Monday, November 7, 2011

Submission and Surrender, how contorted those words have become.

When you think of submission what is the first image that pops into your head?

I think of a hostage pleading for his/her life with the kidnapper who is brandishing a knife or gun.

Not a positive image for sure. Some one begging for mercy with a violent predator of some sort. You may have a different image but I'm guessing it isn't good if you think at all like me.

So now we come to surrender, What image have you got?

I think of a soldier raising a tattered and crudely fashioned white flag. Someone who is looking haggard, bloody with slumped shoulders and full of shame. Again not a positive image.

So upon becoming a Christian and learning to Love him I had trouble at first with those words. Being that they brought up negative imagery for me made it difficult to integrate into my belief system. In fact it is 7 years since I first handed my life over and this year I am working hard at submission to authority. I didn't understand that if want to lead first you must learn to follow. I have a stubborn nature and it takes time to get past my walls of human reasoning. I knew I wanted to follow but just didn't know how. Being that I was a bit of a control freak none of it came natural to me.

Most, if not all, successful businesses operate on this principle. Delegation of authority is the only thing that leads to real growth. It is a matter of trust or faith. The people around you may not do things the way you would do them but it doesn't necessarily make your way right. A lot of times with regards to God I resisted his way and, of course, it didn't work out as I planned.

The truth is if you believe yourself to be self sufficient God will not use you to do his will.

So although it is something I've worked on since the beginning of my walk in recent times it has become a focal point. It is working out very well. I have a temporary position at my work place that I'm in charge of a small crew. I don't have any large mandate or big title nor do I care. A number of people working with me are capable workers and need little supervision. My job is to give them a direction and a focus then let them take it from there. I have several new workers and they need more instruction of course. I trust the people I work with to help in that manner along side me. The team is growing and improving not because of me but because of the group of us.

Had it not been for God I would still be trying to do everything on my own. In fact it is only because of God that I have this opportunity. He gave me this opportunity and sent along side me the perfect compliment of skills in my fellow employees. Even the office person coordinating the operation is highly capable and knowledgeable. The whole experience has been a challenge but I'm very much enjoying it.

An absolute essential of being a Christ follower is allowing him to be the leader of your life. Which means surrendering your will to Jesus and submitting to his authority in your life. The Bible is full of great examples in how God uses people that trust in him. I've seen that come alive in my life and in others.

Before you get authority you should learn how to submit to it. Mathew 8:5-13 has an example of a leader who understood authority and how it works...

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.  “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
  Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
  The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
  When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
  Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it.

Jesus blessed this non Jew and said he had great faith. Why? Well it was because he accepted Jesus authority over that of his own. In military terms Generals don't start off as Generals. They start off as Lieutenants and that is only after much schooling and more submission to higher authority. If you want to lead you must learn to follow or you won't succeed. Before the fruit of being a Christian would start ripening in my life I had to learn about submission and surrender. I'm not there yet but I am learning. Jesus is a magnificent teacher but he won't feed those that aren't hungry.

I am a work in progress. I want to take it all on at times but know better. As for surrender, I honestly don't want to take the reigns in my life anymore. I have never been more content with life than I am right now. As for my temporary position that will end soon but as Rick Warren wrote "life is a temporary assignment". The only thing that is permanent is eternity and I know where I'm spending that so I might as well get God's help here too.

Blessings to you, may you be a good and faithful servant in everything you do!!

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