Sunday, November 15, 2015

Seasoned with Grace

Submission is a four-letter word. Some would say it's because of our culture, or post-modern era. Some would say it's because we live in America, land of the free, home of the brave. I am convinced it's because of my sinful heart that wants my way--the only way--all the time. But submitting to authority, to one's husband, or another person is not a negative.

To submit to someone else is to give a gift of grace. When my husband makes the wrong choice at the grocery store and brings home dried beans instead of canned, I can rail on him, go back to the store, or give him grace and get to work plumping those babies. When I work on a committee for the church Thanksgiving dinner and there's a decision to be made I can do it my way or ask the person in charge--and give her grace.

There are two choices in dealing with people: their way or mine. To submit to others out of reverence for Christ is to consider them better than, ahead of, myself--and give grace. Just do it. Unless it's terribly wrong, don't question it, give suggestions, or buck the system. Just do it: lovingly, patiently, gently, kindly, prayerfully fighting your inside voice that rants about how your way is better.

To do things lovingly is to do them God's way. And God's way is often difficult. It means giving up my identity (gasp!) because I am in Christ. It means seeing things from a different angle. It means not being the center of my world--or anyone else's. It means becoming invisible in a way that allows Jesus to shine through the cracks, brokenness and shame of my life.

If you're ready for a heart-check, follow this link. It will take you to a list of proud and humble responses compiled by Stuart Scott. I didn't get far before it was evident that I have a LONG way to go to grow in humility and submission. May God continue to put us in situations where we can learn and practice submission--because that's what Jesus did.

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (Phil. 2:1-16)

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