Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Loving, Serving, Submission

Christine V. Corrigan

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another.” ~Thomas Merton

Submission. I often hear preachers teach submission in the context of a marriage where a wife is to “submit [herself] to her husband in everything” (Philippians 5:24) while her husband is commanded “to love [his] wife…as Christ loved the Church” (Philippians 5:25). I don’t think that the kind of submission that is often preached goes along with God’s real definition of what it means to submit. I think submission is more that just yielding to your husband’s every request and wishes.In his book “Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth,” Richard Foster defines submission as “the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way.” I don't know about you, but often, it's very hard for me to lay down my wants and needs and not have the last say especially in my own home. I know it's my flesh wanting to control situations so that I get the outcome I'm expecting. But I believe that the kind of submission that Jesus meant when he says that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24) lies in the daily mundane. It is when we cook for our family, do the laundry, clean up the mess, change a diaper, and mop the floors that we submit, in love, putting aside our need to get our own way and fully experience the love that Christ intends for us to have for others. It is no longer about ourselves but it is to the interest of others.

One of the passages in the Bible that really speaks to my heart is Philippians 2:1-8 (MSG).

1-4 If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Wow! Jesus commanded us to put ourselves aside so that others can get ahead—that is true submission. Loving is not just a feeling that we feel towards one another but it is through serving others that love manifest itself. I challenge you this week to ask someone this question: “How may I serve you?” My prayer is that you will find contentment when you have truly experience the kind of submission that Jesus preached about.

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