I thought about submission. And I thought about my divorce. Weird, I know, but stick with me. This stuff is dripping in submission on all sides. You see, if I didn’t have a relationship with God, the unwanted divorce would have tainted my view of marriage, left me jaded and doubtful to pursue it again. But it hasn’t. I still desire marriage, because I think it is one of the most fulfilling, sacrificial and godly pursuits a couple can take up. Admittedly, that frame of mind was not instinctive. It took months of the Holy Spirit asking me to trust God and stop thrashing around. When fears and self-doubt were on the verge of crippling me, I submitted those dark thoughts to the Father. It wasn’t, nor is it now, a perfect transition. Sometimes I give into anger, but am cautious of resentment. It is a process, one that I am willing to submit myself to because I don’t want to carry baggage into the next relationship.
Then there’s the relationship with my ex-wife. I gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in the 15 years I spent with her. When you love someone, you learn to submit, yield your need to always be right, in favor of the relationship. Obviously, free will still affects the outcome. But regret has never crossed my mind. And even now submission is part of our new relationship. If we don’t submit, the kids will suffer. They will become the object of an ungodly power struggle, as our own selfishness comes to the surface. Not interested!
Submission should be implemented with the proper perspective and in the proper order:
1. Submit to God. This above all else. The whole point is to deny yourself and follow Him. It keeps everything perspective. If your submission leads to activities outside of God’s will, then you know you shouldn’t submit.
2. Submit to Scripture. While our relationship with the Father is real, it is sometimes hard to grasp and we need something tangible. He understands that and gave us His word, which will always point back to Him.
3. Submit to our family. God has built within the natural order a place to practice submission for natural betterment of all those involved. Within the family unit, we submit to our children’s needs (i.e. staying up late holding a sick baby, when we need rest) and in return we teach them to submit to our authority. We learn submission by staying true to the vow of putting our spouses needs above our own. Submitting to our own parents after we are adults keeps us humble.
4. Submit to your neighbors. You have opportunities every day to put other’s needs above your own. God has placed in you in circles of influence and will use you to minister to those around you. If you keep #1 & #2 at the forefront, then #4 becomes more natural.
5. Submit to the Church. Be involved in a local community of believers and willingly give your time and talents to serve them. Allow yourself to be challenged by the direction the leadership of that community is going.
6. Submit to the broken and despised. Often an extension of serving the Church, but we can on our own submit to the needs of those on a broader scale. Intentionally seek opportunities to give your time, resources and talents to those in need.
7. Submit to the world. Know that beyond your local borders, God is continuing to engage peoples of all communities. Your local congregation is not the only authority on God’s word, His movement, and involvement. “American Christianity” is no more right than “Chinese Christianity”.
- Spiritual Discipline: Submission
- Submission: Lens of Tradition
- Submission: Lens of Reason
- Submission: Lens of Experience