Spiritual Discipline // SUBMISSION
By Andrea Larson
Submission is not a popular concept in our 21st century western world, but it is definitely a facet of being a Pentecostal Christian. I would imagine that a random sampling of people in America would in large part agree that “submission” is a word with largely negative and oppressive connotations. We don’t want to be “sub”, or under the authority of anyone or anything! We love our freedoms. Many have died for our freedoms. Indeed, we enjoy many truly wonderful freedoms, including the ability to talk and write about our faith.
Enter COVID -19. Suddenly, our country, which literally was founded on the concept of rebellion from authority, finds itself bending to the tyranny not of a king, but of a tiny, vicious viral pathogen. We have been asked like never before to submit to many social regulations that may help to keep the virus from spreading rampantly among us. But…we are a people that do not like being told what to do. Submission is not popular and many have balked at safety measures.
As Christians, we have mandates that come from a much higher authority than our government officials. Jesus himself told us to submit and provided us with the example of his own life, which he gave up willingly for us.
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”Philippians 2: 5-8
Jesus voluntarily experienced the worst of what it means to be human, while being fully divine – quite a step down! So, perhaps we can follow his lead and humble ourselves in our current situation. We can think of the restrictions that we have been advised to implement not as an affront to our faith, but as a unique opportunity to demonstrate what Christian submission looks like – considering others above ourselves.
1. Take some time to consider the following: As we heard Pastor Isaac preach about evangelism this week, which posture do you think would attract more people to be interested in following Jesus with us – a posture that is humble and seeks to consider other people’s well being as more important than our own or a position of being as comfortable as possible and getting all that we’re “entitled” to get? (This answer seems obvious, but think seriously if it would possibly be a different answer if you consider following Jesus with people who share a similar level of “status” with you or those who are at a “lower” level in your eyes.)
2. Now, consider your own attitude towards the restrictions we have all been experiencing this past year. Have you grumbled about the inconveniences and discomforts or have you cheerfully complied?
3. Today think of ways to practice submission and bring blessing to others in a humble way. Start with small things like donning your mask cheerfully, letting a waiting car cut in ahead of you or offering someone the spot ahead of you in a grocery line (6 feet ahead, of course!). Ask your friends which game they want to play or agree to a dinner selection that is the favorite of the very youngest in your family (even when it is not his/her birthday!).4. Work your way to greater levels of submission by being the first to seek reconciliation in an argument or by letting go of the need to have things “go your way”. As we practice these things, they will become easier and we will truly learn to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph. 5:21).”