Before we move on, it necessary that we take the time for reflection. As we work through any devotional or teaching that if we lack intentionality and accountability, it can become part of a spiritual checklist. Rather than being a growing experience, we can take wonderful scriptural truths and place them into a storehouse of knowledge failing to apply a single bit of it. Change comes not when we simply agree with truths, but take the steps to utilize those truths in our life on an ongoing basis. If a doctor prescribes medicine or treatment plan our choice in whether or not to follow his or her instructions, demonstrates our level of faith in their guidance. Similarly, the actionable steps we take after God gives us wisdom are a determining factor in whether it produces the intended transformation in our lives. We are given a rather blunt warning regarding this in the Bible.
“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:18-19
This isn’t meant to cause us to strive to make a change through our own power. Like mentioned yesterday, when we get our hands in the mix and start tinkering with things that God alone is meant to address, we will falter and fall. Instead, we can look at and make adjustments to our level of submission. If we are really aimed at tackling loneliness to truly know in the core of our being that we are never alone, let’s take the time to assess our submission to God. Below are a few scriptural characteristics of what submission looks like in the life of a Believer.
Are You Submitted?
An Unsubmitted Christian
- Makes excuses for actions (2 John 2:15-16)
- Looks for loopholes to get out of application (1 Corinthians 10:23)
- Routinely delays obedience (Psalm 119:60)
- Argues with God or spiritual leaders (Hebrews 13:17)
- May be busy but not productive; gathering knowledge without producing sustainable spiritual fruit (Matthew 7:16-20)
- Ignores patterns of sin (James 4:17)
- Believes things “can’t” change (Matthew 6:24)
- Distractable with other tasks or desires that are more palatable for them (1 Samuel 15:22)
- Favors self-sufficiency (Proverbs 16:18)
A Submitted Christian
- Accepts (even delights) when areas needing change are revealed (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Looks for accountability (Proverbs 19:20)
- Is quick to repent and progress toward change (Acts 3:19)
- Asks questions and seeks wisdom (Matthew 5:6)
- Increasingly consistent in Christ-like behaviors (2 John 2:6)
- Mourns sins (2 Corinthians 7:10)
- Conviction doesn’t bring condemnation (1 John 3:20)
- Embraces community and vulnerability (James 5:16)
Whether you find yourself favoring the characteristics of a submitted Christian or not, there is no condemnation. There is simply an invitation to grow and make an adjustment. Together let’s take some actionable steps today. Reach out to another person who will hold you accountable and tell them about this devotional, as you go through your responses to the following questions with them.
- Have you recognized loneliness in your life? If so, what are the noticeable effects?
- Did you pray the day 1 prayer (or a version of it) asking God to bring deeper revelation regarding areas you have placed your faith and trust?
- Has God brought to your attention recognized areas where you find your security?
- Identify the people, habits, or things that have become false dependencies.
- Have you prayed Day 2 prayer (or a version of it) asking God to remove those items from your life?
- What have you heard God speaking to your heart over the last 2 days?
You can contact a discipleship or small group leader, a member of your church, a spouse, a sibling, etc; it is really up to you. God may have placed the name of someone on your heart already, don’t let pride stop you from inviting them into the process with you. Accountability works best if you remain in contact with someone who can see the fruit of your life, however, if you truly have no one to walk with you through this, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to get in touch with you and discuss your responses to this time of reflection.
I really want to encourage you to stop and go back to the first couple of days of this devotional if you don’t have the answers to the above questions. Maybe the Lord is still bringing revelation to the surface or maybe a day of dedicated quiet time with God is needed. Whatever the case may be, this devotional will remain available so take your time to move through it at the pace God is directing. Allow the person who is keeping you accountable access to you progress and listen to their counsel if they advise you to move on to the next day or wait upon the Lord for a short time longer.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8
“Dear Lord, thank You for the free gift of Your presence and Your Spirit which dwells inside of me. Thank you for Your gift of a Christian community who love and seek You with their whole hearts. I ask that you establish or strengthen accountability structures in my life so that I can follow Your will and ways for my life. I pray that You transform my heart and help me submit to You in a deeper more lasting way. Where pride has stopped me, help me to take actionable steps to grow in humility. Please be with those who are walking alongside me through this journey. Thank you for equipping them and that Your favor and blessing rest upon them. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.”