The Powerful Submission
Acts 19:11-16 (NKJV)
11Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,
12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
13Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
14Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
James 4:7 (NKJV)
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
When we think about the notion of submission, our minds often conjure up images of a servile servant, submitting to his master or prisoners-of-war yielding to an invading army. The world sees submission to a higher authority as a sign of weakness. Being submissive is often being looked on with disdain because the act itself seems to suggest that our rights have to be laid down and we become lesser of who we are.
As an officer in the Army, I understand this is not the case at all! In fact, submitting yourself to a higher authority enables you to do things that you usually cannot! In a largely hierarchical organization, submitting to a recognized authority allows you to get things done with his or her name. During my course of work, there were many instances where I was unable to secure the resources needed by myself to accomplish tasks given by my superior. Faced with such resistance, my superior would often direct me to ‘use his name’ instead. I would then approach the relevant entities again and when I make known to them that I am actually asking for these resources on behalf of my superior, help is often rendered with no questions asked! On my own accord, I will never be able to secure the resources needed. However, when I come in the name of my superior who is many ranks more senior than me, I am able to do things that I usually cannot!
This is similar in the spiritual realm as well. In Acts 19, Paul did many miracles in the name of Jesus. Being a disciple of Christ, Paul had a personal relationship with Jesus and functioned with Jesus’ authority because he submitted himself to His commandments. When a Jewish exorcist who was not a disciple of Christ decided to invoke the name of Jesus over those who were possessed, the spirit overcame him and gave him such a beating that left him naked and fleeing!
Without a relationship of submission to God, the Jewish exorcist could not exercise the power of Jesus. Clearly, not only will submission not make us lesser, submitting ourselves to the Lordship of God makes us bigger and help us to do what we cannot on our own! The power and resources of God flows into our lives when we humble ourselves and submit to Him. Just as John 3:30 says, when we decrease, He increases. In Psalm 68:1, we are reminded that His enemies will be scattered when God arise!
As we constantly obey and submit ourselves to the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must be aware of the power made available to us and exercise it to make a difference to our lives!
In James 4:7, the Bible instructs us that two actions are needed before we are able to confront a force bigger than us. Interestingly, the Bible does not say that the devil would flee from us when we submit to God. It goes on to say that we must resist the devil before it will flee! God does not act on our behalf. He wants us to be His co-laborers; carrying out His will and bringing His authority upon situations that needs to be transformed! So submit yourself to our big God and know that all mountains will bow down upon your command in Jesus name!
Let us pray.
“Dear God, please forgive me for not living a life that actively submits to You. My prayers and declaration will only be effective and powerful in Your name when I submit myself to your instructions and commandments. I want to make a commitment today to start living a life of complete obedience, following Your every commandment and yielding to Your every instruction. I thank You for the power and resources at my disposal when I submit myself to You as my Master. I praise You because I know that no obstacles can ever stand in my way when I submit myself to You and exercise Your authority over them! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!”