Like An Athlete, We Need To Train So We Can Finish The Race, Fight The Good Fight.
Like an athlete, we need to train. Spiritual disciplines are exercises to develop spiritual muscles needed to be an active warrior for Christ. Sadly, our culture has become a spectator society. People today would rather watch others play the game while they hoot and holler and get all excited. Then they go to work and say “How about those _________. “like they had anything to do with the outcome. I suppose that is like going to church for many people. “Yea God, Go Pastor Jim.” Then we go home and wait for the next Game. That is not what the spirit filled life is supposed to be like.
What does submission mean? The dictionary defines submission as "the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person." Submitting means putting others before yourself; it means not always doing what you want to do. It means putting God's desires above your desires.
With our "Freedom" mentality our culture has sprung up the most defiant social establishment the world has ever known. That is because “Freedom” has been so distorted over the years that we would not know it even if we were in the middle of it. I will save Freedom “explained” for another time. But for today, I submitt this quote:
“We neither obey the law, nor can obey it, before we have been reconciled to God, justified, and then reborn”
Philip Melanchthon - Augsburg Confession, (Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions 138)
Left to his own devices, sinful man will always be lawless. This disregard for God’s law explains his need for a Savior. That is why Jesus came to earth. Why he lived the life he did, and not set up some earthy rule.
Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Jesus’ life on earth is that as the Sovereign Lord he lived by the discipline of submission. How could we do anything less?
Submission is the way of Jesus’ Cross and it’s the way he lived every day of his life.
Submission is how Jesus teaches us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Submission is the way of life for citizens of the kingdom of God, for those who live their daily lives under the rule of Christ.
Submission is quietly choosing to let another be in control. We’re to submit to the Lord in all things and we’re also to submit to authorities, elders, and others as unto Christ.
Submission is “abandoning outcomes to God”; it’s letting go of trying to…
Submission is self-denial out of love for God and others.
Jesus is co-equal with the Father and the Spirit in the Trinity and yet he chose to live his life on earth in submission to God in all things, at all times. And this brought him great joy and peace and power!
The Apostle John indicates in his gospel that Jesus was acting “under God’s orders” 47 times! John records Jesus saying things like: “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me… Whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say (John 6:38, 12:50). ”I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19).
Jesus is the Word who spoke the Scriptures into existence and yet he lived in submission to those very Scriptures!
Again and again we read in the gospels that Jesus said and did certain things “so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” He discovered his identity, lived out his life story, and made his every decision according to the Scriptures.
At times in his life on earth the King of kings and Lord of lords even submitted himself to the people he created!
Jesus confined himself to human flesh, was born in a stable and laid in an animal feeding trough, obeyed his parents, completed carpentry jobs for customers, submitted to John’s baptism, paid taxes, performed menial servant duties, relied on his disciples for support, surrendered to soldiers, subjected himself to illegal trials, yielded to Pilate’s verdict, capitulated to the cross, and handed over his mission to his disciples.
By living in submission to God, the Scriptures, and other people Jesus shows us that humility leads to true power, love for others is the path to true freedom.
Richard Foster says that submission is “the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way… If we could only see that most things in life are not major issues, then we could hold them lightly… In submission we are at last free to value other people” (Celebration of Discipline, p. 97-98).
May God help us to live in moment-by-moment obedience to Christ and his kingdom, through his Spirit and his Word. And may we learn to bring this into our relationships: “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
We can grow in our submission to God by practicing these ways…