– Warren Wiersbe
Submitting to God
We are all undergoing a transforming of the mind (Rom 12:1-2). It’s not easy, is it? If we’re going to live differently than the world, we must think differently, and that’s possible only when our minds are renewed by the Spirit of God. First of all, you and I need to submit ourselves to God. What does that look like? Instead of thinking only how we can change for God, consider that our desire to change is from God because God alone gives us the power to change by His Spirit. James touched on this somewhat when He said that God can draw near to us only if we humble ourselves (James 4:6), if we submit to Him so that the Devil will flee us (James 4:7), but we must have clean hands and a pure heart (James 4:8), meaning that we must confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9). We must also submit ourselves to one another since we are members of the same family (Eph 5:21) and also submit to those in authority (1 Pet 2:13; Rom 13:1).
Slaves of Christ
Only God can give us the heart operation that is necessary to respond to Him by taking out our stony hearts and giving us a heart of flesh (Ezk 36:26) because we can walk with God only if He sends His Spirit to live within us (Ezk 36:27). It is useless to try and do this in our own human strength because we just can’t do it (John 15:5). The irony is that we were once slaves to sin but now have become slaves to Christ (1 Cor 7:22), and being set free from the slavery of sin, we are now slaves to God (Rom 6:22). When Christ sets us free from the slavery of sin, we are absolutely free (John 8:36), and it is the truth about the Son of God that sets us free (John 8:32). As a slave to God, we should seek to be an obedient slave from the heart (Eph 6:6) and not out of compulsion, but the danger is that we must not use our freedom from sin and the penalty of that sin as a cloak to sin (1 Pet 2:16).
Crucifying the Flesh
Paul saw himself as being crucified to his flesh, and it wasn’t really he who lived any longer, but Christ who lived in him (Gal 2:20) because the old man is dead. If you are indeed in Christ, your old body and sin nature were crucified, and now, instead of being a slave to sin, the old crucified man is gone. Did you not get the obituary notice and miss the funeral? At that point, the new man or woman in Christ has been freed from that bondage for good (Rom 6:6). Anyone who claims to belong to Christ must crucify or put to death the old flesh nature with all of its passions and desires (Gal 5:24). When someone comes to the door of your heart seeking the old man or woman, tell them that he or she has been put to death and that you can’t even take a message for them; the new resident who lives here is a new creation in Christ (1 Cor 5:17). If they’re looking for the old man or woman, tell them to visit the cemetery.
Jesus Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin. Here is how I would describe how he did it for me: He sought me, He caught me, He bought me, He taught me how I ought to be. Nothing about this is from me, but it’s all about He! I am a slave to Christ; therefore, I must submit to Him since my old man has been crucified. Does that make sense? I pray it does.