Thou Shalt Submit!: Part Deux
After two failed writing attempts (here and here) and a dozen or so discussions via social media (lets also throw in a random life situation that tempted me to slip into pandering) I think I'm ready to dig in. This is an incomplete list so feel free to add your own, "Submission is _________"
1) Whatever Kingdom of God submission is, it's not natural to our culture.
We like getting more rights, not handing rights in. Submission is about laying down rights, wants, preferences, not simply to appease or please, but to serve.
2) Submission is not pandering.
Pointing out injustice, confronting those close to you about self/other damaging behavior, working toward open and honest relationships (even if honesty can produce tension) does not bypass submission...*
3) Submission is a matter of the heart
...when the goal is the well being of another and the motive is love.
Pointing out injustice, confronting others, or telling it like it is, can be just as much about self-righteous indignation, spiritualized manipulation and control, or straight up animosity. Jesus made it pretty clear that if you want to follow Him, the new standard or morality is not simply outward action but inward motive. Anything done without love, (even good things) according to I Corinthians 13 is worthless.
4) Submission brings life.
Not only to those around us, but to us. We think we want autonomy and individualism, but God made this to be about community. As Donald Miller put's it, our life makes the most sense when we realize it's a subplot among other subplots. We are not the main character in our own story but a side character in a larger one.
5) Submission to other people affects our submission to God, and vice versa.
The notion that God is the only one we've found worthy of submitting to carries the arrogant assumption that there is no one above us but God. Well I guess that makes you the next pope huh?
The more I fight to be the unchallenged authority of my petty little world, in ignorance of the desires and needs of those around me (and not just the people I love), I am not submitting to the God who asks me to look out for the interests of others. Also, outright rejection of authority here and now trains me to reject any authority. I'm not saying authority is to be obeyed when it directly tells me to do something against what God calls me to, but again we are culturally accustomed to balk at authority in most things.
5) Submission is like Jesus.
He is the prototype.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
May He guide you through the wilderness May He protect you through the storm May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you
*There is a place for civil disobedience to expose injustice in a way that Jesus modeled in Matthew 5 which includes items like turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, and giving up your tunic also. But I'll get to that in another post.