In a healthy, loving relationship, both parties want to give their best for each other regardless of what it might cost them. As humans, we try our best to nurture such relationships with submission and surrender, but we fail often because we are imperfect, and the bond is between two people who are equally flawed. However, our relationship with God is a little different. God is perfect and loves perfectly. He is almighty and sovereign. We are flawed and sinful. Yet he created us for his glory and wants a relationship with us regardless of all our messes and misdemeanours.
In our last discussion, we explored the first sin Adam and Eve committed in Genesis 3. Satan tempted Eve with the words “You will be like God.” (Genesis 3:4), and he continues to dangle that lie in front of us to this day. Yet God did not turn his back on mankind (even though most people would walk away from such a relationship) but he continued pursuing a bond with man and woman throughout history. God is love (John 4:7-21) and we want to love him because he first loved us.
God wants a relationship with us.
For this reason, he made Adam and Eve and placed them in a paradise. For this reason, he also forbade them to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For the same reason, he chased them out of the Garden, so they will not live forever in sin. That is also the reason he chose Israel and led them through centuries to be an example to others of what it looks like to be God’s people. Above all else, it is why he sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins, to cleanse us and permanently close the chasm between us and God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.John 3:16-17
God loved us so much that he made an elaborate plan to save us all from the condemnation of our sin. It is important to pause a moment here and remember that due to the first sin by Adam and Eve, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:21-27). We only deserve eternal damnation, but God is a just and righteous God and planned to pay this price for us. He has given us “by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:27)
Jesus came to earth to teach us to surrender.
Paul explained to the Philippians that the Son of God came down to earth “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” and “emptied himself” to be born as a human, with all the implied suffering and trials. He “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death…on the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-7) Jesus was the perfect example of how we should surrender ourselves to God and his will. As the son of God, he could still submit himself to the will of his Father. Paul further encourages the Philippians to emulate this relationship with each other. Talk about a tall order!
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,Philippians 2:5-7
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
Jesus washed the feet of the disciples during the last supper (John 13:1-11) as final proof of his love for them and showing them how to be humble servants. During this time, washing people’s feet was reserved for non-Jewish slaves, but Jesus washed their feet as he would wash away the sins of all mankind a few hours later.
My favourite example of the submission of Jesus was during his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, just before his arrest, when he prayed to God “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus knew how agonizing the suffering was that he was about to endure. He knew the future. He knew how it would feel to have the flesh torn from his muscles and to struggle to take just one breath. He knew how his heart would stop and how he would be separated from God on the cross. Yet he surrendered his will to his Father! He could have walked away but he loved us so much that he gave up his connection to God for us. That is perfect love, and that is why we should want to surrender our all to him. The only way to be a real, authentic follower of our Lord Jesus Christ is to deny what we want and to pursue what He wants for us.
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”. Galatians 5:24
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.Romans 5:10-11
As disciples of Jesus, we must first grasp our desperate situation if we do not partake in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are doomed to eternal death if we do not believe he had to pay the price for our sins.
Therefore, what can we boast of? How can we claim to be equal to God or even equal gods as some teachers want us to believe? We have nothing. We know nothing. We are completely reliant on the grace and love of our Heavenly Father.
Can you see how the true understanding of our Christian faith completely contradicts the modern pandemic of self-importance? Can you understand how ridiculous this must seem to God and how it must break Jesus’ heart?
When we aim to place ourselves equal to God – especially when we think we command him with our prayers – we are declaring the death of Jesus as nonsense and ourselves worth more than the ultimate sacrifice.
Watch the Facebook Live discussion on this weeks theme by clicking on the link below.