Submission – A Delight (Part 3 of 3)

Submission – A Delight
Submission is not a sword to be wielded by the powerful or a burden to carried by the weak, rather it is a virtue and practice that every Christian is called to day after day in a variety of settings and within a variety of relationships.  No doubt authority has been abused and this principle of submission has been used to hold people hostage, but the misuse of a principle does not cancel the legitimate place of that principle.  Furthermore we must remember and teach that no one is exempt from the demand of submission by the Lord.  Instead of looking for excuses to get out of submission, let us look for reasons to submit.  Submission can become for us a place of refuge and a delight  as it is evidence of the work of God within us and it becomes part of our witness to the world (Titus 3:1-11).  Submission is also a way that we can minister to our leaders (Hebrews 13:17: Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you).  Leadership carries burdens, but the people of God aid leaders when they act on submission, rather than in pride, gossip, back-biting, slander, or rebellion.
We also model Christ for one another when we follow His own practice of submission to the Lord.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to God to take away the cup of wrath (Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42), but Jesus knew He must submit himself to God’s will.  Thank God that He did.  Jesus’ submission is seen in his devotion to the work and will of God – I think of the Gospel of John as showing this repeatedly.  When we offer our submission to God and one another we display Christ likeness and there is no better delight for the Christian.

It is my desire to see both our church and the larger Church grow in our practice of and delight in submission.  Furthermore, I believe that the primary means of our growing in submission, particularly in the context of the church and our relationship with members of the body, is through the grace of Jesus Christ.  Paul had a serious problem and he did what we should all do – He took it to the Lord in prayer.  In 2 Corinthians 12:8, Paul says three times he took his thorn in the flesh to the Lord, pleading with God to take it away.  We know the response from the Lord in verse 9  – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Paul had to submit to the will of God in this situation and settle for the grace of God.  Paul goes on to write, therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  Paul exchanged his desires for the will of God and found grace and power.  When that grace flows through our veins and through the arteries of the church, we can stop struggling to glorify ourselves and start trying to the edify the church.  We will find that we no longer have to be “right” and we don’t have to win every battle.  The grace of Christ will allow us to let go of our “I told you so” and replace it with I love you”.  This certainly cannot be done in our strength or power, but it will be evidence of Christ in us.  May it be so.

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