Christian Submission: The Attitude of the Unoffended

Christian Submission,Love,IctheusSubmit.  Submission.  Yield.  These are not popular words in our culture.  All three words have a negative connotation in the English language akin to giving up, loosing, or letting someone else have their way over ours.

And yet any study of the New Testament, and especially those books written by Paul, would show that submission and yielding are necessary and even desirable for a Christian.  Could it be that what Paul is trying to tell us is that submission is actually a good thing?  Could we, in this day and age, stand to learn what it means to be submissive in the context of God’s word?  Let’s look at God’s word and see if we can get a clear answer.

In First Corinthians we find chapter eleven which discusses head coverings, appropriate length of hair and contains verse three which says “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God”.  Sounds like trouble, right?  Not necessarily.

The word “head” that Paul is using here could be more correctly translated as “origin” and in that context it makes more sense to English speakers.  Woman was created by God out of one rib from Adam’s body.  Christ was God put into flesh; literally the Son of God.  But what about all of this in the context of submission?  Hang on, we’re almost there!

Both of the Corinthian letters were written to the church at Corinth and contained some specific instructions for that church in that specific time.  They still contain wisdom and truth that we can apply to our own lives but they must be read with some knowledge of what was taking place in Corinth at that time if we are to really understand what Paul was saying.

Long hair on a man in the Corinthian culture was one sign of a male prostitute.  Likewise, short hair on a woman was one sign for a female prostitute.  Sexual immorality was prevalent in Corinth and Paul’s desire was for the men and women of that church to completely and visibly separate themselves from any appearance of evil.

Although hairstyles on both men and women in our day and time carry no such suggestions of sexual promiscuity we would still do well to distance ourselves from the appearance of evil.  People decide what they think about us long before they decide what they think of our message.  We need to be careful that our appearance does not become a stumbling block for someone else.

In other words, sometimes we need to yield our right to do what we want to do out of love and spiritual concern for someone else.

It is our right to dress and style ourselves as we fit.  However, it is always more important to let love dictate our behavior and attitude.  This is where submission comes into play.  Love yields, not out of weakness, but out of strength of character and concern for the other.

Jesus was our example in this.  Throughout his horrible arrest, trial, torture, and execution he never fought back or exercised his power as God to stop what was happening to Him.  He went to the cross willingly, out of love for us.  He submitted his body to be broken for the greater good of victory over sin and death.

The submission of our will to Jesus Christ is also done with the greater good in mind.  When we live in submission to God, He can then use us for His glory and for our benefit.  The most blessed that we will ever be is when we are living in submission to the will of our Heavenly Father.  And make no mistake, we will live in submission one way or another.

In the sixth chapter of Romans Paul addresses sin in the life of the believer.  16 Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

In three verses Paul shares a simple yet profound fact.  The believer can only live one of two ways.  Either we yield (submit) to flesh, to the old man and to sin or we yield (submit) ourselves to the Spirit and to obedience that leads to righteousness.  There is no middle ground here.

Some of us think (and I did for a long while) that we can be for God, that we can approve of Him and His church and we’ll even attend once in awhile as long as He doesn’t try and muck around in our lives too much.  We’re not practicing overt evil but neither do we want God intruding on our personal time and personal space beyond the minimum.  We’re saved, so isn’t that enough?

Believer, please do not believe that lie.  I know from experience that what Paul says in Romans chapter 6 is absolutely true.  If we aren’t yielded to God then we are yielded to flesh and you know who owns and glorifies the flesh, right?  Trying to pretend that we can get by as a Christian by not yielding to God is just making the evil one’s job that much easier.  We are either submitting ourselves to our Father’s will or we aren’t; it’s just that simple.

So then, I believe we are ready to answer our original question.  If we are submitted to God and His will then submission is a very good and necessary thing.  While submitted to God’s will we gain the strength and love to yield our individual rights for the benefit of those around us, which was what Paul asked the Corinthian believers to do so many years ago.

As for the title of this piece; what is the attitude of the unoffended?  Why love, of course.

