Recently, I commented on a post over at internetmonk.com (check it out here.) The gist of the post was that sometimes we reach a crossroads where we have to either rebell against the authority in our life or submit to it. In my comment to the imonk posting a quoted a pastor who had said that “submission never truly occurs until you disagree with that to which you must submit.” I received the comment below in response and wanted to take moment to see if I could flesh out my thinking on submission.
I traveled here from internet monk. Over there, you said that a pastor once told you that submission never truly occurs until you disagree with that to which you must submit. This really struck a chord with me, but I don’t totally understand it. Can you elaborate a bit? Thank you; I really appreciate it!
Here’s why I ask: I’m at a point in my (single) life where I think I’ve elevated my desire for marriage to such a high point that I’ll never forgive God if He doesn’t give me a husband. Somebody’s been encouraging me to completely sacrifice it to God, and so far I don’t think I can!
Anyhoo, I would like to think more on that pastor’s statement. It hits home.
Just to give context, the original quote from the pastor was in regards to a wife submitting to her husband as referenced in Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Peter 3:1. However, there are many other scriptures that reference our need submit to the authorities, spiritual and civil, in our lives (see Hebrews 13:17 and Romans 13:1-5). So how does this apply?
For me I have spent much of my life in rebellion to some sort of authority. I say this because I can easily recall times when I disobeyed my parents, broken civil laws such as speeding, and have left more than one church because I wasn’t happy with their take on some issue. All these circumstances end up with me experiencing the fruit of rebellion which is consequence. I would usually get caught and punished by my parents, have gotten more than one speeding ticket in my life, and have probably missed out on some opportunity God would have had for me by leaving one church for another. These are just three simple examples of rebellion in my life. I am sure there are more.
Today, where I am at, is trying to be more like Jesus. In the life of Jesus, we a see a man who came and lived in full submission to the Father. In John 19:8-10, Jesus disciples are asking Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus tells them that He is so completely in tune with the Father’s will and authority that it is only the Father’s will that is revealed in Him. This is how I am trying to live. I recognize that there are authorities above me. In my case I am subject to the will of my employer, the civil government, and my church leadership. I feel to be Christlike I must submit to the will of these entities without regard for self-identity. The big caveat here is that the Father’s will as revealed by the Word and in the Spirit is the testing rod for the actions of these entities. Ultimately, my choices when I disagree with the authority above me will either be submission or rebellion. I think there are times for rebellion when there is a clear cut deviation from the will of the Father, however in my life much of my rebellion has been based not on God’s will but rather on my selfishness desire to not submit.
So I guess that’s a long way to get back as to what the single woman’s response to God is when it comes to her desire to be married. I am by no means an expert on marriage or how to act as a single person. My own testimony is that I am divorced and remarried and both the times I got married I was not seeking God’s will on the matter. Fortunately, God is gracious to forgive and restore those things that our sin brings upon us. I think God’s desire is for us not to be alone (Genesis 2:18). I also think that God’s desire is for us to seek Him in all things (Matthew 6:23). So if you are seeking the Lord and He is asking you to be patient then ultimately I feel like you should submit to that leading. I think you should be cautious of relationships that are with non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14) and I think that you should refrain from physical intimacy prior to marriage (Genesis 2:24).
There are examples of instances where people didn’t wait on the fulfillment of God’s promise and ended up doing the wrong thing in their own timing. Abraham taking Sharah’s maidservant and producing a son instead of waiting until Sarah got preganant is just one example (Genesis 16).
Again I am not single woman, and wasn’t the best at being a single guy, so anyone’s input on this would be appreciated, especially you ladies.
Hope this helps.
Peace and grace.