Spiritual Discipline // SUBMISSION
By Donia Hovet
For the past 15 months, we have been living out a season of profound submission. Churches shut down. Schools closed their doors. We were told to STAY HOME unless absolutely necessary. We stopped seeing friends and family and stayed six feet away. We donned masks and face shields. Pandemic life is different. Hard. Discombobulating.
Some have been on board from the beginning. Some have been convinced after having experienced COVID-19 or watched a loved one succumb unto death. Some have remained frustrated from the start and frustrated with government controls.
Through it all, we have been asking ourselves: “What does it mean to follow the way of Jesus during a global pandemic?”
The answer has been more profoundly simple than we could ever have imagined: SUBMIT. Not to dullness, numbing, ignorance or control. But to the way of Jesus.
Jesus submitted to a humiliating death on the cross. Jesus gave up his rights. Jesus lived his life CONSTANTLY misunderstood, CONSTANTLY questioned, CONSTANTLY accused. Yet he remained in the line of fire to show us what bringing the kingdom of God to earth looks like. He was the suffering servant so we might be redeemed and sanctified.
For 15 months we have had the opportunity to GAIN. We gain by losing. We gain by giving. We gain by submitting. This past Sunday, Isaac reminded us that we have consistently CHOSEN the way of our suffering Lord by sacrificing our personal preferences. In doing so, we have waged war against the deeply embedded stronghold of personal freedom and rights for the sake of Jesus Christ and the witness of his beloved church. Is anything more worthy of our personal pain?
C.S. LEWIS said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Over the course of the coming summer, we are going to have more opportunities to RISE ABOVE the constraints and conversations imposed upon us by this global pandemic. In order to do so, we must submit to our master Jesus who paved the way for us. In the midst of ever-changing regulations and requirements, let’s take comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ is the same: yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Every day we have a choice. Let’s be those who choose the way of Jesus day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, for the glory of God.
- READ: Philippians 2-18, Romans 12:18, Matthew 16:24-27
- Write down 5-10 observations about the heart of God when it comes to sacrificial service and suffering.
- Ask God to preserve unity in our church body through the coming ups and downs.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the ability to lay down your personal preferences for the sake of his kingdom and his glory.