Submission is one of those things we think we like, because we generally see it as others submitting to us and our will. However, as soon as we venture a little deeper into what submission actually means in our own individual lives, we soon realize that submission sucks. For example, let us be honest for a second here. How much do you really like when you have to do what your parents or teachers tell you to? My guess is you don’t really like it.
However, when you think about it it’s obvious submission has to take place to some degree or another otherwise things would get messed up, and sadly they often times do.
Countless families are broken because of lack of submission. To be clear, I’m not talking about mom ‘submitting’ to dad in some sort of power and control way. Rather, mutual submission and respect between the parents/guardians. Many of us are willing and excited in the beginning of relationships, jobs, volunteer positions, etc to submit to our boss or the other person. Everything is great… up until the point where someone has to be humble, swallow their pride and compromise their wants. Community requires compromise. I have a friend who says that you know you live in community when you can smell each other. What he means by that is you don’t live in community if you can leave every time it gets uncomfortable. If you can leave when conflict arises, you don’t live in community.
We, here in Canada (and I’d suggest the rest of the developed world or the ‘West’), have lost a good deal of sense of what it means to live in community. We are taught that we, as individuals, are to strive for “success” – and most often that success is measured by wealth, power and fame.
I don’t believe in that kind of success. Neither do I believe that we can do anything worthwhile in life on our own. Yes, we are individuals, but alone we are not worth much. It is in community we thrive. Especially when we can smell each other. If our highest aim is to love as Christ loved us, then we must stick things out with each other, get beyond our differences and learn to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (see Ephesians 5:21). When we experience mutual submission, which only The Holy Spirit can produce, we participate in God’s divine love. Have you ever felt that?
Here’s some questions I want to leave you with to wrestle through and comment on.
- In what way have you experienced the consequences of lack of compromise and submission – either due to your own lack of submission, or others?
- Do I stick around, even when things get messy? Or do I run away?
- When I do stick around, do I try to seek compromise? Or do I insist upon my way?
- Do I ever submit to the people above me, even when I don’t agree, or can’t figure out why I am told to do so and so? Or do I keep agonizing about it?
- what area(s) of my life do I hold on to? What do I refuse to let go of? Can I trust God with this area of my life too?
Lastly, I want to help you fix your attention on God, our Father. As His children, we are to live our lives in obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God will never force His will and His Spirit upon you. You have to co-operate with God and leave room for the Holy Spirit by letting go of your own will.
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
:: by Morten Anderson