, free to love and free to obey. No more chained to the culture or paralyzed by politics, but with the interdependence of eagle’s wings and wind, we soar by faith with the uplifting current of the Holy Spirit. Paul describes himself as a prisoner for the Lord—free but under God’s authority:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Freedom is only fulfilling if experienced within the rules of love. God gives his children guidelines to grow their capacity to love and to protect them from unwise decisions, even sinful tendencies. Treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated. Avoid lies by embracing the truth. Honor your parents, especially when they have a deficiency of genuine honor. Battle covetousness and idolatry with gratitude and generosity. Replace selfish love with authentic love. Celebrate the diversity of the body of Christ. Like a vast orchestra everyone plays a different instrument producing a beautiful sound: some loud, some soft, some soothing, some vibrant movements to activate melodious works. God’s rules help us resist rebellion and cherish our freedoms. Submission to Christ positions us to be loved by Christ and to love others like Christ.
What does submission to God look like? Sub means under—it’s getting under the Lord’s mission to love. It’s not demanding our rights, but trusting Jesus to do the right thing in the right way. The Spirit works things out in a wise fashion when we submit to the authorities in our life. We can disagree as we submit—knowing God is in control—He is the ultimate judge. We can appeal our position by offering creative solutions, but regardless of the outcome we are free in Christ.
“Although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains” (Philemon 1:8-10).
Heavenly Father, I submit to you and trust you to work out your will in your timing, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
What situation or decision do I need to submit to God and the authorities over my life, and trust the Spirit to orchestrate the best outcomes?
Hillsong Young & Free: As I Am
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