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Submission Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

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“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:23-25

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they one from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God? Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the Spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. James 4:1-10

First, I submit fully to Christ as a believer in Him. I relinquish control over my life and yield control over everything in my life to Jesus.  Then, because I want to obey God and please Him (because I love Him more than anything or anyone), I submit to my husband’s  God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5,  Colossians 3:18).

When Jesus is LORD of my life, getting my way is no longer my primary goal. Bringing honor and glory to Him is my primary goal now – even in my marriage.

DYING TO SELF, CARRYING OUR CROSS DAILY

This is a concept that is central to being a true disciple of Christ, and it is a painful and unpopular one. “Dying to self “is much overlooked in our Western churches today because we prefer to hear about “health, wealth and happiness” – not the biblical concepts of suffering, sacrifice, obedience no matter what the cost and total submission to Christ as LORD of all in our lives.

As disciples of Jesus, we cling to Jesus alone. We hold everything else loosely. When there is something we want, we ask God for it in faith. We also ask God to help us examine our motives to be sure we are not asking with wrong motives. We learn to lay each issue at the feet of Jesus, being content with whichever outcome is the will of God regardless of our own will. We learn to seek His will far above our own.

This is what Jesus means by carrying our cross daily.

  • We lay down our will.
  • We lay down our desires.
  • We remember that our sinful nature was crucified with Christ on the cross and that we learn to count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus.
  • We lay down all that we are, all of our plans, our dreams, our health, our money, our jobs, our husbands, our children, our future, our talents, our wisdom and everything that is ours and we place it on the altar before Christ. Meaning – we trust Him fully with all of the things that are most precious to us.
  • We are willing to give up anything He asks us to at any time.
  • We cling only to Jesus. We count Him as the only thing we MUST have. He is our Greatest Treasure. He is our LIFE. We truly desire Him far above anything else in this world,

This is hard. It is a very painful process. Submission to God’s will was difficult and painful for Jesus Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. How much more difficult and painful will it be for us as sinners to die to self? Yet, our submission to God and faith in Him is His measure of our love for Him. If we are willing to obey God and trust His heart – even if He asks us to be willing to surrender our greatest and dearest relationships and treasures on this earth – the end result is maturity in our faith and great joy and fruitfulness in Christ!

Each of us have different priorities and different things we hold very dear.

For the rich young ruler – the thing that was most important in his life was his money and his wealth. He was not willing to sell all he had and follow Christ. His money and belongings were more important to him than Jesus. Jesus doesn’t necessarily call each of us to sell all he has and give to the poor and follow Him. But –

He does call each of His followers to be willing to give up anything and everything for His sake at any time and to put nothing above Him in our hearts. Ever.

That is how we show our deepest devotion and love is for Him alone – that we believe He is worthy of any sacrifice He might ask us to make.

Check out the response of God’s faithful servant, Job, when he lost all of his 10 children and all of his wealth in one day:

Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job 1:20-22

God tests our faith by trials (James 1, Job and I Peter are about this). Many times He will ask us to be willing to give up whatever is most precious to us. These tests force us to purify our motives, refine our faith and to grow into maturity as we must wrestle with being willing to give up the things of this world that we love most to demonstrate that our love for God is greater than our love for anything or anyone else. The Lord certainly tested Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac on the altar to Him to prove that He loved God more than the promised child. And then, what an incredible thing – God did not actually require Abraham to go through with the test – but God Himself DID  sacrifice His only Son to prove His outrageous love for us.

WHAT THINGS DO YOU HOLD MOST DEAR?

Each of us have different “hot button issues” and fears. What may be a great test of faith for one of us may not be difficult for another. But we each have certain things that we don’t want to sacrifice and surrender to God. There are all kinds of things that we may feel we “must have” to be happy in this life. When we are tested, God may call upon us to be willing to give up something of this world that we hold dear. Many times, the thing may be a “good thing.” It may even be a gift from God. But God wants to see us be willing to choose Him and to obey Him over having what we want in this world. If we are not willing to surrender something and we are unwilling to give it up in obedience to God, then, we are likely dealing with an idol, something that is more important to us than God.

