A daily break in your day to celebrate our salvation in Yeshua (Jesus) and our abundant life through the Torah

The Surprising Results of Submission

Submission.  It’s not a very popular word in our society.  Normally we think of someone giving up their will in deference to one with more power.  More recently it seems it’s come to mean someone giving in against their will.  Webster’s defines it as “humbly obedient, ceasing to offer resistance, to defer to another’s wishes.”  Even those definitions don’t sound as bad as the word itself – “submission.”  At least that’s how I felt.

Then I began to learn a simple saying, but a difficult lesson:  “The way we submit to our leaders on earth is the way we submit to God.” (Rabbi Kirt Schneider)  Hmm, how am I at submission?  Would I submit to my husband, for instance, as I do to God?  I didn’t consider myself rebellious or insubordinate; I was determined and assertive — those are valued characteristics in our society.  I would argue my opinion for the good of the project, or debate the best way to go about something, or stand firm on a decision I thought was right.

Slowly, through Rabbi Schneider’s teaching series, I began to realize not that I was disobedient or defiant, but that if I was to truly submit to God in all His desires for me, it would have to include submitting to the leaders He’s put in my life.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  Romans 13:1-2

If this statement is true, when I do not submit to the leaders in my life, I am actually doubting God’s appointments (sometime with good reason, but that’s beside the point.)  God has reasons that I will never know for the leaders He appoints.  Who am I to question Him?  And the reverse is also true:  When I trust those in leadership over me, I’m trusting God.  After all, He put them where they are, they are accountable to Him, not me.

It was a tough and humbling concept, but I decided I’d try out this submission and see how far I could get.  I started with my husband, another direct command of the Bible.  (“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Eph. 5:22)  I first had to realize that my way wasn’t necessarily the only or even the best way, it was just my way.  Then I had to change my perspective to one of an advisor versus a commander.  I could offer my opinion, sometimes it would be accepted, sometimes it wouldn’t, but in some things my role is to offer my opinion; it’s not always to make the decision or ensure that my husband agrees with me.

As I began putting this mindset in action, several things came into view:

  1. My husband is often right.
  2. I had a bad habit of always arguing for my opinion rather than just offering it.
  3. Convincing someone to do it my way fed my need to be smart, right, and powerful.
  4. God’s purposes can work more naturally and easily when I’m not trying to take charge.

There were things I had to give up, mainly my pride, stubbornness and immaturity of needing to get my way.  But in creating new habits, I found peace and joy — two things I never anticipated.  When I didn’t need to have things my way, and could sincerely say, “okay, I’ll do whatever you think is best,” there was no argument, and I knew I was in good hands — God’s hands.  Each time that I would’ve argued in the past, I now felt peace.  What a relief not to have to convince someone to do things my way, I could now just say what I thought and move on happily, no matter what the final decision was.  Plus, I didn’t have to play Monday Morning Quarterback and point out all the things that could’ve gone differently if we had done it my way.  All that went away when I knew that it was God I was trusting, and that He was empowering those in leadership over me.  That’s a lot of peace replacing a lot of discord.

Soon it was not hard to see all the places that I could apply this in addition to my marriage.  I concentrated next on my relationship with my boss.  It wasn’t long before she noticed the difference and commented on it.  I learned that submission is not so much an action as it is an attitude:

  • Respecting your leaders because you trust God
  • Praying for and cooperating with God’s purposes to be accomplished through their leadership
  • Acting as an advisor when the opportunity arises
  • Following their instruction as far as I can in things that are not in conflict with God’s commands

The story of Aaron and Miriam questioning Moses’ leadership in Numbers 12 and the confirmation of Aaron as God’s appointed leader in Numbers 17 were good studies to help me understand the seriousness of my attitude in this area.  But what really convinced me was how much simpler life became and the peace and contentment I felt without the interruption of conflict.  Now I can disagree and submit the issue to God to work out His purposes in His way.

It came full circle, when I found that with my new attitude and habits, it became much easier to obey God without arguing or debating.  That was really the point all along — the way I submit to my leaders on earth is the way I submit to God.

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