Knowing your rank, submitting to God first step to peace
By Clay Perkins
Saturday, February 16, 2019
“Submit yourselves, then, to God.” — James 4:7a (The Bible, New International Version)
Do you want to live in peace? Do you want peace with your friends and with those at work? Do you want peace with your family? Do you want peace with yourself and peace with God? You can find peace. You must choose to find it. The choice is yours.
Submit to God. Now there’s a word that has no respect today: submit. And that is to our detriment. James, the half-brother of Jesus, uses the word “submit,” a technical military word, in James 4:7. I asked a few friends in the military how to communicate this word “submit” with a military twist. They said, “Don’t jump ranks.” “Stay in rank.” “Understand your position.” “That’s above your pay grade.” “Act your rank.” “Don’t jump your chain of command.”
To have peace, one must learn not to jump ranks. Submit to God. God is the commander in chief, not you. If you want peace, know your rank. Respect your rank.
Allow me to illustrate. Let’s talk about fishing. I love fishing. I really enjoy catching, but I will go fishing any chance that comes along. There is a fellow fisherman in the Bible, Simon Peter. He is a commercial fisherman. When I fish and do not catch, my family and I still get to eat. For a commercial fisherman like Peter, fishing and not catching would be devastating, not only for himself, but also for his family. They would not have food to eat or income to purchase food. In Luke 5:5 we find that after a very tough night of fishing, a carpenter is giving fishing advice to the commercial fishermen. Think about it. Then we read these words, “Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’”
Because you say so. The words of a man who understands “submit.”
Here is another example. “Lord, I do not get it. I can never forgive that person. They wronged me. They hurt me. You know they are evil. You know they are wicked. They do not deserve to be forgiven. But, because you say so, I will forgive them.” The words of a man who understands submit.
“Lord … You’ve got to be kidding me. She cheated on me. She does not deserve your grace. She is one evil lady. How can any man love that woman? But, because you say so, I will honor my marriage. I will allow your grace to heal.” The words of a man who understands submit.
“Lord … How can I go on? We were married for over 53 years. We did everything together. The pain. The grief. Death hurts. Going to church without her is more than I can bear. But, because you say so, I will find peace in the pain.” The words of a man who understands submit.
“Lord … No way. I live from paycheck to paycheck. I am broke! You know that. The overdue notices are stacking up. I am working two jobs and barely getting by and you want me to give? You want me to tithe? 10 percent Ugh! But, because you say so, I will give with a cheerful heart.” The words of a man who understands submit.
The first step to live in peace is to know your rank and submit to God, whose reason is beyond your pay grade. God knows more than you, don’t you agree?
Dr. Clay Perkins is an adjunct professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. The opinions expressed in this column belong to the author and may not be those of the university.