Do I love Jesus more than all?
The only way to answer that question with a “yes” requires something I don’t do really well. In society today it’s a four letter word (even though it’s ten letters).
Releasing control or going against my own desires is a foreign state of being for me. It’s not something I desire to relinquish. My whole being revolts at the word.
I read a book recently that I thought would help me manage my strong-willed children. The author, a former strong-willed child herself, was writing that as parents, we can’t make a strong-willed child do anything. They will shut down. In taking a different approach to get the same results, the child can be persuaded. She had some good points. But by the time I finished the book, I was exasperated with her and mad. I felt like she was telling me what to do. The whole time I was reading, I kept thinking to myself, “I’m not doing that. Who do you think you are that you can tell me what to do?!!!!” I remember asking Mark, “Do you think I’m strong-willed?” He just looked at me. “Do you really have to ask?”
The word submission immediately takes me to a place of “You can’t make me.” The wonderful thing about God is that He has given us the choice to choose. It’s our free will. He won’t make us.
For me, strong-willed equals control. I want my way so I can control things, people, circumstances. Then there are no surprises for me. It keeps fear at bay. For the most part. It also takes a whole lot of energy.
To release control is scary for me. Unknown in the past meant bad things would happen. Submission means letting go. Letting reality play out in the good and the bad. In some respects, it’s admitting that bad happens and in the end I don’t have any control over it happening or not. Being a control freak is not the way to protect myself. There are other healthier ways to do that.
Once the strong-willed control-freak has released her white knuckled grasp, then I can deal with a deeper submission. Where the question remains unanswered. Do I love Jesus more than_______?
To answer yes to that question requires that I let Jesus be number one in my life. Much like I had to deal with the control freak, I now have to deal with the ego. It’s taking myself off the throne of my life. It’s not just removal from the throne but it’s bowing down to the only Ruler. It’s yielding the right to put me first. My wants, my dreams, my desires.
For me, the things that keep me from loving Jesus more are my dreams, what I want deep down. I love the desires of my heart more than the author of those desires. I think I have a right to them. That I’ve earned them. They become the gods I worship. Submission means yielding these up to Jesus. Letting go and saying, “Whatever you want Lord.”
Yielding our rights, what we think we’ve earned, can be quite freeing. We are freed up to love Jesus more. He replaces those other gods. Our agendas are no longer full but empty to live out whatever path He opens. We have more time because we no longer have to keep up a tally of what we’ve earned.
Submission is living out the Royal Law. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31) It’s that choice between God and something good. Which is better? Jesus went and stayed with Mary and Martha. Martha was busy with preparations. Mary chose to sit and listen to Jesus. When Martha complained, Jesus answered that Mary had chosen what was better. (Luke 10: 38-42) Choosing Jesus is always better for us.
Choosing Jesus is submitting to Him, his purpose for our lives and to the much bigger picture that we can’t fully see at the moment. But one day, I can’t wait to see it. To see what loving more really looked like from the Kingdom of God.