What If I Wanted Different Things?
This article is part of Sister Michelle Watson's deep dive into the concept of "deny yourself" (Mt. 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lu. 9:23, 3 Ne. 12:30). Today's sub-theme is submission. Here's what she found on the topic.
Recently, a sister told me that her goal for 2016 is to "want different things." At first, I was like, "Good for you." Then, I realized … wow. That's, like, the essence of submission — which is the essence of self-denial.
I mean, think about it. This person is basically saying, "I'm willing to do different things — and I have been doing them — but I want MORE than that. I want to WANT to do different things." In a nutshell, she's saying, "Lord, please change my heart."
When that thought actually hit me, it hit powerfully.
I can only imagine how God's heart swells when I sincerely ask Him to change my desires, attitudes, and cravings so they align with His will.
After reading dozens of scriptures on this topic, I've realized that, if I'm going to truly follow Him, submitting my will to God's will is a must.
As in not optional.
In a certain sense, my will is my wiring. I'm asking God to disconnect me from negative influences, media trash, pity parties, prideful pedestals, and anything that promotes a stiff, stubborn neck. In exchange, I'm praying that He plugs me straight into the Holy Ghost GPS.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Mt. 6:10). In heaven, whatever God says goes, period. He says, "Sunshine" and the clouds part. He says, "Sing" and the angels harmonize. I want my heart to be a little heaven like that.
But, in reading, I found something else interesting. Submission is a two-part thing. Like faith and works, these two things go hand in hand.
Part 1 is the willingness to submit to God.
Part 2 is resisting the devil.
Thank you, James 4:7.
Romans 6:12-13 helps me out, too. It basically says that I either yield to sin or to God. I'm either an instrument of righteousness or unrighteousness. Either way, I'm submitting. It's a mistake to think that I'm somehow "strong" if I resist God's tug and pull. Flip that around — I'm strong when I'm giving Satan the stiff-arm.
Mosiah 3:19 reinforces this for me, too. I have to "yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit," but I also have to "put off the natural man."
Submission isn't wimpy and weak. It's not sluggish or passive. It's lively and resolute, diligent and dynamic.
It's wanting different things.
If you can tolerate a sports metaphor, it's dribbling the ball down the basketball court, dodging defenders and double-teams, only to pass the ball to the deity of dunks, who finishes it with authority. Most of all, it's finding more joy in the assist than the score.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.