These are the words immortalized by Miley Cyrus on Top 40 radio today. For a generation this is a rally cry for individuality and a shaking off of the rules and regulations of those who have gone before us. Don’t get me wrong; every generation has had this ideology at some level. The Woodstock generation of the 60’s and 70’s was known for it’s anti-establishment sentiments; but a new generation has taken this “you can’t tell me what to do, I am accountable to no one” attitude to new heights. The thought of submitting to someone’s authority flies in the face of today’s culture that believes that a person’s personal life and decisions are nobody else’s business.
It is no wonder then, that when the Church speaks out against these societal norms the backlash is often instant and visceral. But the fact is, as Christ followers we fall under the commands of scripture to walk in one accord under the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That banner calls for our complete and total submission to something greater then ourselves.
That is a tough pill to swallow until we come to terms with the fact that our natural tendency is to rebel against God. I love the Apostle Paul’s honesty in Romans 7:15 where he says: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” In spite of our natural tendency for rebellion, the command is for believers to be like Jesus. Here are a few examples:
- 1 Peter 2:21 – follow in his steps
- Ephesians 5:1-2 – be imitators of God
- John 13:13-17 – I have given you an example
- Ephesians 4:22-24 – put off your old self…put on your new self
- Romans 8:2-8 – walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit
So, if our natural bent is rebellion…yet the command is to be like Jesus…how do we accomplish this monumental task? A study of the Bible quickly shows us that as believers we should not only submit to accountability in our lives but seek with joy after those who will consistently inspect and examine our lives with a critical eye. Ephesians 5 is full of guidelines for our Christian walk and in verse 21 we see a clear command to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
We find a great picture of this in Acts 5:1-11. A husband and wife, Ananias and Sapphira; made a commitment to sell a piece of land and give the proceeds to the church. They conspired together and in the end retained a portion of the profits for themselves instead of honoring their commitment to give the full amount of the proceeds to the apostles. To compound the problem, they still presented the gift as if it was the full amount earned from the sale of the land. Peter calls them out on in verse 4 saying “Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” The story ends with them “breathing their last”.
We should never try this journey alone. It’s just too easy lie to ourselves that we are better then we are. The very nature of Jesus is perfection and in Him we are progressively sanctified until we are perfected in His presence one day.
- Do you have people who will speak truth into your life when needed?
- Do you listen when they sharpen you?
- Who holds you accountable?
- Do you willingly submit to that accountability?
This may fly in the face of the world around us; but Jesus creates…even commands truth and accountability. Our very souls depend on it.