Search This Blog

Monday, May 18, 2009


There is something about the Christian life that seems to escape modern American culture. I'm talking about the art of submission.

It's an obedience thing, that seems to fly in the face of how Americans (and maybe most westerners) are taught to think. Our perspective just cannot seem to embrace submission. And yet it is required.

Most dictionaries will define submission in terms of yielding oneself to another. In other words, when I defer my will in favor of your will - I am submitting myself to you. The Bible has much to say about submission.

Ephesians 5:21 tells us, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." What does this really mean? It doesn't say to consider ourselves inferior to one another, or to enslave one another. It simply says, "Because you love and respect Christ, you will yield your own will in favor of the will of another." It kind of shoots the "me first" attitude down right from the start. It would seem to promote unity in the family, the body, etc. (Consider, for example, whether your kids could argue over which TV station to watch ... if they were practicing Ephesians 5:21.)

And this is a commandment. It's not a suggestion. Jesus taught what God had already instituted --- that His people are to be submitted fully to God. Look at the Old Testament stories where God took drastic action to make His point about the importance of obedience.

Remember when the city of Sodom was destroyed? Lot and his wife were leaving, and God forbid them to look back. Nevertheless, as they were driving away, Lot's wife turned to look out the back window. Now God could have overlooked this. It was just a simple act of disobedience, and really didn't hurt anyone. Heck, maybe even Lot didn't notice. But God noticed.

Lot's wife was not fully submitted to God. She did not yield her will - or her curiosity - to the will of God. So He enforced the clear boundary he had drawn for them. Her earthly life was snuffed out immediately. Mrs. Lot may have thought she was submitted to the Lord. Others might have agreed. Certainly the reason she was driving away from Sodom in the first place was that God found she and her husband to be righteous. But as it turns out, her submission was incomplete. And the consequences were disastrous for both she and her husband. He now had a pillar of salt for a wife!

So here is the dilemma of submission. Our American culture, as well as many other western cultures, doesn't take kindly to it. We tend to view submission as a bad thing, something to be avoided. We self-righteously assert our "rights" and our independence. We simply don't want anyone telling us what to do. And we believe firmly in the inalienable right to pursue life, liberty and happiness on our terms. Folks, that may be constitutional --- but it definitely is not Biblical.

In order to please God, and qualify as obedient servants of Christ, we are going to have to become slaves of Christ. You and I must accomplish a vast paradigm shift, where we see submission and surrender as virtues to be aspired to. That of course will require that we stop seeing them as points of failure to be avoided at all costs.

Jesus said, in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey me." It's pretty succinct. It's pretty clear what He meant. So do you think you love Jesus? How is your obedience? Jesus didn't say, "If you love me, I'd like you to consider sometimes obeying me." Jesus didn't say, "Obedience is a great sign of respect when you love me." What Jesus said is that our true love for Him will be evidenced by our level of obedience and submission to Him and His ways.

Ponder that and I'll blog some more on this topic later.

No comments:

Post a Comment