Submission And Commission
(Helpful to Sunday School Lesson of February 29, 1920; 1 Peter 2:1–5, 11–12; 19–25)
“Laying aside.” How necessary is this first step in Christian living. Many people quote another part of the Scripture that says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” but they forget the words of that injunction, which are, “Submit yourselves to God.” Now before there can be Christian living there must be a laying aside. How few Christians consider this cleaning up that is necessary, this pruning that must take place, this going down before there comes the going up and the bearing of the fruit.
How few “keep house,” spiritually speaking. So much is cluttered up. The parlor runs into the kitchen and the kitchen is part of the coal-bin. Carnal things are all cluttered up where all should be peace and quiet. Let us start in now and really lay aside.
“Evil speakings.” How many of us, if we would pray a prayer of real downright confession, would say, “Lord Jesus, wash my lips from evil speakings?” O, how criticism grieves the Holy Spirit! The Scripture has much to say about the tongue and about evil speaking.
I just received a letter from a friend, as beautiful a Christian letter as I have ever received, in which he was able to tell me about some man from whom he had had to separate in Christian work, and yet he did it without saying one evil thing or suggesting one evil thing against him, and without any mock humility. I marveled at the letter as I read it, and asked God for this grace myself.
I remember riding with Dr. Simpson in campaigns for weeks, and being conscious all the while that he never spoke an evil word against anyone. It became such a marvel to me that at the close of the journey I reminded him of it and asked how it was that he had found this grace. Very sweetly he said, “You see, I have suffered so much myself from what others have said that it has probably had its good effect on my own tongue.” May God deliver us from all evil speaking.
“As new-born babes, desire.” What an expressive Scripture this is. Is there any more persistent, eager hunger than the frantic desire of the new-born babe? Absolutely nothing else will satisfy it but the food it craves. God grant that we may have this new-born babe desire in our hearts for the sincere milk of God’s Word. Beloved, is it really a craving with you? Do you have to drive yourself to the reading of God’s Word? Ah beware if you do! Go to God until you get a healthy, robust, new-born babe desire for God’s Word.
“And precious.” A thing is precious because it is rare. Ah, He is rare! There is only one of His kind. Lose Him, and all is lost! Eliminate Him and life is hell; withdraw His light, and it is darkness eternal; take Him away and there is no comfort, no revelation, no future, no hope, no heaven, no answer to the problem of the nations, no answer to the awfulness of sin, no answer to death, no answer to life. Ah, indeed, He is precious, He is rare, the only One.
“Which war.” This is a splendid expression for things that fleshly lusts do to our souls. It is modern warfare, too, for it is poison gas and liquid fire, sometimes a regular cannonading and barrage fire before the awful swift sword attack. How wonderful would be our victory if we really were conscious that it is a warfare, and that ours is a soldier’s life. Ever on picket duty is the Holy Ghost, who will warn if we but listen. He does warn, but we heed Him not. It is war, but we think it is a bed of roses and are depressed when the easy, soft things do not come.
“If, when ye do well.” I once heard a preacher say there was a place in Jesus where you would neither puff nor shrink. When we do well our tendency is to swell up, to puff, but God allows our good things to sometimes be misunderstood, the very best efforts, and when it hurts, it only shows how much we were desiring the approval of people. Surely we could not think for a moment that God does not know that it was good in spite of what people say. Such testings reveal our own hearts to us and show us whether or not we are really working for the Lord or are considering the approval of men. Thank God for any test that will show us whether or not we are living unto God or men. Many who would not shrink from any hardship puff under applause. Let it be “Jesus only.”
“But committed Himself.” If Christ, with all His power and glory and strength, committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously, who is God, how much more should we poor weaklings really commit ourselves to God and not answer back when wrongly judged, not try to straighten things up for ourselves and try to dress up our reputations and boast of them, but to let Him bring it to pass. He has promised to be our defense. No one will ever find peace until he learns to commit his reputation to Jesus. Let us learn in prayer what it means to commit ourselves unto Himself.