James 4:7, "Therefore submit to God . . . ."
Often times, there are things concerning our faith that we truly enjoy. Some enjoy prayer and meditation. Others look forward to morning worship with beautifully performed hymns of worship and their spiritual leader sharing thoughts of encouragement. Many believers look forward to fellowship with one another as a pleasurable escape from the pressures and demands of the workplace.
This text wouldn't "cut across the grain" as much as it does if we could facilitate and direct the areas of our lives that we submit to God. Picking and choosing the areas of our lives that we submit to Him is similar to a common elementary school occurrence.
Back in elementary school, when we were in line to go to lunch or to partake of food items for a birthday party, we would see a friend of ours who was at, or close to, the end of the line. That friend would look at us with longing eyes because they felt that "everybody will eat before I do." Some of us would do a "half-favor" by calling our friend up toward us at the front part of the line, and then tell them, "You can get behind me." Never mind that by doing so we placed our friend ahead of someone else -- and in elementary school this was a MAJOR problem! This scenario often would domino because "behind me" was always still in front of someone else. Such an act required no true commitment from the friend giving the "favor."
But some of us, using this same scenario, would do something a little different. We would see our friend at the back of the line and then call them up toward us. However, we would tell our friend, "You can get in front of me." Although this act still had the potential to still cause some conflict, it usually did not produce the chaos of the "get behind me" scenario. In other words, we would say to our friend, "Because we are friends, I totally submit to you eating before me."
Submitting to God is indeed parallel to the second scenario. Either we totally place His Word, principles and precepts ahead of our agendas, plans and thoughts -- or by holding on to our desires and ways, we send Him to the bottom of our priorities.
Proverbs 3:6, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."
May you be blessed!
Andrae P. Crismon, Sr. is the pastor of Higher Ground Worship Center, Church of God in Christ, in Murfreesboro and the author of “Lord, Keep My Mind Clean: A 31 Day Devotional & Accountability Journal.”