There really isn’t a checklist to get from here to there. We can’t just turn to a certain page in a book, or even The Book, and find a 1, 2, 3 that we simply have to mechanically apply in order to be transformed. We love the idea of a few rules to follow or things to do to get the fullness of what God intends for us, but it just doesn’t work that way. He is a He and we are a we so that requires a relationship.
In the context of relationship and with the understanding that there isn’t a formula to apply, there are still absolutes that facilitate the destiny we desire. While our first instinct towards achievement is typically initiative, the Kingdom key towards advancement is retreat, of sorts. The first step is one back. The initiative is submission.
Submission is the difference. We can desire, with the best of intentions, to move into God’s design for us but we can’t do it of ourselves. We have to take even our good intentions and submit them to Him. He is the one that has to change us and our circumstances if we want them to be founded in eternity.
Submission is layered. At the risk of appearing to offer a checklist, I offer the following outline for submission towards transformation:
- Submission of self to Spirit – of course, our receiving new birth through Jesus has to be first. We have to give our lives to Him, receiving His sacrifice to make us right in relationship with God. This isn’t walking an aisle, saying a prayer or getting baptized . . . it’s dying to self to allow Him to live in us.
- Submission of soul to spirit – this allows for a redemptive process of the New Creation within our spirit to be worked out through our souls. It submits areas of our lives that we have held onto to be transformed from the inside-out, taking our selfishness and exchanging it for His selflessness. It’s taking up a cross daily to die to our depravity.
- Submission to calling – it’s an intimate relationship with a loving Father who calls us into the destiny that is locked within the desires of our hearts which He put in us. It’s having the courage to walk into the invitations He presents us which often don’t seem to make sense compared to the American dream but ultimately are portals into the Kingdom. It’s the discipline of hearing and obeying.
- Submission to suffering – when we value comfort above destiny, we’ll allow the invitations to go unanswered but when we value the benefit of glory calling beyond the challenge, transformation has begun.
- Submission to perseverance – this isn’t McDonald’s and there is no microwave solution . . . this takes a lifetime and the value of the destination is actually in the journey because the journey is in relationship with the One that is calling us towards the promise. We aren’t meant to run ahead to what we perceive as the finish line, but instead to depend on the love of our Father who walks with us.
He is faithful to complete that which He has begun. We don’t even have to do it “right,” but just to walk hand in hand with Him towards things that He will do not only with us, but within us.