Submission Before the Cross

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“…he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Phil 2:8

The cross life is for all of us but it also presents us with one of the Lord’s most challenging teachings. His most radical social teaching was that the leader of others would be subordinate to them, he or she must be the servant of all. The cross life consists of your free acceptance of this servant role.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Eph 5:21

We all, at various points in our lives, expect others to subordinate themselves to us and when they don’t do so, we’re offended and even, disrespected. Our difficulty in submission is rooted in this expectation. To consistently and regularly submit to others is not a natural desire, it runs contrary to our self’s desire to gain our own way. Practicing the discipline of submission helps us transition into the cross life and trains our self to put the needs and desires of others in a superior position to our own.

To begin practicing the discipline of submission in the Spirit of Christ, that is to begin the cross life he has ordained for you, requires the first step of submitting to God. You must return to the Cross daily, whispering a prayer that yields body, mind, and soul to God’s purposes before your own. Thomas a’ Kempis left us a morning prayer to be utilized upon awakening; “As thou wilt; what thou wilt; when thou wilt.” This consistent first act of submission builds the strength in our knees to submit to others in a similar fashion. A similar prayer before the long darkness of night reminds the soul in subconsciousness to focus on subordination rather than swimming in dreams of dominance.

Remember that we practice the spiritual disciplines as a means to an end. In themselves they are nothing but soul strengthening exercises. In the case of submission, we seek a new orientation to world that will hopefully be emulated by those that surround us. Our guide in these exercises are the Scriptures. We submit to them. We submit to hearing the Word, to receiving the Word and obeying it. In this way our submission does not become a way to draw attention to ourselves. It becomes a demonstration of the truths of the Bible to a world desperately in need of such truths.

Let’s bend a knee together this morning as the sun lights the sky…

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