Two words that have never resonated well with me. In fact, when I hear them still to this day, sometimes it makes my skin crawl. They have left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t know if its because I have seen people in authority abuse them or how I can often hear people talk about such topics void of any love or grace in their words.
When I think of Jesus submitting to His father, it is based off the foundational truth that of God is love. I also love the human side of Jesus that is exposed in the garden before He endures the cross. This dialogue that He has with His father. Submitting to His fathers will didn’t come in a neat and tidy packaged present. In fact, it says that He sweat blood and tears, He first asked if the task set before Him could be removed. After he wrestles this through, He chooses the path of obedience and submission knowing that the next few days and moments of His life were going to be painful but would ultimately redeem people from their sin once and for all and bring humanity into a restored relationship with God. Out of submission came death, and out of death came new life. And that new life is what get’s extended to us everyday.
Our submission brings death to our own selfish tendencies and desires and creates a space for God to breathe in new life. With that new life comes joy and peace. I can say that the world cannot offer it. It is only found when trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. There is no other offer on the table. There are cheap substitutes that try to steal our attention, promising what they can’t fulfill and we get easily sidetracked. But nothing other than Christ can sustain us.
Therefore submission is to be embraced. I wonder if all obedeince and submission would be embraced if we understood it through this lens.
But like I mentioned before sometimes our framework, our own understanding, tells us something different. We are fearful and controlling bunch. Us human beings. We are taught from birth to learn to be independent in order to function as adults someday in this crazy mixed up world.So the idea of submission and obedience is counter-cultural to our human tendencies. God wants to breakthrough that with the message that Christ.
Sometimes I feel the tug on my heart to submit, to surrender, and to obey God. And sometimes I do it without any hesitation. I tend to trust God more in some areas of my life, and not so much in others. When I feel myself try to hold the reigns, to be in the drivers seat, questions linger:
What am I not believing about the character of God?
Do I genuinely believe and understand that He is love and that He for me?
These questions can’t be left unaddressed because then it creates a space where my own growth can be stifled. This is a hard hitting subject for me at the moment.
I have been reading a lot in the book of James. I felt compelled to read it based off a young person casually asking if we should read it together in our youth community. And so we are reading. I had a missionary friend, and my pastor point me to James one on separate occasions. I love that. I love how specific God is.
Heres the wrestling point:
“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. James 1:5”
“f you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.”
This whole idea of keeping my options open convicted me about my obedience and submission. God gives me wisdom to approach certain aspects of my life and surrender them to Him. Big decisions, major decisions and so I know what I need to do. But then while I am praying I am thinking of my option B, option C, and option D in which the last three eliminate the need and trust in God. Which isn’t life. It’s me trying to think through, work out, sort out, leaving me left to my own devices. And I know, that isn’t good.
So what do I with all this. I choose to believe in the character of God, in His goodness, in His love and grace and out of that place I submit, I surrender, I obey trusting that wherever it may lead, wherever I end up, that that is exactly where God wants me to be.
“Just that maybe……maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds. There is a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what is all means. I don’t.
Maybe…..I guess it’s’ accepting there are things we simply don’t understand but He does”