Devotional Thought of the Day:
28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. 30 The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 CEV
853 Use this prescription for your life: “I don’t remember that I exist. I don’t think of my own affairs, because there is no time left.” Work and service!
Don’t stop reading this post after the next paragraph. Keep going, it will be worth it.
The word submission has taken on a very negative tone in the last few decades. Especially the idea of submitting to God, to allowing Jesus to be the Lord of your life. I could give twenty or thirty examples of why, including the fact that some people abuse the idea of submitting to God, in order to get people to submit to them. Men have done this to get women to submit, parents have done this to get children to submit, some in government, and even in church leadership want their people to submit.
But they don’t understand what submission is, they don’t get the paradox. And they don’t understand that submission isn’t about wielding authority and controlling others, it is about freeing them from things that shouldn’t bind them, that shouldn’t oppress them, that shouldn’t such life and joy from them.
Instead, this paradox of submission is about freeing them to live life, to know God’s love, to experience peace.
You see this in Jesus words above in red, quoted from Matthew’s gospel. Submitting to God means giving Him all the things that wear you down, that stress you out, that cause anxiety. The things that burden us, that tire us out. The stuff that leaves us exhausted, because they are out of our control. Jesus would have us submit our lives, where we get so fixated on our life that we don’t ever really live it.
Worry’s about family, friends finances, health or eve facing death.
Guilt and shame from past sins we struggle with daily.
Resentment and anger from those sins that have been committed against us,
All this stuff Jesus asks us to give to Him, to submit to His care. He would free us from these concerns of life. Which is why St Josemaria talks the way he does, saying I don’t remember that I exist, I am not concerned with my own affairs, I am free to just live, to do and to serve others.
Biblical submission is not about recognizing someone’s authority over you, it is not about becoming their robot. It is about realizing God’s care for you, HIs love, and allowing Him to do what He has promised. It is about trusting Him, depending upon Him, knowing that He cares.
And living in the freedom of not worrying about, not hyper-focusing upon those things we cannot change.
But instead to live in peace… unexplainable, glorious, restful peace.
Even on Monday!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 3021-3023). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death— his death on the cross. Philippians 2:8 (TEV)
625 Your obedience is not worthy of the name unless you are ready to abandon your most flourishing work whenever someone with authority so commands.
5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. 6 And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. Romans 1:5-6 (NLT)
If you want to grow as a Christian, one of the things you need to do is confront your idols. To see them, confess them, and let God circumcise your heart and soul, removing those idols that would destroy you.
Two words can help in this examination.
Even as you read those words, like me, something in your stomach reacted, or perhaps you became a little jittery, as defenses began to rise up. I don’t want to submit to my boss, we see teens struggle to obey their parents, and you want to really have fun, bring up the idea of wives submitting to their husbands in a Bible Study!
Most Christians would nod appreciatively when we talk about imitating Christ. That we should have the heart for the lost, for those who are broken and destitute, We may think of them, and pray for them, and pretend we are like Christ. We may give money to missions, and think we’ve done our part, that we’ve made our sacrifice.
But will we, as St Josemaria notes, abandon what is going well, what is flourishing, what seems to be blessed, to obey Jesus?
That’s another question entirely, and strikes to what obedience really is.
Will we embrace hardship, to love? Will we give up that which we’ve invested our lives in because we’ve heard the voice of God, because we know this is what God has planned, because it is in accord with the heart of God, that has been revealed to us in scripture?
Would you leave your business, like Peter, Andrew, James and John did, with an unheard of catch of fish? Or leave success as Matthew did, literally walking away with tables full of money?
That is obedience. Jesus calls.
But please, understand me, this is not a blog to create guilt, but to help us learn to trust in God, to depend on Him, for that is the source of obedience.
Obedience is not blind, it is not mindless, to set aside our desires, it requires us to be in prayer, to examine our consciences and allow God to purify them.
It requires us to hear God.
Which is probably why the word in Greek for obey is – hyper-hear.
To listen and let it stick, to internalize what is heard.
TO hear the voice of God, and be so overwhelmed, we respond in love, in adoration.For we realize that nothing, no idol, no desire, no amount of success is worth the joy of being in His presence.
This is our life. This life of walking with God, of hearing His voice, of knowing Him, and knowing His love for us.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1477-1478). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Discussion thought of the day
“You don’t want to submit yourself to the will of God, and instead you adapt yourself to the will of anybody, and everybody” Escriva
In the 1930’s the Biritsh Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, thought the way to peace was to appease Hitler, to give into his little demands, to sacrifice others that Hitler would find contentment. It didn’t work of course, and the world was plunged into war. I think many of us do that today. Our friends are doing something we know is wrong, and we are quiet, afraid to destroy the relationship, yet all the time fearing for the consequences we know will come. We give in to our children’s demands, thinking that a moment of respite and quiet is worth it, rather than engage in disciplining them. We make deals all the time, with the illusion that it will bring peace, and minimize the impact on our lives.
Except of course, we don’t bow to God, we don’t listen to the one who designed us, and we get mad at Him when peace isn’t there. He points to simple things – love Him, love your neighbor, and points out the critical ways that can be done and lets us know we don’t have to submit to other God’s, we can use His name to praise and pray to Him instead of using it as a cuss word, we can cherish the blessings of marriage and life. We don’t have to covet other people’s lives and reputations….
DO these things, live in the way He designed, and there is peace.
If you don’t, confess them and He will provide the gift of cleaning it up, and making it right,
But we don’t even like that. “why do I have to confess my sins” they cry! “I don’t need a pastor, or a church, my relationship is with God!” I guess, but even in saying that, the self-centered focus is turning down the gifts of God, and my expectation is the time you could have spent with God’s people, the burdens you have, the guilt and shame – you will continue to bear as you bow to others agendas, and you appease them, for an illusion of peace in that moment. The reality of it is, we belong to whomever we try to appease or submit to…
My friends, let God be God, submit to Him, look to His wisdom and promises….. when you belong to Him, the peace isn’t momentary, nor an illusion. It is peace in the middle of storms, and through them. It is real peace in life.
And in crying “Lord have mercy,” we acknowledge we belong to Him, when we confess our sins, looking for and receiving His love and compassion and comfort – we realize it again. When we take part in the family of God, celebrating His presence, His promises, His gifts, the same – we revel in His being our Master, our Lord, our Savior.
SO this morning – who will you belong to?