Monday, February 9, 2015

Submission - Who Do You Submit to?

Submission is a noun. The end.

Who do you submit to?

Don't you wish submission could stop there? I do sometimes. Well, that is, if it is me being asked to submit. Long ago in being trained in a literally Biblical church (some would call it legalistic, I might even today), I heard a lot about "submission". Some of it was truth that can be supported by the Bible; some of it was hogwash that was even cruel and chauvinistic, although it was taught with all sincerity and with a good heart intent.

We all submit to someone. Even if that someone is ourselves. But, often we submit to people, and frankly, what they ask us to do is sometimes not right or good for us.

The very good news is that ultimately the only person in life that you and I ever have to be totally submitted to is GOD! Whew! And that is very, very good, because God is not cruel or chauvinistic. Anything He directly asks of you will be for your good and at the right time. He knows what you need and when you need it. (Now, I am not going to have time to teach mutual submission of believers and submission of a wife to her husband since he is serving her sacrificially as Jesus gave His life for the church. Those two are completely two separate articles that can be followed up on.)

This is the HUGE difference between legalism and a personal relationship. In legalism, religious leaders study the Bible and prayerfully discern what all church members should obey. Basically they outline rules that according to their best understand they believe are Biblically sound and therefore they deem these rules should be followed by everyone in the church. Overtime these rules can be added to or subtracted, but most commonly added to and even many years down the road people can even forget the original reason why the rule was instituted. Everyone simply knows if you attend that particular church it is what is acceptable or not.

For example, 

in one church my husband and I attended the preacher was talking about how men should not be wearing yellow ties. Well, everyone in the church was in all agreement and know what to think when he mentioned it in passing during a sermon. But, then, I noticed my husband sitting in the row wearing a yellow tie and I was staring at his tie having no idea what sin was being committed and where in Scripture the yellow tie had fallen from grace. It was the same church that had people pogo dancing in the front during service and that preached against the trinity. Needless to say, we didn't attend again. However, still today, I have now idea what was wrong with yellow ties. Even though all the men from this church submitted to the "no yellow tie" rule, it was manmade and not something God asked each person to not do.

While this is a true example and a very odd one, any rule handed down by a church as a "given rule" for all that is not explicitly taught in the Bible is legalist and not commanded by God. Over the years, and through many denominations, my husband and I have submitted to various legalistic rules in order to be honoring to a church that we decided to become a member of but not because God specifically called us to have that rule in our life.

Submission leads to one important question. 

Does someone else know what is better for me? For me that answer is absolutely, YES! God is that one person that know what is better for me. God has a destiny of greatness for you, me and anyone willing to accept His call on our life. Matter of fact, our lack of submission limits God's ability to do great things in and through us.

So, for me, again, I will say, there is only one person in the whole wide world that I will unconditionally even try to submit to and that person is GOD. I try to surrender to His Word when I understand its clear teaching and to His voice when I hear it within my spirit.

Submission to God is good, positive, healthy and life-bearing. I have learned this from the Bible but also lived it as an experience since I became a Christian. And like everything I do, submission is a work in progress in my life. 

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