Coming Soon – Peace on Earth!

peace, submission, Luke 2:14If you know human history it would seem that true, actual peace on earth is far from a possibility.  If you keep track of current events it would also seem that true, actual peace on earth does not exist.  And if you add together our human history with what’s going on in the world now it would seem like peace on earth won’t be a part of our future either.

Yet Luke 2:14 says “Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth and goodwill towards men.”  And if we take the Bible to be God’s infallible word then a true, actual peace on earth must not only be possible, but must be in the making even now.

Where is this peace?  If it really is in the making then where does it start and can we be involved?

The good news is, peace starts with us.  It starts IN us, to be more precise.  It starts when we lay down our own selfish wills and submit our lives to the authority of God through his son, Jesus Christ.  By proclaiming publicly that God’s will is more important than our will, we unify our hearts towards a high calling.  And when hearts are unified towards God, peace begins.

We can finally be at peace with God having been redeemed out of sin and death and unto life and freedom.  Together with like minded individuals we can work in one accord toward God’s ultimate purpose on earth: to spread the good news of the gospel and make it known to all men that Jesus saves.

In Luke 2:14 the message of the angels from God was really a statement of beginning.  Stated another way they said” God’s goodwill is shown to all men.  Peace is now possible with God through the gift of His son!  Praise His name for this marvelous gift!”

Although it may seem that true, actual peace on earth will never be attained we can read and study God’s word and know that one day God will bring peace to all the earth.  He will do this through force in a final defeat of Satan and his armies at a place called Armegeddon.  Once evil is removed from the earth those who chose to submit to His authority during life will be given the privilege of living with Him in His holy city of New Jerusalem.  Those who chose not to submit to His authority during life will be sealed away forever in a place called Hell that was originally reserved for the Devil and his fallen angels.

I say this both to inform and to warn.  The time to choose peace with God is now, while you have the chance.  We are not promised tomorrow.  God can do amazing things with your life but only if you let Him.  He leaves the ultimate decision up to you.  Choose peace with God by laying down your will in submission to Him or choose to be the god of your own life.  Both decisions have eternal ramifications and there is no middle ground.

How To Live With A Curse

self, grace, submissionI am so glad that I accepted Christ as Savior while I was still a child.  I understood just enough to know that I needed Jesus to save my soul and that I wanted to be in Heaven one day with Him.  But it was a learning process of many years filled with a lot of rebellion before I completely yielded myself to Him as Lord.  I just didn’t understand how deep and how wide God’s love for me really was and until I came to the end of myself I didn’t know how badly I needed His grace.

Before God’s grace can be truly comprehended by us, we must be real with ourselves.  If we don’t see our sin for what it is then we will never understand our need for salvation nor will we grasp how good God really is.

Understanding is needed.  Wisdom is required.  A frank inspection of the self at the prompting of the Holy Spirit will help us see exactly who we are and why we desperately need the Lord.

This is a frightening process and I do not make light of it.  I think most of us realize that we have some flaws and make some mistakes but actually looking into our own souls and seeing the depth of the darkness there requires God’s help and more than a little courage.  And it usually doesn’t happen until we our faced with a crisis so overwhelming that we have no choice but to stop and ask ourselves “Why?”  “What am I?”  “What have I done?”

God will lead us to that place, as He did with me, where we truly are at the end of ourselves.  We will finally glimpse all that the self is capable of and how shallow and small it really is in comparison to our creator God.  Only when we are well and truly tired of “self” and want God more than anything else will He finally be able to pick up the mess that we have made and begin to form us into something beautiful.

In some way and at some time every person who truly desires to follow Christ must come to this point and go through exactly the same thing.  In my own life it is the absolute lowest point and the absolute highest mountain all at the same time.  What began as a broken and angry man was transformed into one who was humbled but full of peace about the present, hope for the future and a greater love for God than I have ever known.  God met me and showed me His grace contrasted against my sin and I, as long as I live, will never forget what that looked like.


Action Hero Repentance

repentance, submission, forgiveness

Sorry guys, but you aren’t the type of action hero I am looking for this week.

