I Submit!

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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.

Howdy,
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.

Tony

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6 thoughts on “I Submit!

  1. Great point Bro,

    My advice to the young lady would also be to have patience and let our Father do his work. She needs to remember to always put God first in her life. The Lord does work in mysterious ways and only he knows the plans he has for us. The problem we have sometimes is not letting God take control and us trying to make things happen on our own. My testimony (for those who don’t know me that well) is I also have been married twice and wasn’t seeking God’s will on the matter. As a matter of Fact I was living in Sin (against God’s will). But as you point out Tony, God’s grace is awesome! Although I didn’t follow his plan he still blessed me and restored my life. I think we were very fortunate that we found two women who were warm, loving, caring and who opened their hearts to Jesus and took our hands as we started our walk with our Lord and Savior.
    To the young lady; God hears your prayers and he is on your case. He is grooming your future husband as we speak. He is also doing a work in you! He is preparing you to be a great Christian wife! He has given you Proverbs 31:10-31
    to read and study. He will bless you but it will be in his timing. Remember good things happen to those who wait. Hang in there!…God Bless..Chris

    Proverbs 31:10-31

    10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
    11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
    12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
    13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
    14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
    15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
    16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
    17 She dresses herself [5] with strength and makes her arms strong.
    18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
    19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
    20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
    21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. [6]
    22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
    23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
    24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
    25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
    26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
    27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
    28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
    29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
    30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
    31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates

  2. Thanks for your post! First off, sorry for my late response here. I’ve been in Belize for 10 days and just got back.

    I hear what you’re saying, but I’m still curious on one point — why isn’t it “true submission” until I disagree with what I’m submitting to? What if I agree with what I’m submitting to? Why is the “disagreeing” significant? Can you touch on that a bit?

  3. Perhaps you would say “submission is only tested in disagreement” but how is there submission in agreement? If the tree was already falling when my axe hit it, did I cut it down? I pray that my heart is inclined to God’s will but if it truly was I would no longer be able to offer my submission as a sacrifice, for it is wrong to call what costs nothing a sacrifice.

    For some reason I thought I had previously replied with regards to your desire for a husband but apparently I didn’t post it. I urge you to use caution in this area; anyone seeking a mate for the sake of having a mate is on the path to unhappiness. God provides all we need, not all we want and He knows what is best for us. I know you are probably thinking this is easy for some grandpa to say and I have to admit that I did not take this advice when I was young and had two failed attempts before I got it right. You now have the chance to learn from my mistakes.

    Also, in very pragmatic terms, a woman who is eager or desperate is not attractive to a Godly man. Which means the wrong men will find you if you try to take the lead. Seek first God and wait on him with patience.

    God bless,
    -jim

  4. @genifra2,

    I think Jim did a good job of summing up what I was thinking about submission. I have really been challenged to think about whether you are really submitting when you are acting in agreement. The Theological Dictionary of New Testament Theology says submission is “readiness to renounce one’s own will for the sake of others . . . and to give precedence to others”. This definition would imply that the will, want, and desire of the individual is almost non-existent or at least a non-factor in relation to the entity requiring submission.

    I guess the final take-way for me is that I first and foremost need to submit to God’s will. Sometimes I feel like that is easier said than done. My best understanding of knowing God’s will is to look first at the Scriptures and see what it reveals. I think this can be difficult because I am always worried that my fallible interpretation could be wrong or skewed. However, God has promised us wisdom if we ask Him for it (James 1:5-8). So I always pray before reading the Bible and ask God to reveal His will to me. Additionally, I seek the counsel of others who I feel like are seeking the will of God in the same way I am and ask them for counsel.

    I hope this helps. We are a small group of Christians here but are always willing to hopefully and prayerfully share our thoughts. If there is anything specifically we can pray for you let us know.

    Peace.

    Tony

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