I have been doing an amazing Kay Arthur study on prayer with a ladies’ group at my church this summer called, “Lord, teach me to pray.” I love her point (pg. 54):
“And what is the root of all sin? Is it not independence? Is it not self having its own way?”
She goes on to say something very convicting, “One of the evidences of salvation is a willingness to submit to God…” And she backs that up with Scripture in Matthew 7:21-27. I would also add John 14:23-24.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24
Here is an explanation of how we are to submit to God from www.gotquestions.org (emphasis added):
In all the New Testament incidences where the word submit occurs, the word is translated from the Greek word hupotasso. The hupo means “under” and the tasso means “to arrange.” This word and a root of it are also translated by the words subject and subjection. The word’s full meaning is “to obey, put under, be subject to, submit oneself unto, put in subjection under or be under obedience or obedient to.” The word was used as a military term meaning “to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” This word is a wonderful definition of what it means to “submit” to God. It means to arrange oneself under the command of divine viewpoint rather than to live according to one’s old way of life based on a human viewpoint. It is a process surrendering our own will to that of our Father’s.
Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/submit-to-God.html#ixzz3dc9k7cuY
If Jesus is my Lord, I must submit to Him. If I refuse to obey Him, how can He be my Lord? I don’t have to agree with Him or understand what He is asking me to do. But if I can be content with going my own way and I have no problem with defying Christ and the Bible, I need to ask myself if I belong to Him. If I have yielded my life to Him as my Savior and as the LORD of my life but am living in sin, I am living in rebellion against Him and I need to repent and turn from sin and begin to head toward Christ immediately! Something is very wrong in my soul if I don’t want to obey God. Obedience – for one who has tasted the goodness of God – is something we do out of gratitude, joy, and love.
You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:26-40
Kay Arthur says:
“Oh dear one, are you still in your sins, or are you a worshiper of God who longs to do the will of the Father? Only the latter has access to God in prayer.”
E.M. Bounds (The Necessity of Prayer, part of The Classic Collection on Prayer) has an entire chapter on Prayer and Obedience. You can find a free download of his amazing, Spirit-inspired books about prayer online. He writes:
The spirit that prompts a person to break one commandment is the spirit that may move that person to break them all. God’s commandments are a unit, and to break one strikes at the principle that underlies and runs through the whole. The person who does not hesitate to break a single commandment, would – more than likely – under the same stress and surrounded by the same circumstances break them all. (pg. 58)
Obedience is love fulfilling every command, and thereby expressing itself. Obedience, therefore, is not a hard demand made upon us, any more than is the service a husband gives his wife or a wife gives her husband. Love delights to obey and please the one it loves. There are no hardships in love… There are no impossible tasks for love.
If any should complain that humanity under the fall is too weak and helpless to obey these high commands of God, the answer is that through the atonement of Christ humanity is made able to obey… In regeneration and through the agency of the Holy Spirit, God works in us and bestows sufficient enabling grace for all that is required of us under the atonement. This grace is furnished without measure in answer to prayer. So at the same time that God commands, He stands pledged to give us all the necessary strength of will and grace of soul to meet His demands. Since this is true, we are without excuse for our disobedience. (pg. 60)
If you desire to pray to God, you must first have a consuming desire to obey Him. If you want free access to God in prayer, then every obstacle of sin or disobedience must be removed. (pg. 62)
An obedient life is a necessity to prayer – to prayer that accomplishes things. The absence of an obedient life makes prayer an empty performance – something wrongly named. (pg. 63)
SPEND SOME TIME IN EARNEST PRAYER TODAY:
Please make clear to me any areas of disobedience and sin in my life. Are there things You have commanded me to do that I have refused to do? Am I totally surrendered to You and do I delight in seeking to obey You or do I want to be in charge and do things my way? Are there areas where I disagree with you and where I rebel against Your will?
I want to belong to You. Break my heart and my will. Show me anything that I am withholding from You. Let me be totally devoted and submitted to Your Lordship! Develop in me a deep desire and passion for You and for Your will. Let me long to obey You and please You more than anything in this life!
In the Name and power of Christ,
FOR FURTHER STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION:
What are some of the things God commands us to do as believers?
- Love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength (the Greatest Commandment) – Luke 10:27
- Love others as you love yourself with the unconditional love of God – Luke 10:27, I Corinthians 13:4-8
- Abide in Christ continually – John 15:1-8
- Love Jesus much more than anyone or anything in this world and more than your own life – Luke 14:26-27
- Forgive those who sin against you as God forgives you – Matthew 6:14-15
- Overcome evil with good, do not take vengeance or repay anyone evil with evil – Romans 12:17-21
- Do not be anxious about anything, but take your concerns to God in prayer and trust Him completely – Philippians 4:4-8
- Bless those who curse you – Romans 12:14, Luke 6:28
- Pray for those who mistreat you – Luke 6:28
- Do not argue or complain – Philippians 2:14-16
- Give thanks in every circumstance – I Thessalonians 5:18
- Pray continually – I Thessalonians 5:17
- For wives, respect and submit to your husband out of reverence for Christ so that the Word of God might not be maligned – Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18, I Peter 3:1-6, Titus 2:3-5
- For husbands, love your wives and treat them with honor and gentleness as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her with selfless, humble leadership that is first fully submitted to God – Eph. 5:22-33, I Peter 3:7
- Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 5:18
- Get rid of all sin – idolatry (cherishing other things or people more than Christ), rage, hatred, unbelief in God, lust, unforgiveness, gossip, resentment, irreverence toward God, worry, fear, desire for control, greed, addictions, stealing, worldliness, godlessness, sexual immorality, foolishness, coarse joking, adultery, murder, dishonesty/lying, pride, self-righteousness, false doctrine, heresies, strife, contention, disrespect, rudeness, unkindness, apathy, drunkenness, etc…
- Be holy as God is holy by the power of His Spirit filling your life – 1 Peter 1:16
- Make disciples of Christ by God’s Spirit’s power in you – Matthew 28:19-20