While I concede that “hero” and “repentance” aren’t words that are normally found together in a sentence, it is my position that they should be.



In fact, I believe the best, most true kind of repentance requires heroic action.

Allow me to explain.

A hero is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities”.  While the commission of sin is never admirable and should never be applauded, admitting our faults and failures and taking action to turn from them most certainly should be applauded.  The honest person who is most open about their failures and reliance on God is the person that God can most use for His glory.  And I can certainly admire a person like that!

True repentance requires action.  Sometimes it requires heroic action.  True repentance isn’t just feeling bad about sin or even admitting that we have made a mistake.  True repentance turns away from the sin and the mistake and moves in the completely opposite direction.  Nothing shows God that we are more serious about walking with Him than when we turn away from sin and start living our lives differently.

Here is what true repentance looks like in real life:  If I know that I have wronged someone I go to that person and admit that I have wrong them and ask for their forgiveness.  If I know that I am tempted by lustful thoughts when viewing certain TV shows or movies, I no longer watch those TV shows or movies.  If too much time spent on social media sites and internet gaming is interfering with my walk with God, then I reduce or eliminate my exposure to those things until Jesus is first in my life again.

True repentance always, always, always requires us to act differently.  It may start with a realization and conviction by the Holy Spirit and it should involve confession; absolutely.  But until there is a motion made by us to cease our sin and to turn away from it, our repentance is not complete.

Do you want freedom from sin and to overcome that which binds you?  Then start to act differently.  God has a way of taking our small, stumbling steps made in weakness and amplifying them with His strength until we are taking great, God sized strides over and through our previous mistakes.

But it must start with our first step.  It must begin with a heroic effort on our part to really want to change and be different.  Show the Lord that you are serious and take action.  Engage yourself in action hero repentance and watch as God works a miracle in your life.

The “Stop Playing and Look at This!” Moment

stop playing, turn to GodOver a decade ago and not too long after Vicki and I were married, she said something to me that we still chuckle about to this day.  At the time, it was somewhat surprising and unexpected but it was also exactly what I needed to hear.  It made an impact on me then and even now it serves as a reminder of the wisdom of my wife and the need to keep my priorities in order.

In college, I had gotten into a routine that consisted of studying, socializing and spending my free time in front of a computer.  I was an avid internet gamer and unfortunately I carried this habit (truthfully it had become an addiction by this time) into our marriage.

One evening, as I sat in front of the computer playing, Vicki came in and began to speak to me and seek my input on various topics.  Being quite distracted and trying to divide my attention, I gave short, one word answers and grunts.  As she continued to try and communicate with me I continued to play and give her less than my full attention.

Finally, she came and stood in front of me and said “Stop playing!  Look at this!’  She was holding something in her hands that she had been desperately trying to show me for several minutes while I sat there obliviously.

Her actions worked wonderfully for a couple of reasons.  Vicki almost never raises her voice and almost never makes demands of anyone besides herself.  She’s the sweetest person I’ve ever met and probably the most selfless as well.  For her to interject herself in front of me and verbally command me to put my attention where it should have been all along was eye opening and very effective.

I immediately realized what a jerk I was being and how unfairly I was treating her.  I had let bad habits from my past creep into our new relationship and life together and they were jeopardizing the marriage that we were tying to build.

Needless to say, “Stop playing!  Look at this!” became a rallying cry for me to remember that the relationship between Vicki and I is the most important relationship that I have on this earth and is second only to my relationship with the Lord.  As long as I am on this earth it is my privilege and responsibility to honor my wife with my time and full attention whenever she needs it.

I wonder how many of us take a similar approach in our walk with God.  We bring bad habits and old ways of doing things into our new relationship with our Heavenly Father and when He speaks, we only half listen if we listen at all.

Brothers and sisters, this ought not be so.  God not only deeply desires our undivided love and attention, He truly deserves it.  Don’t let it come to a “Stop playing!  Look at this!” moment between you and the Lord before you decide to love Him with your whole heart and give Him everything you have.  There is deep joy and abiding peace in full surrender to the Lord Jesus.  Come willingly, come gladly and come before it is too late.