THIS IS PART OF THE PROCESS OF REFINING OUR FAITH AND PURIFYING OUR HEARTS

He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

To give up something we hold as precious requires us to spend MUCH time wrestling in prayer, MUCH purposeful surrendering and submitting and yielding to God. It can be agony. Have I had to do this with certain issues? Yes. Will I have to do it again many times in my life? Definitely! But this process forces us to learn to lay down our will and seek only God’s will as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is HARD! It is PAINFUL!!!!!!!

There is no shortcut here as we learn to trust God completely, depend on His sovereignty and goodness and His unspeakable love for us.

We learn that God is truly going to do what is ultimately best for us and what will cause us to be more like Christ as we walk through the fiery trials. We learn that this is the path to maturing in our faith and learning to depend on the sufficiency of Christ. This is how we learn to be content in any circumstances no matter what the outcome of any situation.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13

This is where we learn to experience the supernatural peace of God, as we give God the freedom to give and take whatever He knows is best in our lives. We learn to lean not on our own understanding but to wholly depend on God and His wisdom. We learn to live in constant submission to His Spirit and His Word. We long to delight Him and to know Him more. The things of this world grow “strangely dim” as we focus on Christ and eternity. We begin to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven because that is where our hearts are. We become willing to suffer for Jesus even if it costs us dearly and we learn to count suffering for Him as an honor and blessing. We learn to be willing to literally lose our own lives for Him if He calls us to do that. We cleave to Jesus and cling tightly to Him. And we are willing to let go of everything else, seeking only His will and all of His will. We ask Him to change our hearts to want what He wants and to hate what He hates. This is the process of being pruned, refined, tested, tried and sanctified as God conforms us to the image of Christ.

My full submission to God means that my life is not about me, it is about God’s greatest glory!

There are times when God will ask us to be willing to do things we REALLY do not want to do. Submission can be very painful – our submission to God and to our husbands. Sometimes a husband may ask his wife to do something that she completely disagrees with. I believe that she can and should share her heart, desires, thoughts, ideas, perspective and feelings respectfully – just like we share our hearts, needs and desires with God in prayer. But then, if he still believes it is the best course of action and he is not clearly asking her to sin (by God’s definition not hers), she can submit to his leadership joyfully, trusting God to work through her husband’s leadership to bring about His will in her life even when she doesn’t understand. She knows that she will understand in time and that God is able to use every circumstance to bring about His will and to do good in her life for His glory (Romans 8:28-29).

* If a husband is asking his wife to clearly sin, please check out Spiritual Authority.

SHARE:

I would love to hear from some of you who have submitted to God and your husband in a time when you did not agree, but you rested in the sovereignty of God and then later saw the wisdom in your husband’s decision and in God’s ability to lead you through your husband.

If there are specific issues that are particularly difficult for you to submit to God and/or your husband about, let’s talk about it together!

PS:

For wives whose husbands tend to be very dominant and strong, you will want to check out the comments on last week’s post. There are some beautiful gems of wisdom there from other wives who are learning to honor God and their husbands in such situations when their husbands are angry.

RELATED:

A Real Life Example of Biblical Submission and Respect

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Idol of Control

My Secret Idol – a wife wants her husband to be saved more than anything

How to Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ 

Things that Fuel Discontentment in Me

Contentment Only Comes from Having Christ as Lord

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

61 thoughts on “Submission Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

  1. You are always right on time. God really uses you to confirm what he is saying. It is hard, but when situations are sticky, and you don’t have a clear specific answer, relying on God’s structure of authority is all we can do until He makes the pathway clear. My husband and I are in a situation where we don’t know if either of our preferences will work, but God brought me to the conclusion that I must submit to my husband in this. Now I just have to be quiet about things.

  2. I love holding things loosely for the Lord. This is what He meant by the verse:

    “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Mt 10:37

    I love my husband and our children and people whom I hold dear, but I love them with the love of the Lord. I love them next only to God.

    For as long as I remember this and keep things in perspective — that EVERYTHING and EVERYONE is only “loaned” to me on borrowed time, I am able to love them more while never forgetting that I own nothing, and I “own” nobody. And so, I am just eternally grateful for all that He gives me and all whom He allows to be part of my life.

