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How to Submit Your Life to God

My first full sentence was, "Let me do it by me-self!" I've always been fiercely independent and have never enjoyed being told what to do. As I grew up, I read the scripture that told us to "Take up your cross daily and follow me," (Luke 9:23) and I knew the Bible said, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) But being the stubborn, hard-headed child I was, I had no idea how to do that, and I was fairly certain I didn't want to.

Why would I want to submit to God, anyway? Did it really even matter? When I was younger, Christianity was like a checklist to me. Don't drink: check. Don't smoke: check. Don't cuss: check. Don't have sex: check. Have quiet time every morning: umm...not so much, but I would certainly feel guilty if I didn't.
As I got older and actually did submit my life to the Lord, I realized the key: It's about relationship.
I submit this analogy. Let's say you and I are going to date. Prior to our first date, I set up some ground rules:
    1. You must call me every morning and talk to me for 15 minutes.
    2. You must text me back within 15 minutes of receiving a text from me.
    3. You must dedicate three hours every weekend to spending time with just me.
    4. You must ask me for permission before you go anywhere or do anything.
    5. You must never talk bad about me to anyone

After setting up these rules, how many of you would want to date me? Most men would run for the hills. It would be ridiculous for me to expect these kinds of things from a man I barely know.
But what about after a few weeks of dating? If we are in a committed relationship with one another, are you going to be willing to do those things for me? What if you have fallen in love with me? Would you willingly give up 15 minutes every morning just to hear my voice? Would you want to spend three hours every weekend with me? Would you talk to me about your plans and ask my advice before making decisions? 

Did the "rules" of dating change? What is different in the first scenario vs. the second? Relationship. That's the only thing that changed. In the first one, it seems oppressive and almost psycho to expect those things without a relationship first. But once we are in love, you will willingly do those things because I'm important to you. 

That's what Christianity and submitting to God is--it's a relationship. Once you enter into a real relationship with God, it's no longer a litany of rules we must adhere to. You desire to do the things of God because you understand His immense love for you. Then it won't be about a checklist. It will be about honoring the relationship that you are cultivating with the Lord. 

That is how you submit to the Lord--by making a choice to put the Lord and your relationship with Him above all else. 


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