Tuesday, January 19, 2016
What's Bad About Submission?
We submit to a lot of things in this life. We submit to Doctors because there is a chance that they can heal what ails us. We don’t question their intentions and although we may not like their treatments, we willingly submit to them in order to gain health. We may not enjoy the treatments but yet we endure them. We submit to the ruling laws of our society because they keep us safe. We don’t speed in school zones, we pay our taxes, we treat other’s property with respect because the laws tell us that we must, but in the end we are the ones who benefit from it in that our children are safe, there are benefits that we enjoy as Americans that others in the world only dream of, and we have resources for living that exist nowhere in the world in such abundance.
There is something much worse than cancer can ever be that plagues every single human being on earth. That thing is sin. Yet most are reluctant to submit to the one who can deliver them from sin and all of its consequences either because they don’t realize that the things that are plaguing them in life are a symptom of sin or they perceive His treatment as too harsh. We are willing to do whatever it takes to rid of bodies of cancer but unwilling to endure that much to rid ourselves of sin. Cancer is at the very worst temporary. When we die, it dies. Sin remains and is eternal. It would just make sense to want to rid yourself of it.
So we see that submission in itself is not a bad word or concept. There are many benefits that it provides. In fact many of the freedoms that we live in come as a result of submission to the boundaries that submission establishes.
But you ask, how can submission and freedom be bed fellows? Even freedom at it’s highest level has boundaries because without them eventually unrestrained freedom will lead to bondage. Consider the alcoholic. He was free to buy and consume alcohol. But because there was no restraint in his freedom to do this, he becomes a slave to it and enters into a bondage that he cannot escape. This is the devils way. He tells us that the restrictions of God’s Word are burdensome, overbearing, and destructive to our happiness. He tells us that they bind us in the prison of the mundane, that they will keep us from experiencing all that life has to offer. Wasn’t that his lie to Eve in the garden? He asked her “has God said?” and then convinced her that God was withholding freedoms from her that she should have. The decision that she and Adam made has adversely affected the whole of the human race since that time and will continue until sin has been obliterated from the earth.
Now we’ve discussed things that we submit to because it benefits us. That is willing submission, but not pleasant submission. But we also submit to many things because it is pleasant to submit.
When we meet that one special person we willingly submit to some boundaries in that relationship. For instance, I don’t flirt with men. I don’t flaunt my bodily features in front of them to gain attention. I don’t deny that person my time, my attention or my affection, no, in fact, I’m willing to sacrifice all those things for them. But as many have learned, pleasant submission is not always beneficial to us. Some relationships go sour and one or both parties suffer because we are human and flawed by that thing called sin which leads to self-worship and self-preservation and every other “self-” that there is. We can find ourselves trapped in relationships that are not good, or maybe not even safe for us any longer.
In light of all of this I have to ask myself, what’s so bad about submitting to the one who can truly set you free? Why not willingly submit to the one whose submission will provide pleasure and complete freedom in all things? This is hard to fathom because we have only experienced these things within the confines of human experience. God is perfect. His love is perfect. His plans for us are only for our good, joy, completion and freedom. He already is and has all these things for Himself and His only goal is to get them to us. But we see his treatments and solutions as too harsh or restrictive because we can only view them from our own human experience. Because our minds have been poisoned with that same question that God asked Eve “has God said?”, we miss out on the fullness that Adam and Eve experienced before the fall! We are no different than they were. The same capacities and capabilities that resided in them reside in us. We were hardwired this way at creation. And once the curse of sin is removed, we can once again live in the same communion with God that they did. In fact, our communion with God through the Holy Spirit is better than what they had. It is part of the better covenant. If that’s not freedom then there is no definition for it. Just as we are willing to submit to some initial discomfort to receive physical healing and health, does it not make sense to submit to some initial emotional and spiritual discomfort to obtain the same in all of our life?
God has promised that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. He has told us that His commands are not burdensome.
A sled dog’s greatest desire is to be picked to be part of the sled team. When he is tied to the sled and the other dogs, he is with his master, obeying his every command. It is his greatest joy to please his master. He does not find the yoke hard or his master’s commands burdensome. In fact, he finds it quite exhilarating. When the master emerges from the house and starts to prepare the gear for the sled, the dogs go nuts in anticipation and excitement. Each one hoping that they will be part of the team that gets to slide into the yoke.
There will always be laws and rules and restrictions. Even nature itself sets boundaries for mankind that we must observe and obey or our very lives will be lost.
So I ask you today, what is so bad about submitting to the one who can truly provide you everything that you search for in life? The one who can truly set you free!