Sunday, June 08, 2008

Submission or Agreement?

Nearly 2 years have passed since my last post to this blog exploring submission. I wish I had continued on with the exploring and writing because it was moving deeper inside me as I focused on and applied it to myself. I read once that women think as they write - while often men write to express something they have already come to decision on. The generalization about women is so true of me. While I write, I learn and I'm often surprised at the outcome!

Since writing the last post, my submission both to God and my husband, has been sorely tested. Life happens, huh? :) I wondered why does it flow so smoothly at times but feel like a burden at others? I am basically the same person all the time - and so is my husband. Our personalities are actually quite similar and submission to him is not difficult. In my spiritual walk - it's no different. God doesn't change from one day to the next - doesn't make our relationship guess work. What is happening?

As I pondered this, a thought came to me. Many times throughout our marriage I happily submit to my husband because he is making a request or handling something in exactly the way I want him to - or exactly as I would do it. "Wonderful - thanks!" "Thanks for handling that problem for me!" Or, "You're so right in what you decided to do here - I am so proud of you!" This submission stuff is great! Everyone is happy - I'm freed from having to worry about certain things or handling issues. He makes a great decision that benefits us all and life is good. His decision might even be to leave the decision to me. Even better!

Kinda like with God. Here's an example: God wants me to be a good worker - actually working for Him rather than my boss. I love submitting to Him in my job, because by working that way I generally am awarded by a pat on the back, a raise and maybe a promotion. Not only did I get a raise, but I'm obeying God. Cool! This submitting stuff really works!

Ok - one problem here. Both examples above are when I am agreeing with my husband or agreeing with God. It's when they've come to a decision that I agree with or I can say "Amen!" to - or something I can see benefits me. What's not to submit to? Well, I'm not too sure that's submitting at all. I've experienced agreement.

The dictionary says agreement means harmony of people's opinions or actions. Contrarywise - the word submission means surrendering power to another. See the difference? In agreement - we are in harmony - we are moving the same direction . . we see things in the same way. When it comes to my "submission/agreement" to God - it is when His will fits in with my personality and when I see the wisdom in his ways - the end result benefits my life - whether physical or spiritual. That's what following God is for - right? It assures me life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Submitting to God means that I surrender my power to Him. His will is what rules in my life - not my own will that chooses agreement or not. I may not agree. In fact, if God gets involved in my life I would imagine it will be something I won't agree with. Why would God teach me or reveal to me something of which he and I already agree? What part of revelation is that?

Submitting means that I may be diametrically opposed to what I'm hearing or maybe I don't see that it's going to end in my understanding of the right way - but I do it anyway. And I don't do it grudgingly or with a heart that's filled with distrust or holding on to the power - but I do it cheerfully. My will - my power - has been given over.

There aren't many examples of this in the Bible. But one sticks out to me that illustrates this turning of will over perfectly.

Part of the story from Daniel 3:

Nebuchadnezzar asked them, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don't honor my gods or worship the gold statue that I set up? When you hear the sound of the rams' horns, flutes, lyres, harps, and three-stringed harps playing at the same time with all other kinds of instruments, will you bow down and worship the gold statue I made? If you don't worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. What god can save you from my power then?"

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "We don't need to answer your last question. If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty.
But if he doesn't, you should know, Your Majesty, we'll never honor your gods or worship the gold statue that you set up."

There is submission - but even if he doesn't . . .
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that God could save them - but
they submitted to His decision of whether he would or not - and would submit to him to the end - even if the end meant a very painful death . . . a death that came about because they were doing the will of God.

So - my challenge to myself is to focus on submission - not to applaud myself for moments of agreement. Big challenge. It certainly goes against my natural self.