We live in a transactional world. Click now to get a coupon to your favorite restaurant. Swipe your library card and, voila, the latest books and movies. Give Jillian Michaels four months, and she'll give you a healthy body and a new outlook on life.
It's a consumer culture, which infiltrates our spiritual lives: What do I get by submitting to God? What's the upside of humbly obeying God's will? If I do something this hard, I'd better get something out of it! If I give up something that's fundamental to my joy and fulfillment, I sure hope I get something in return.
We're all guilty of thinking this way. Have you ever read Psalm 37:4 and thought, I'll delight myself in the Lord, and then I'll get the desires of my heart? No, we usually focus more on getting what we want than on delighting ourselves in the Lord.
When we submit ourselves to God, we get more of him. We give up something fundamental to who we are and what we ultimately want out of life, and we get a deeper love and understanding of our Father. Amazingly, the more we delight ourselves in the Lord, the more he becomes the desire of our heart.
Job submitted to God by giving up the need to know why, and he let God be God. After God revealed himself, Job responded with, "I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes" (Job 42:5). Because it's rooted in trusting God, submission brings intimacy.
What Isn't Promised
Still, the Bible promises that obedience will be rewarded. "Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well" (Jeremiah 7:23). We see more of God, resulting in holiness and deeper peace. Psalm 103 gives us a taste of submission's benefits: forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, compassion, and satisfaction.1