    God is so very good. I love Him so. <3 🙂

    1. Peacefulwifephilippines,

      It’s amazing that we can love others MORE when we hold them loosely, isn’t it? And what an important thing to remember – that each day and each moment is such a precious gift. We don’t know how much time we have with anyone. This life is very short. How I pray we will carefully number our days and not get attached to the things of this world, but that we might set our hearts on the treasures of heaven, especially Jesus. He is the Greatest Treasure there is! He is worthy of all of our sacrifice and obedience. How I pray He might empower us to be faithful to Him no matter what He may ask of us.

      Thank you for sharing your love for God and for your family and how you look at things to keep them in the right priority.

      Much love!

  3. Wonderful post! Just the facts, ma’am! This stuff is soo important!!

    Since you asked, I’ll share a recent obedience/submission story!

    A few weeks ago, our family was at a garage sale and our daughter (8) found a used violin with books, etc. for a great price! She loves all things musical and we are homeschoolers so (in my mind) I thought it was a definite go! How much fun we could have with that!

    I agreed with her -only that it was a great price, NOT that we should definitely get it – (An improvement for me) and told her to go ask her daddy about it.

    My husband said no to the violin because our daughter had struggled to obey him just the day before several times and he didn’t feel like she deserved to get it.

    She was very disappointed, and so was I. BUT I did not argue with him, and I encouraged her not to as well. Instead, I took her aside and told her to trust her daddy to lead our family. I prayed with her that if she was to have a violin, one would be provided for her somehow & if she wasn’t, we could forget about it & focus on the instruments we do have for now.

    She seemed to forget about it soon enough, enjoying our keyboard and guitars like she usually does throughout the week. She mentioned it once or twice, but I reminded her that we are blessed to have what we do and if the Lord wants us to have one, he will provide one.

    Fast forward about 3-4 weeks. . .my husband and sons went to help his musician brother move out of state. They were gone for three days. When they returned, my husband had a surprise for our daughter. This makes me cry typing it now, but it was EXACTLY the same violin -for free! (Nothing special, just your average middle-school beginner violin, but still the same) My brother -in -law had received it in a trade with some other stuff and had no need for it. And no room to store it in his new place. So he asked my husband if we’d take it.

    My daughter and I prayed prayers of thanks to the one who knows us and loves us and takes care of the little things for us. And I praised HIM because my daughter (and I) got a lesson in patience and a tangible example of how obedience and submission works! God can still meet our needs (and sometimes our wants) if we will just trust HIM to provide for us and trust HIM to lead us through these human leaders he’s given us. It doesn’t always look like this, and sometimes we don’t recognize it, but sometimes it DOES and sometimes we DO. And it’s fun to be pleasantly surprised and cared for!

    1. FreeIndeed,

      WOW!!!!!!!!!

      I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to share this story with everyone! Would you consider allowing me to share it maybe this Thursday? THANK YOU so much for sharing!

      1. Absolutely April! What a blessing it is to encourage each other with our everyday life stories!

        1. Thank you, so much, Free Indeed! Would you be available to answer questions or comments on Thursday if any of the ladies might want to ask you something?

          1. Hi April!
            I’ll do my best! Not sure yet how Thursday will look for us. I’ll try to check in regularly that day 🙂

      1. Mrsvslor,
        WOW!!!!!!
        I am so glad I read your stories. I hope you don’t mind, but is shared this post on my FB page. I know so many other wives will be blessed. I love your heart for Christ, your humility and the way God so clearly speaks His truth through you. Beautiful!

  4. I am so glad you are back to motivating Godly wives to submit to their husbands. My assistant pastor gave a sermon on Colossians 3 this weekend, and while he chose to emphasize the verses encouraging men to love their husbands more than those encouraging women to submit to their wives, he said following God’s will for this will bring us peace in our relationships. You are essentially saying the same to me. I am prevented from being as successful in my at-home business as I would like because of past and present choices to submit to my husband’s will, i.e. in the past to let him spend money I knew he was spending foolishly, and in the present to allow him to take our car and me to places where I can’t concentrate on my work as well as I could at home. But I have peace that I’ve made the right choices, and even though my at-home business isn’t a huge success, I know that because my husband approves of it, it is what God wants me to continue doing. If I were to not submit, I could not have that peace.

