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What does it mean to submit to God?

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The biblical concept of submission is to place oneself under the authority of another. When we submit to God, we give our lives to His authority and control. In what ways can we submit ourselves to God?

One way to submit to God is through salvation. We begin submission to God by believing in Jesus as God's Son who rose from the dead to give us eternal life. Romans 10:9 states, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

A second way to submit to God is through obedience. A first step of obedience to the teachings of Jesus is baptism (Matthew 28:19-20). When a person believes in Jesus, baptism is the expected next step of obedience. In addition to baptism, the Bible clearly teaches other ways to obey God. Just as a child seeks to obey his or her parent to show love and respect, we are called to submit to God through loving obedience to His commands.

A third way to submit to God is to learn more about Him. Psalm 1 offers the example of a godly person whose life is submitted to God: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:1-2). Those who love God submit to Him through a life that seeks to better know Him each day.

A fourth way to submit to God is how we treat one another. For example, Ephesians 5:21 speaks of, "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." Whether a husband and wife or how we treat other people, our goal is to show Christ's love. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus even taught that how we treat the least of these is how we treat Him: "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."

A fifth way to submit to God is how we share Him with others. For example, when the woman at the well was changed by Jesus, she immediately left her water jar, ran to the village, and told others, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" (John 4:29). Her submission to Jesus included sharing Him with others.

All areas of our lives are to be submitted to God and placed under His authority. When we come to Jesus for salvation, obey Him, learn about Him, treat others with love, and share Christ with others, we are showing our submission to the Lord through our actions in ways that honor God and change the lives of others.

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