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Summary: Godly submission shapes our soul

Tilling the Soil of the Soul July 30, 2006

The Spiritual Discipline of Submission

Ephesians 5:15-21

Almost all of the spiritual disciplines that we have been looking at are counter cultural. We have looked at fasting and simple living when our culture calls us to consume, we have looked at meditation and silence when our culture tries to fill our ears and minds with distractions… Out of all the spiritual disciplines, I think that submission is the most counter cultural. If we explain to workmates why we fast, or pray or meditate, or live simply, they might think we are just weird. If we explain to them why we live a life of submission, they are likely to say that we are wrong!

Verse 21: Submit to one another

Submission is a bad word in our society

we make heroes of people who won’t submit to anyone’s authority, You never hear Mel Gibson, or Sigourney Weaver talking about submission, unless it is beating the bad guys into submission.

The motto for our age it outplay, outwit, outlast, not “submit”

It is not too surprising that God’s values look upside down from the world’s perspective.

Lets look at God’s perspective, and his call on our lives.

What Submission is not

Christian Submission is not about being a Doormat

Paul, who writes this passage, deals harshly with both secular authorities and with Christian brothers and sisters when they overstep their bounds and treat him as less than he is.

The Submission that Paul is calling us to is a mutual submission – not one where there is one person in submission, and another in authority, but that we would submit to each other.

We do not submit to others because “that is what I deserve, the worm that I am”

Foster writes:

“Jesus called us to self-denial without self-hatred. Self-denial is simply a way of coming to understand that we do not have to have it our own way. Our happiness is not dependant upon getting what we want.

Self-denial does not mean the loss of our identity as some suppose. Without our identity we could not even be subject to each other. Did Jesus lose his identity when he set his face toward Golgotha? Did Peter lose his identity when he responded to Jesus’ cross-bearing command, “Follow me.” (John 21:19)? Did Paul lose his identity when he committed himself to the one who had said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:16)? Of course not. We know the opposite was true. They found their identity in the act of self denial.” – p 99

Christian Submission is not about over-the-top politeness like those two chipmunks in the cartoons who say, “no, no, no, after you,” “no, I insist after you,”

It is not the abdication of responsibility or authority so we get no where and no decisions get made because we are so worried about stepping on each others toes.

Christian Submission is not about the lowest common denominator.

Canadian & American worms joke

To guys are out fishing, one of them has to keep the lid on his can of worms shut tight, each time he gets a worm, he has to be fast or the others will escape. The other fellow doesn’t even have a lid on his can of worms and seems to have no worries of escape. Finally the one with the lid asks the other man, “Why don’t you worry about your worms escaping?” The fellow responds, “Oh, that’s easy, you have American worms, I’ve got Canadian worms, if one of mine gets a little bit higher than the rest, they pull him back down.”

Christian Submission is not about keeping each other from getting ahead.

Christian submission doesn’t say, “I’m not going to use my God given gifts, because I might make someone else look bad”

There is a sense in the term of submission of coming under the other person, not to be held down by them, but to lift them up!

What Submission is

Definition - a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

"put others first" - Contemporary English Version

Instead of looking out for ourselves, we are to be looking out for everyone else, and they are to look out for us.

“Every discipline has its corresponding freedom. What freedom corresponds to submission? It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way. The obsession to demand that things go the way we want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in human society today. People will spend weeks, months, even years in a perpetual stew because some little thing did not go as they wished, they will fuss and fume. They will get mad about it. They will act as if their very life hangs on the issue. They may even get an ulcer over it.

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Frank Pagán

commented on Jun 9, 2011

Tha most radical social teaching of Jesus was his total reversal of the contemporary notion of greatness.

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