I am His adopted daughter through Christ and I cannot tell you how much that truly means to me. To know that I have Him to count on above all human unreliability.
He knows me and loves me. He knows exactly how to draw me to Him and how to get my attention when I need to realign my attitude or behavior. He knows I respond to His gentle guidance and understanding but firm and direct expectations. He's been hitting me up hard lately on the issues of materialism and modesty. My lifestyle is not reflecting my moral standards and I am striving to learn and grow as a Christian woman by changing my attitude toward these two issues.
However, I wish to discuss today another area of conviction in my heart; submission. I have always struggled with the act of submitting to authority figures that are human. At some point in my childhood I discovered that my parents were not perfect or heroes. They were simply human beings trying to work, pay the bills, and raise their family. They made mistakes like everyone else. I don't blame them for being imperfect. However, submitting to humans that so obviously make mistakes has been a sore spot for me. When I reason within my mind that they are wrong I feel I should have a right to do what I deem right or acceptable. This attitude got me into a lot of trouble as a kid. I'd have been described as a rebellious child. However, I didn't sneak out at night, or do anything all that awful. I never drank or smoked. I didn't scream at my parents and tell them that I "hated them" as so often is seen in movies of rebellious teens. It was more of an attitude than anything. I've been "thinking for myself" since a rather young age. I suppose that I began thinking of myself as the person in charge and after that there wasn't room for anyone else to tell me what to do without me putting up a fight.
Fast forward to me at eighteen and I married my husband. I traded a father for a husband. A new authority figure. Of course, I considered my husband to be, for the most part, close to perfect. I had "stars in my eyes." Well, we hit the "wall of reality" pretty much on our honeymoon and real life set in. Real life isn't romantic or starry eyed or even fun sometimes. I would describe my reaction to authority as a puffer fish or a porcupine bristling at the sign of attack. Its as if I have to bring on some form of defense when I suspect I am being taken advantage of. I can't say for sure why this happens or where it originated. I know for a fact its wrong. I even feel the nudging of the Spirit to change my ways.
You might ask how I know its wrong. How come I can't have a say on some issues in my own life? How come I need submit to an imperfect authority figure especially when they ask me to do something blatantly unfair? Well, I have struggled with these questions for years. I KNOW the answer but I still haven't quite been able to attain that Christ-like attitude.
Here is a run down of what God says through the scripture:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5: 22-24
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
So the Bible is quite clear about our needing to submit to authority. And, what should we consider when we feel authority is unfair or wrong?
Well, in this particular issue, I am not going to delve into authority in the form of our government. For that would be another whole article to be sure! But, in regard to authority figures such as a pastor, or a parent, or a husband, we should have this attitude:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
I know and am striving to serve God by submitting to authority. Its not the validity of my husband or the superiority of his ability to lead that I submit to him but the perfection of God and His command that I submit. Its a shift of perspective from the horizontal to the vertical.
I feel that it is appropriate to mention that there is controversy over the issues of God's conviction on your heart about Biblical expectations concerning Christ followers and one's personal conviction. A conviction comes from the Holy Spirit and can be personal for you or can be His way of reveiling sin in your life. An example of a personal conviction is that He may request one person to serve Him in the oversees mission field while another person may be convicted to serve Christ as a counselor or teacher. These sort of convictions are quite personal. However, He may convict you to do something He has commanded all Christians to do such as behave and dress modestly or to share the Gospel. In this case you are being convicted of sin in your life. When you go about sharing a conviction sometimes people reprimand you for suggesting that other's do what you have been convicted of. Now, if you are going to assume that all Christians should go to the overseas mission field because God called you to do so then you are the one confused. But, if you are sharing a conviction about a Biblical commandment then they are confusing personal convictions with a conviction for you to obey an universal expectation. The Bible is FULL of absolute expectations. Just because you do not feel a conviction does not mean you are not expected to do what is right. Examine your heart to make sure it is completely open to expelling evil from your life. Don't fall for the lie that you can do what you wish for because we live in the age of grace:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? ... Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. ... For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From Romans 6
My struggle is on-going in the act of purposing to do the right thing when it is so in my nature to put up a defense. I am praying to God each day to help me. I have to work with Him because He won't simply change my attitude without my putting in effort by having a willing heart. Also, I cannot change without His help.
I welcome you to share a struggle you have had and have overcome it or if you are still in the battle to overcome it. Sharing our struggles is how we can learn by example and have accountability with each other.
Struggling each interaction at a time to submit to God's
appointed authority in my life with a humble attitude,