  5. Pingback: Total Surrender to Discipleship | Ronnie Murrill
  6. We recently had a household problem that needed to be solved. Everything I read on the internet said don’t try to solve it “this” way or it will only make things worse, which is the way my husband wanted to solve it. I shared with him what I read, but that I would respect whatever he decided to do. He went ahead with his plan, but it turns out that it worked! When I gave him kudos, he explained his theory, which made sense and bolstered my confidence that I can trust him to make good decisions. I feel like I’m making progress in submitting, but submitting “joyfully” seems out of reach. I pray I have that light bulb moment very soon!

    1. Jane Doe,

      First comes the willingness to submit. It takes practice and time to learn to do this, and it takes the power of God’s Spirit. As your faith in God and your husband grows, you will be able to have the joy of Christ (the fruit of His Spirit) and trust Him even when you can’t see how things will work out at the moment. You can have the joy of anticipating how God in His sovereignty will work this situation out for your ultimate good and His glory.

      I hope that makes sense! 🙂

  7. Free Indeed,

    That is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard 🙂 God is so good!!!

    1. Ladies,

      Check out a story from my life where God provided in, what I would call, a miraculous way, as I submitted to Greg and honored his leadership…

      1. Finally found it!! When I typed peacefulwife as one word it popped up. You kept mentioning it but I never could find it!

  8. A very quick and simple story, what was one of my first on the path of submission.” A friend wanted to take me and my children to a lake. The trip was related to her birthday in the summer month July. She gave me two options . We could either meet Wednesday or Sunday. I talked to my husband and he desided that Thursday would be the day fitting best for our family. I didnt discuss by Gods grace and with a trembling heart ( I am a people pleaser and didn’t want to disappoint my friend…) I told my friend that Thursday would be the only day we would be available. She accepted miraculously and was able to change her schedule and that particular Thursday had the most beautiful weather, perfect for a trip to the lake. The options she gave at first : Wednesday and Sunday were rainy and extraordinary cold.” Simple, but this little occasion got stuck in my mind. It takes faith to trust that the almighty God uses an imperfect man to guide me. Now it gives me security. Some months or years I would have discussed until I got it way. I was a controll freek. And missing out on Gods blessings. Like the beautiful perfect timed weather on that appointed Thursday. 🙂

    1. Correction: ” Some months or years ago I would have discussed until I got it my way.” April, sorry by accident the post came two times, can you take one away?

  9. His grace. . I LOVE that story. It is so easy sometimes to put others plans first and work around them. For years, i hated to inconvenience others for our family’s sake. What i didn’t realize is how inconvenienced my own husband was while others benefitted from my generosity. Makes me sad to think about it now. I worked so hard to be a good friend that i ended up being a pretty wretched wife 🙁

    1. Free Indeed!
      I was the same way. I was such a people pleaser, to everyone but my husband, at times. I didn’t understand that when I say “yes” to others, I was often inconveniencing or saying a tacit “no” to him. How I long to put Greg far above every other human relationship and to be sure I am most available to him and giving him my best as his wife.

  10. Thank you so much for this post, that’s what this walk is about everyday, dying to self, wants and desires, when we loose, we gain. Thank you God.

  11. So glad you are back, April. I have very much missed my mentor and friend. I’m glad too, that you’ve come back with even greater vision and a new course for your time spent – much directed by your husband. How very wise of you. Being a witness to your walk and candor regarding life choices continues to be such a blessing. You are sunshine, dear one. It has also been so good to hear how our Lord is blessing so many wives who have chosen to take on the submission journey.

    Over the summer, I became greatly overwhelmed in my marriage and realized I had a choice. I could either keep holding onto the idol of my husband’s love or let it go. I honestly felt like my soul was being ripped apart. It seemed like no matter how much I respected my husband or supported his projects, distance and pain would prevail. So what did I have to loose?

    Once I put my husband’s love at the feet of Jesus -and left it there- not only did a painful decision made by my husband get overturned without my involvement, but I saw even further how my own actions, perspective and motives needed further refinement.

    There’s a quiet inside now, like the stillness after a storm. This time I remembered Jesus was in the boat with me and so was able to respond with patience, love, trust…and I feel….thankful for the experience. Enough to write in today.

    Your stages on this journey have come to mind over and again. This is the process. I’m learning that THIS IS THE PROCESS.

    I love you guys.

  12. Thank you so much for this post. My heart really needed to read these truths. Praying I can get back to the place where Christ is all I require for happiness and I can joyfully submit to my loving husband. Do you have any posts about enjoying work while waiting ?

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