James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. …10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “submission”? A doormat? Robotic compliance? The vision of a beaten down wife? Do you bristle just hearing the word?
As a woman who grew up in the era of “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”, I used to agree with the cultural norm that “submission” is a sign of weakness, definitely not an attribute of a woman with a brain in her head. I’ve come to view submission as something beautiful, freeing, and key to victorious living.
The essence of submission is humility and it’s the opposite of rebellion. It involves being yielded and surrendering one’s will to rather than resisting and defying another’s authority. The biography of blind, deaf, and dumb Helen Keller illustrates well the difference between and consequences of a rebellious and submissive spirit.
In one of the most memorable scenes in “The Miracle Worker”, the story of her life, Helen walks around the family dining room table wildly grabbing whatever she wants from the family members’ plates, totally focused upon satisfying her own desires and oblivious to the chaos her self-absorbed, willful behavior creates. In frustration at being unable to control her destructive behavior, the Kellers hire a teacher for Helen, Annie Sullivan.
Annie understands Helen’s needs and knows what is necessary if Helen and those around her are to live free from turmoil and experience peace and joy. Rather than caving into Helen’s demands, Annie forces Helen to confront her biggest obstacle: her strong-willed, rebellious spirit.
Once she chooses to yield her will to Annie’s superior will, Helen becomes free to live a life filled with overflowing abundance. Helen described her life prior to Annie’s presence as, “only a little mass of possibilities. It was my teacher who unfolded and developed them. When she came, everything about me breathed of love and joy and was full of meaning.”
Similarly, meaningful, joyful life is only possible for us if we submit to the higher will of our Teacher, Jesus. Submission to God’s will opens the door for us to experience the abundant life He longs for us to have and only He can give. If we are not submitting to Him, we are living in rebellion to Him. We will reap what we sow.
Rebellion versus Submission
Rollercoaster living Steadily moving forward and upward
Fear and distrust Faith, trusting in God’s love
Meaningless existence Significant, purposeful living
Distant from God Intimacy with God
Temporal focus Eternal focus
Death Eternal life
Helen Keller’s choice to submit her will made it possible for her to become one of the most accomplished people of all time. With her teacher Annie Sullivan continuously at her side, Helen left a legacy that inspires all who hear of her phenomenal achievements. Your Teacher promises to always be at your side and to give you abundant and eternal life. All He asks is that you submit to His perfect will.
What will your story be? Will you be just a ‘mass of possibilities’ or submit to God’s will and leave a legacy that impacts now and eternity?