“Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). What does this look like? What does it mean to submit? Webster dictionary says to submit is to yield or surrender to the actions, control, power, etc. of another. In this verse, the “another” is God. Why don’t we submit to God? Guess what the main reason is? That is right, pride.
My pride kept me from surrendering my anxious and angry thoughts to God for many years because I wanted to be in control of outcomes. When I became anxious and angry, I also became defensive. Can you guess what happens when we don’t submit to God? That’s right, we will unwittingly surrender to the devil who will steal our peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, gentleness, trust, and self-control. We will be miserable and unable to love others well. The devil will then lead us into all kinds of fleshly sins to bring destruction to our lives, relationships, and our faith in God. So, who do you want to surrender your life too? A loving God who gives peace and life, or the devil who wants to destroy us (John 10:10). Also, review my post on the four realities of the spirit world.
I already surrendered to God the things that made me angry so they no longer control me. But, I never considered submitting my anxiety disorder to God until I began self-medicating. I first had to acknowledge I had a problem, then I asked Him why I was so tense and anxious all the time. The answer came when I read James 4:7 and encouraged an inmate to submit the problem generating her angry thoughts to God and resist the devil. I asked her to think of what happens when we don’t submit our minds to God. That’s when God spoke to my heart and said, are you submitting the problems creating your anxious thoughts to Me. Read the inmate victory testimony here.
I asked God to show me the source of my anxious thoughts. God reminded me that my mother was also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and was always stressed about something. So, I asked God to break the negative stress-energy and the predisposition for anxiety from my genetics and remove all DNA markers that trigger stress reactions. I felt peaceful and calm after that prayer. But worldly issues still may trigger anxious thoughts, especially when things are outside your control.
Jesus’s first sermon was called the Beatitudes or Blessings. The Apostle Matthew records a part of his sermon in Chapter 6, where Jesus tells us in verse 25, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Verse 27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” The key verses are 33 and 34, which state, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Being anxious is a sin, and I knew this. But it is one thing to know something but another thing to repent and surrender to God. The Apostle Paul expresses anxiety at times throughout the New Testament. So, don’t feel guilty but be aware of your thoughts and don’t let them torment you and hold you captive. Remember, you can take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5b).
So, how do we submit to God?
- Check your peace and calm level toward various areas of your life (husband, children, job, church, friends, and so on.) As you think about these areas, and you become tense, it is a sign you have negative stress-energy from subconscious anxiety and fear. It is hard to accept the fact you cannot control situations or people. You can only control your actions and reactions. You may have been abused as I have, so you feel the need to control. I get it. Give everything outside your control to God, because emotional stress causes physical stress. Stress is very damaging to our health, especially our GI system. If you are unfamiliar with the deteriorating effects of stress, I recommend you research it.
- Next, ask God to remove pride. Pride develops when we are wronged in some way. These painful memories need to be healed as well. If you are easily offended, you have pride. Pride desires to control what people do and how they think. Read these posts for a better understanding: #1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution and The Core Negative Heart Issue and HOW PRIDE DESTROYS.
- Write all your concerns and what you desire in a prayer format to God, giving Him control and accepting the outcome though you may not understand. Pray for wisdom to know what to do and how to respond. Put your prayers in an appropriately labeled box or journal, and each time you feel anxious, angry, or stressed, remind yourself that God’s got it. Philippians 4:6,7 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Do you want this kind of peace in your life? I do.
- The hardest part of submission is giving a thank offering to God during hardship. Being thankful and forgiving is the keys for peace in our lives. Thank Him for the opportunity to grow and to be more like Christ. Thank Him for being your Shepherd and for shepherding those outside your control. Thank Him for helping you to trust Him and to accept His Sovereign will. Continue to give a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. The page on my website called Who is God — A-C-T-S prayers will give you plenty to praise Him for and to be thankful.
- Go through the five steps to heal your heart and purify your soul.
After you have submitted to God; now resist the devil’s temptation to sin. To resist the devil describes a struggle, so don’t be hard on yourself, keep struggling but don’t give him an inch. If you continue to sin and feel guilty, that’s not a struggle, that’s giving in. Galatians 5:1 states, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of bondage.” A yoke is being bound to something, like two oxen are yoked together. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We struggle to make progress on this road called life and not be defeated. When we are yoked to Jesus, He is right there to help us when we struggle. We become yoked to Jesus when we are surrendered to God by focusing our mind on the things of God and pondering His Word. Furthermore, you have the authority as a follower of Jesus Christ to command the devil to be gone in Jesus’ name, and the devil will flee. Hallelujah.
Put your hope in God when you begin to feel anxious. Memorize the following Scriptures and ponder them often. Psalm 16:8 states, “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Also, ponder Isaiah 41:10, which states, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And, Isaiah 26:3 states, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” For more encouragement see HOPE: How it Motivates and Inspires BUT God’s Sovereignty… and Psalm 91 Posts
There is hope for complete healing, and I am praying for you. Be blessed.
To understand suffering and God’s sovereignty read 7 Ways to Suffer Well: (Part 1) and Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well
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P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).