Love is…Submission

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:

SUBMISSION.

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)

Love is…Mundane

I can not tell you enough good things about a book called Redemption, by Mark Wilkerson. God used it some other perfectly timed circumstances to reignite my flame for Him and for ministering to the broken, messy people in our eternal family. I took a bunch of life-altering notes from a training weekend we went to, and am using the bullet points as a follow-up study. Not to overstate here, but Every.Single.Person in the world could receive some great things from this book.

Did I mention I’ve never met this Wilkerson before? I don’t get any benefit from advertising his book other than to enjoy the fruit of a redeemed, stronger, more complete kingdom-centered family.

So, It’s a book studied in these awesome Redemption Groups that I’m praying and hoping to be a part of at our church. One of the first points made at a little training we went to about it is, “The gospel can invade beauty into any situation–deep sorrow or those that seem mundane on the surface”. What do you think as you read that point?

At first glance I would normally say, “duh”. But when my heart is ripe to receive the truth and to delve into the depths of my soul, I become aware that I don’t live like that’s true. And if I don’t live like that, there’s a splinter blocking the path from my brain and my true faith.

So, first I needed to ensure that the statement actually lines up with the Bible…I know that Jesus is the Word and His story is the Good News, and that He literally saved me from the deep sorrow of dying while my girls were still so young. And in Matthew 9:23-25, a ruler was quite sorrowful because his daughter had just died but Jesus brought her back to life. Done. The gospel can invade beauty into deep sorrow.

He also invaded beauty into my mundane life. Remember I posted how on the last day of chemo I went to a drug store and God had three strangers stop me to tell me I was beautiful? He invaded a mundane moment with His perfect love, before I even knew I needed it or had asked. He did throughout His earthly ministry, too. Almost every day was mundane until He came along as the rescuer. Matthew went to work and was hanging out as his tax collector’s booth when Jesus cruised by and grabbed him (Mth 9:9). He turned a normal work day, where he was looked down upon and dreaded by the people, into a new calling, lifestyle and job. Oh, and He brought eternal life. God it. So, the gospel can invade beauty into the mundane.

So, why is this significant? Because some of us live like He is the God of the mundane, but we are the gods of the significant. Or vise versa. I often fall immediately into Him with the significant stuff, realizing I can’t take care of business on my own. But with daily, mundane life, I try to be my own god. I make a list of what I think should be done, and I try to achieve it. I blame myself for failures and beg Him to help me do better. But I don’t look for or expect His beauty throughout the day. I don’t see the importance of homeschooling Abigail for His daily glory. For cleaning the house as a reflection of His provision. I dare not think He cares if I fold the laundry, or believe anything more lovely than the act of crossing it off the list could come from it. So, I de-emphasize these things and think they get in the way of the ministry opportunities that arise. I rush through them to get to the “more important” parts of the day.

Oops.

The mundane hours, days, weeks, even years, add up to most of our lives. I have been jumping at exciting opportunities but wasting the longer lasting ones. We aren’t alone in this life, and we’re missing so much beauty when we act like we are. He is the all-powerful, all-knowing Savior of the world, and His love will transcend all circumstances, not just the ones we think we can do on our own.