Have you ever wondered what the forbidden fruit looked like? The serpent? I have. I’ve thought about that moment of decision, that moment we chose to either give or take control, the moment of vulnerability, the moment a window was opened just enough for deception and corruption to slip through. At first glance, I wonder if the fruit looked shiny and juicy. In reality I really don’t think it mattered what it looked like, I believe it represented something much deeper. I would propose that the outcome would have been the same regardless of its delightful look.

Before I go any further, let me pray over our minds and hearts, that we would not be driven by controversy and opinions, but by the Holy Spirit who brings truth and power. Jesus, give us an ear to hear and bring us to a place of pure humility. Your word tells us to not harden our hearts in rebellion if we hear your voice today. Please overpower all thoughts of deceit, rebellion, and control in order that we may see your beautiful wonders in its fullness today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let’s take you on a glorious road backwards. In April of 1989, a little, short, brown baby girl was born. Boy, was she WEIRD (that’s a good thing ladies). Up until age 7…maybe 8, I used to walk around in the least amount of clothes acceptable. Underwear ALL day, inside AND outside. If my parents could take over from here they would write novels about the many family dinners in which everyone was clothed besides me. I had an odd personality (again ladies, it’s a good thing!) and to go with it, I liked to control everything, from when I went to bed to what I ate for dinner. I was a whole lot of stubborn as well. I loved having things go my way and hated when they didn’t. A lot has changed since then, and in most cases, I do wear more than underwear. But one thing hasn’t changed at all: my undeniable desire to control my situation. I still kick and scream in my head when God wants me to submit to His plan, until I’m so tired and drained that I finally allow the Holy Spirit to wrap His arms around me and convince me to rest.  I think we all battle with this, and it’s important to recognize this.

When I look at the world around me, I see that amid the battle of evil that exists, there are choices being made. Our choices can do one of two things; glorify God by submitting to His desire for us, or dishonor God by submitting to our own desires. When we make a choice that dishonors God and His desire, we experience in that split moment of control and pride, a sense of what happened in the garden that day. (Genesis 3) Submission to God’s authority was tainted from the beginning and we feel it, don’t we? The heart condition that we battle with is a strong one, but it is not victorious! There can be an overflowing of grace and guidance if we tap into it. Sometimes it’s tempting to be disappointed in God when it is all said and done. If you have read the biblical story of Job, you will notice that when Job cries out to God in disappointment (this guy went through hell), God responds to his pleas with many questions, ones that all came down to one single important question, “Job, are you God?” This is an extreme case, yes, but it’s the point behind it. Can God handle your frustration and disappointment? Of course. Should we be disappointed in God? By no means. This life on this earth is wasting away and surely our kicking and screaming isn’t eternal. The best choice is to start submitting now and give God power to filter through your desires and straighten out your priorities.

So how can we be sure we are submitting to God?

We can surely start by examining the basics; love God more than anything or anyone, and love others more than yourself.

Submit to God by loving Him more than yourself. Pick up your Bible and spend some time with Him, in fact choose to do it when you don’t even feel like it. With the Holy Spirit, this is possible, and when you live that way, it brings the most honor to Him.

Submit to God by allowing Him to use you as a vessel. We are all broken vessels, but He wants to strengthen us and use us still. Are you sold on the reality that He chose to use you? Join in on the mission with Him to seek and save the lost and this will bring Him glory.

Submit to God by loving others more than yourself. Submission starts with God, but should trickle down into every part of your relationships. Ephesians 5:21 tells us to submit to one another. Why not seek to see people through the lens of God? You might just find they are in the image of God and worthy far above what we can fathom. This kind of love will be shouting praise to God through your actions.

Lastly, I must remind myself and you that submission is no stranger to Jesus Christ. He knows the act of submission personally as he chose to obey His mission to die for us. He knows that submitting to a plan other than yours, in the moment, can be painful and push you out of comfort zones. Submission can require sacrifice and a cost. And friends, Jesus paid a huge price for us. By submitting to the Father, we now have a promise of abundant life. Hold onto this promise today, and know that the greatest freedom is found when you unclench your fists and release the control up to the only one fit to guide the wheel (Jesus take the wheel, BAM).

1 John 3:20 tells us that when our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart! He knows EVERYTHING!

How’s that for encouraging?? I pray blessings over all of you but most of all I pray that your heart is held in the hands of your father God and that He is transforming you, day in and day out.

-Erin Rodriguez

“For Freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit to the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1