Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Roger Staubach, who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in 1971, admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn’t call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass when to run, and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a “genius mind” when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team. Roger later said, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory.” (Source unknown)
The idea of surrendering to a higher power we cannot see is very challenging for everyone. Most people learn to do so through trial and error. We are often forced to do so through hardships and tribulations. Which could have been avoided if only we had a surrendered heart.
Indeed, it takes a lot of spiritual discipline to cultivate a surrendered heart. Our natural tendency is to walk by sight and do the things that please us. We seldom acquiesce to God’s divine plans for our lives because we assume, we can do better quicker. It is only when we hit a proverbial brick wall that we resign ourselves to let God’s will be done.
What is a surrendered heart? It is a heart that submits to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit and prioritizes God’s will as revealed in God’s word over personal preferences. It is saying no to the flesh so we can say yes to the Spirit of God. A surrendered heart seeks to hear from God before making any decision or arriving at any conclusion.
In today’s text, the apostle James exhorts brothers and sisters in the early Christian churches to surrender to God as their conquering King and Lord, so they can continue to abide in His grace. He urges them to forgo pride and sinful desires so they can have the spiritual strength to resist the devil. After all, the devil seeks to fuel our spirit of rebellion, thus, making us an enemy of God. However, when we surrender to the Almighty, He will draw near to us and we can take ownership of all the benefits He has planned for us.
Why should we surrender to God?
Because He saved us through Jesus Christ and gave us an eternal inheritance.
Because He supplies all our needs and protects us from The Evil One.
Because He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.
Because all resistance to God is pointless. We cannot hinder His divine will.
Because His will is what is best for us.
We cannot have a relationship of loving union with God without a surrendered heart. When we submit to the Almighty, we invite His Holy Spirit to do His transformative work in our hearts so we can be more like Christ. Then we will have the power to resist the devil and live a sanctified life.
Questions for Person Reflections
What is preventing you from cultivating a surrendered heart?
What are the benefits of surrendering to God? How can you help others to develop a surrendered heart?
Prayer- Blessed Father, I acknowledge my brokenness and ask for your divine mercy. Help me to draw closer to you with a surrendered heart. Circumcise my heart so I may experience the power of your Spirit moving in me and transforming me into the image of Christ so that I may say, not my will, but let you will be done in every circumstance.