|Vol. 13 No. 10 October 2011||
Adam B. Cozort
We live in a culture that devalues, on a daily basis, the idea of submission. The word “submit” is defined as, “to give over or yield to the power or authority of another” (Webster). The humanistic mentality of “do whatever feels good to you” has so integrated itself into our society that submission is now considered a bad word in many ideological circles. This has been especially true within the realm of American “religion.” The approach of most of the religious community is to find something one likes, regardless of what is taught or practiced, and stay there until in the mood for something else. There is no hint of a necessity to submit to anyone or anything; it is completely self-serving.
However, the Bible paints a very different picture of the attributes our attitude must incorporate to be pleasing to God. There is an emphasis placed in Scripture upon the need for one to be willing to submit before he or she can be acceptable to God. Consider the words of Paul when he wrote to the Romans: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3). Paul indicated that the people of Israel as a whole had not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. It is equally evident that submission has a role in man’s response to God if he is to be deemed acceptable. Let us take a moment to contemplate two factors evidenced from this passage concerning submission.
First, submission requires knowledge. Submission is an intentional act and cannot be given accidently or passively. Therefore, in order for one to be able to submit, that individual must first have knowledge of that to which he is submitting. Paul revealed that the Israelites of his day were “ignorant of God’s righteousness” (Romans 10:3). Their lack of knowledge and understanding concerning the New Covenant had hindered their ability to submit themselves to God. Instead, they established their own values of righteousness, which did not match those of God.
Unfortunately, many in the religious world today are guilty of the same error. They have not taken the time to truly study and meditate upon the Word of God. As a result, instead of submitting themselves to the will of God, they have created their own will and made themselves subservient to their own creations and philosophies. This being the case, the only way man can get to where he should be in the sight of God is to come to a knowledge and understanding of the truth and then submit himself to it.
Second, man cannot be pleasing to God without submission. In our society, we loathe any individual who feels he has authority over us. That individual is usually beaten aback with such phrases as, “you can’t tell me what to do!” This attitude pervades the religious world today to such a degree that it is easy to see why there are so many “religious” bodies.
However, if we desire to be found righteous in the sight of God, there is only one way it can be accomplished – through submission. If we are not willing to submit ourselves to the will of God, we will not be of the mindset that will allow us to follow through with all that He has commanded. James wrote, “Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God… Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you… Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:6-8, 10). Our relationship with God is dependant upon our willingness to submit to His will.
The role of submission in righteousness is of the utmost importance. It must be based upon knowledge of what God requires and a conscious willingness to acquiesce to His commandments, whatever they may be.
“Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none” (Psalm 69:20). David was under extreme emotional stress. All the verses in Psalm 69 leading up to the verse above declare the pressures and emotions that David felt. He felt all alone. He had looked for someone to help and support him, but found no one. Even his own people were against him. He then stated that this reproach had broken his heart and that he was full of heaviness.
While David was probably speaking of his emotional or spiritual heart, it is possible that he was also referring to his physical heart. There is a rare condition known as Takotsubo syndrome. This is a condition of the heart muscle caused by severe emotional stress. The majority of cases are in women, but it does occur in men. In Takotsubo syndrome, the lower left part of the heart becomes stunned. The tip of the left ventricle will balloon outwards instead of contracting properly. The upper part of the ventricle does not work well either. This causes the left ventricle to look like the octopus traps that the Japanese use. The word for that trap is “takotsubo.”
Takotsubo syndrome is not permanent. It can be deadly if not diagnosed. If treated properly (little medical intervention is needed other than to support the heart function), the heart has a complete recovery. This can take several weeks. There are rare times when a person can recover without any medical treatment.
David may have been so upset that he got Takotsubo syndrome of his physical heart. This would make him physically weak for several weeks. Once he got over the emotional stress, his heart would recover, and he would regain his strength. God allowed David to suffer but was always with him providentially.
It is certain that David’s spiritual and emotional heart was sick. His emotions were severely stressed and his only comfort came from God. It is difficult for a person to function properly spiritually when under such severe stress. However, as David realized, even when under such stress, one can always find help and comfort from God. He will help you get through any situation. He is the Great Physician. He will heal any spiritual ailment.
Study your Bible. Obey God, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.