Sunday, 18 September 2011

Obedience and Submission

(..and then there is also groveling)

The two words seem to be the same, and often get confused for each other. Our human bosses and husbands want obedience and submission, mixing the two to mean the same thing.

Who gets that "top dog" position? and Is it really deserved?

Submission may seem to ourselves like groveling, true? Especially if we do it with a spirit of "I hate all that you stand for, but if I don't lick your boots I know I might lose my":

1. "job"
2. "standing in the community"
3. "life"

etc, etc, etc.....

If we submit to authority does that mean we have to obey in every way? I look to Daniel's three friends for the answer to try to gain a bit of clarity in that area. They were to obey the edict that was put into place and used by their enemies to trap them.(Daniel 3:12). Did they submit to the edict? Did they obey the order to pray to Nebuchadnezzar's image? No. They did not curse the king, nor did they obey him by bowing down to him in this unlawful law, and counted on God to see them through whether they lived or died as a result.

When I look for relevance in contemporary terms in my own work situation, I see that I can submit to authority by acknowledging the fact that a person has been placed in a position that is superior to my own and behave accordingly. If he or she abuses the authority in order to try to get me to grovel, I must submit it to God who will intervene in the way He sees fit. It may mean that I may lose my job and go through fiery trials as a result of that, and those trials may last several months or even years. It may be  like it was for Daniel's three friends "out of the frying pan and into the fire", and like them I may have to endure intense heat or perhaps even death and the end of my mortal existence. They were ready to die, if necessary, knowing God was with them. There is a difference between not bowing down (groveling) and actively railing against (cursing or demonstrating and openly protesting against) authority. That is the area that I sometimes (often?) cross the line, and there is a huge difference between these two, although sometimes it does seem like a fine line, really there is a big difference. Not bowing takes an inner strength and self control and a meekness that is conformed to the way Jesus stood before His accusers. He did not rail against them or curse them. He stood His ground with the truth being His only defense, the truth did not need to be screamed out in self justification. It (truth) just is. He did not grovel, He did not bow, but He did not demand, and He did not run from conflict, He faced it head on as they led Him to His death. Here was the God of the universe made flesh, and He let Himself be led to His execution.....He, the Creator of all, was led....He was led....He should have been leading, but He was led....and He followed, not grovelling, but He did follow their leading, knowing it would lead to His demise, knowing God's purpose was in it. (I had to keep repeating that because it completely defies all logic, and my brain continues to struggle with that one)

Dying to self has been something that I have been praying to understand better over the last several months, and as things have been heating up in certain areas of my life, I know it is in answer to my prayer to understand the phenomenon of the worm that dieth not (Mark chapter 9).

And by the way, I don't believe God wants us to grovel before Him either, but we are to submit AND obey Him, because what He desires from us is His perfect will for us. And if we can submit to human authority (without groveling) whom we do not necessarily hold to high regard, we can get a glimpse of true submission to God and that it likewise is done without groveling.

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