Our theme for the year is “Best Choices.” Not just good choices, but best choices. If we are pursuing God and committed to following Him that will lead us to good choices and to “Best Choices”. Every week I remind all of us that we are, for the most part, the sum of our choices.
This week’s spiritual discipline is “Submission”. Now before all you ladies get your dander up let me assure you that I am not focusing this message on you and your submission to your husband, although (don’t throw rocks at me!) that is a small part of spiritual submission.
Keeping with our boxing illustration, a boxer is submitted to multiple people is his pursuit of a championship. We have talked before about him being submitted to his coach or trainer. Each state has a boxing commission where he needs to be licensed to fight. He is submitted to the referee during his fights. He has to live a submitted life to be a champion.
There is a New Testament Greek word for submission and it is “HUPOTASSO”. It means to voluntarily place yourself under another. It means to properly place yourself under God’s arrangement. Another word for it would be “Lordship”.
When I came to Christ I declared Jesus as LORD and Savior. Often times we accept Him as Savior but neglect the Lordship part. Declaring Jesus as Lord means I will go where He wants me to go, do what He wants me to do and say what He wants me to say! That is Lordship! I have HUPOTASSOED my life! I have voluntarily placed myself under His authority. He is Lord of my life.
By submitting myself to Jesus Lordship, places me also under the authority of other authorities in my life. I am submitted to my wife, yes I am submitted to my wife! I know the Bible says “Wives submit”. It also says submit to one another. Jesus has placed me as the head of my family but that does not make me a dictator and ruler who dominates my family. By submitting one another I am committed to operate in loving Biblical leadership in my home and Biblical leadership is a foot washer, a servant. I am also submitted to a board of directors for our organization, I am submitted to our local and national government. I will share later from Romans 10 which tells me to obey the laws of the land and pay taxes. And I must do that as long as those laws do not violate God’s Word.
How about you? If you declare yourself a Christian, then that means Jesus is Lord. You should be submitted to all the things I mentioned above. Will you go where Jesus tells you to go? Will you do what Jesus tells you to do? Will you say what He wants you to say? That is submission to his Lordship.
Let’s go to the Old Testament 1 Samuel 24 to see David before he was king and how he was submitted first to God and because of that submission also submitted to a King who was looking to kill him!
To set this up let me tell you that at the point of this story David was prophesied to be the next king of Israel. He had already defeated Goliath. He was serving in King Saul’s palace when Saul became jealous of David. King Saul had failed in his submission to God. In first Samuel 13 Saul and his army were in a battle and hiding in caves. They wanted to make a sacrifice and offering to God to gain His favor. Only the priest was allowed to do that so they were waiting on Samuel who was a priest and prophet. Saul got impatient and he offered the sacrifice. Submission means to do God’s things, God’s way! Samuel shows up and is totally upset with Saul and declares that Saul’s kingship was about to come to an end and God had someone new to be the king, David. Saul is never the same and becomes jealous of David and actually throws a spear at David to kill him. David flees and begins a life as a fugitive as Saul pursues to kill him. Let’s pick up the story here.
The first principle we learn from this story is that you must respect the office or leadership position of a person whether or not you respect the person.
“But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.” VS 5 David knew that by placing himself in submission to God placed him in submission to King Saul. David submitted himself to God to the point where it could cost his life yet he was voluntarily willing to do that. Bosses, government officials, and even parents are sometimes acting in ways that make us want to lost respect for them. That is when we must respect their position and trust that God has placed them over us. Most of the time we are there to learn something about ourselves.
The second thing we learn here is that you cannot be in authority until you learn how to submit to authority. I believe that both Saul and David learned something about David. Saul declares, “And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule.” Vs. 20 David passed the test and is now ready to be king.
We have to go to the New Testament in Romans 10: 1 – 7 to see our third and final principle. God has given authorities in your life to shape and protect you. We submit to governing authorities and laws until they violate the Word of God.
In Jeremiah 18 God talks about the Potter and the wheel. God used this object lesson to teach us about our submission to Him. The clay must stay moldable, pliable and certainly cannot jump off the wheel when life doesn’t feel good.
How submitted to God are you? If you are like me there is a still some rebel in there when I hear this message, yet I know it is truth and it is part of God’s plan for my life.
Although we do not have official membership at the church by coming here to church you have HUPOTASOED. You have voluntarily placed yourself under some basic things here like showing up on time. If you have kids, you manage your kids. You clean up after yourself etc. These are some basic ways that you are submitted to this local church when you attend.
Recently some conflicts and situations have brought us to a point to realize that we have stop assuming that everyone has fully entered into the full purpose and plan for the church. We realize and are establishing that there are different levels of involvement and submission to the plan God has for this local church. God uses growing pains to help us grow sometime. In saying all that we are recognizing and establishing three levels of involvement and here they are:
Attendees – Show Up You are welcome to just attend here. Beyond the basics mentioned above that is all we ask of you.
Discipleship – Grow Up Some of you have already taken the initiative to submit yourselves to discipleship here. We are going to get more purposeful to help you fulfill your desire to be discipled, but realize with each level of submission comes more responsibility and commitment.
Leaders – Step Up I was taught a long time ago that with more responsibility comes less freedom! As you step up in leadership not only will there be even a higher commitment level but there are going to be things in your life that God is going to start pointing out in your life that needs to be dealt with as you lead others.
I would ask that you pray and ask the Lord where you are with this? We respect wherever you are in this.
I believe God wants all of us as leaders somewhere in His work. You may not be ready for that here and that is fine. But imagine if everyone would find their place of gifting and expression and take the mantle of leadership. The world has been waiting for 2000 years, the age of the church, for this to happen. This is what it will take to fulfill the hope we have for better community, nation and world.