I’m almost one hundred percent sure that the title for this week’s blog is a little bit intimidating. I mean, it is for me. Honestly, my heart drops every time I hear the preacher say something like, “Today, we’re going to talk about Obedience.” I think, Ggggrrreeeaaat. Here we go. I also try to silently repent for everything before the preacher really get’s into the flow of the message. That way, I don’t have to respond to the altar call with my ugly cry. You ALL know what I’m talking about. So, without further or due, let’s get into this.
I was reading in Hebrews the other day, and the following scripture stood out to me:
NIV Hebrews 5:7 - During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Wow. I had to put a push pin on this verse. It stunned me. We’ve all heard that the attitude/HEART behind prayers and actions can change a lot, but I think there’s an even deeper meaning here. The bible says that he “offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears.” For many of us, fervency, tears and petitions are THE equation for answered prayers. But this scripture shows us that there may be more to the equation.
How many times have we done the ostensibly necessary things like crying out to God fervently with prayer and petitions without the aspect of a deep submission and reverence to God? The scripture clearly states that he did a lot of necessary things!! He prayed a lot! He prayed fervently! He cried...AND snotted. But the scripture doesn’t say that he was heard because of his fervency. The scripture doesn’t say that he was heard because he cried. The scripture says he was heard BECAUSE OF HIS REVERENT SUBMISSION.
You know, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what reverent submission is. Is it submission with a good attitude? Is it submission cloaked in the fear of the Lord?
After pondering and discussing this thought a little more, I realized, that reverent submission is a deep respect of God’s perspective. It is the admission and acknowledgment of God’s higher ways, and deeper thoughts. God’s panorama is both macro and micro. He sees the little thing’s and how they connect the big things, he sees the past, the present, the future and how they all tie into each other. Not only is God’s name to be revered, but his position and perspective is to be revered as well.
Reverent submission is more than acquiescence or compliance. A reverent and submissive heart is going to do more than just obey. A reverent and submissive heart is going to ask the Father to make His will, their will. A reverent and submissive heart feels it’s own desires, but filters them through the Father before acting upon them. A reverent and submissive heart, desperately and willingly bows to the sovereignty of the creator.
There are two prayers in the bible that stood out to me. Both of them are Jesus’ prayers. The first one is in Matthew chapter 6; the Lord’s prayer.
When Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray he pretty much gave them the framework for a good prayer. I would even go so far as to say that this prayer establishes a clear protocol for the position of one’s heart during a prayer. He starts it off with, “Our father, in Heaven, hollowed be thy name.” In other words, he’s saying “revered, sacred, and holy be your name.” The beginning of the prayer shows us that while we approach him boldly as our Father, his name is to be revered, his name is sacred, his name is set apart.
Then Jesus says, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” You see… when we approach God (our father) in prayer, we approach our father reverently, with HIS WILL at the forefront of our minds and hearts. Jesus also prays another prayer in Luke 22:42. He says, “Father , IF YOU ARE WILLING, allow this cup to pass from me. NEVERTHELESS NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE.”
Do you see what I see? Do you see Jesus approaching him as father, and then in reverent submission of His will? This… is how we pray. We pray with an attitude that says, “God, this is what I want, but if it’s not your will I don’t want it. I’m ALL yours.” When I read Jesus' prayer, I wondered why Jesus would pray against something He knew was meant to be? Honestly, my only explanation is that he was having a human experience. I’m so glad that we got a chance to see Jesus vocalize his carnal desires, and then submit to his Father’s will.
See, the truth is, that our prayers will always be answered and heard if the words, NEVERTHELESS NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE, are attached to the end. God will either do his will, or he will do his will. It’s just that..sometimes, our carnal minds have a hard time deciphering between our own will and His will.
Reverent submission = “YES LORD, I’LL OBEY, BECAUSE YOUR EYES SEE FARTHER THAN MINE"
Reverent submission = “NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS LORD.”
Reverent submission = ANSWERED PRAYERS
Don’t let your doubt, fear, and stubbornness become a ceiling for your prayers. Trust God. Trust his will. I challenge you, along with myself, to check your heart today. Are you merely being compliant? Are you submitting, while still talking about how you could’ve or should’ve done things another way? You know, next time God asks us to do something that seems out of the ordinary or inconvenient, let’s simply pray the following: “God. I trust you. Only you know. Amen"