Love is submission. What? For non-believers the connotation of submission is usually met with scoffing or bad memories, because no one with value would fully submit to another. For believers, it’s a familiar command to submit to God, but is not always done easily or from the heart.
I have been SO blessed by God’s presence in the past few months. Times like these seem to come and go, but I think that’s primarily because I lose focus and don’t notice Him as much. This time around He caught me before I turned too far. I was still getting up early to spend time with Him before the day became loud and distracting, but because I had my last reconstructive surgery (woohoo!), I was tired and began doing it out of obligation instead of a heartfelt search. One of the things I stopped doing was studying the notes I took from the Redemption Group Training I mentioned in a previous post. But last night I went to a follow-up about it and it reignited my passion for seeking Him. By the time I got home, He broke through to me, and during this morning’s quiet time He completed a huge breakthrough. Right now I feel like it is THE breakthrough of my life, but it could just be from recent times:
Okay, so in the group training, we practice listening to the Holy Spirit while we and others share. Everyone is praying and listening at the same time. It gives new meaning to the idea of “praying constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), because you’re multi-tasking so don’t even take a break when you’re sharing the most intimate, or the most mundane, parts of your life. The result is that everyone there is in gathered in His name, and He is there, the One in charge (Matthew 18:20).
You cannot help but be changed, be better, know better, love better, after experiencing Him in this powerful way. And over time, our relationships and all interactions will improve because of it. He will be truly in charge of our lives, and we will truly believe that is the best place for Him to be.
So, practicing deferring constantly to Him like that is one great way to submit, but that’s just an example of the good that comes from it. If life was guaranteed to always go the way we want it, we would submit all the time. The problem is that we know better. We have learned that people on earth are sinful, so submitting is unsafe. And we’ve seen enough heartache to know what we want and what God wants aren’t necessarily the same things. We want to retain control in case things start heading in an unpleasant direction. And I have been believing a lie that He was trying to strongarm me into submitting to Him, instead of seeing it as a natural result of my love for Him. Even when I realized I needed to decrease so I can see His enormity, I saw it as a love issue but not a problem with submission. The signs have all been there–Abigail has been having emotional meltdowns relating to wanting to be her own boss, I’ve been trying to lead a young rebel back to her rightful seat at the foot of the cross, and Yaacov and I finally worked through some issues that surround my rejection of his attempts to lead me. These are all examples of our human resistance to submit, but I didn’t notice the theme until now. And I definitely didn’t catch the point that submitting grudgingly is enormously prideful–it’s not submission at all, it’s actually calculated manipulation. Heartfelt submission is the ultimate acceptance and appreciation that I can do nothing apart from my God. That I am entirely undone by His love and protection for me, and that the only way to be a completely fulfilled person living in this world is to completely submitted to the One who lived on earth but dwells in heaven.
John the Baptist was a great man, and he said he was unfit to untie the sandals of Jesus (John 1:27). That means the filthy, rebellious sinner I am does not deserve to dwell in His presence, or to even serve Him. But He invited me here and I know no better place to be. Submitting to Him is the ultimate privilege, and I praise Him for letting me do it, rather than resent Him for trying to make me.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes; But He would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Ps 81:11-14, 16)