Good morning my friends. Rejoice! Today is a new day. The past is gone, tomorrow is yet to arrive and we have only today. Today is too short to spend it in fear and worry, in anger or despair. Let us accept the love of Jesus and then with that love love one another. That would be a good use of this one day that we have.
The Word of God is not always an easy thing to accept. There are some great passages that lift us up but there are also some difficult passages we find hard to live. To "submit to each other" is not a very easy word of guidance to follow. In order to work it implies that there is a relationship of trust between everyone. A relationship of trust requires maturity and we know not everyone is mature in the Church. Yet, here we have this one simple line:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. v.21
There is a qualifier here that may make the directive easier to put into action. To submit to each other would require trust but this is not about that, instead it is about doing it out of reverence for Jesus. When we respond to Jesus' love for us with love, we desire to do anything to please him. This means that as we learn his will through the Word we gladly put it into action in our life. We submit, which means to allow someone's will to take priority over our own, because we love and trust Jesus.
I do not know about you but this seems to be one of my biggest tests to obeying Jesus. To submit to Jesus is not a difficult thing but to submit to another person is a hard thing for me. It is not difficult when I have come to know them and have learned to trust them but what about those I have not come to know and those that have not proven themselves? I think this may also speak to the condition of the Church, where we do not know each other as we ought because we do not allow people into our lives. We will worship with them and share little things with them but we will not let them become part of us. This lack of intimacy makes it hard to have a relationship where we can submit to each other. Yet, as much of a test as this is, it is important to do.
I see this one subject as being vital for the Church. How can we minister to each other if we are not submitted to each other? How can the Holy Spirit move with power if we are not willing to submit to the vessels? The Church is all about relationships; trusting, loving, ministering, helping, giving, providing, rejoicing, correcting, living together. We are warned to watch for the abusers and that is part of the role of the shepherds to recognize the wolves but we are not permitted to revoke intimacy because of the possibility of wolves. It is in intimacy that mercy and forgiveness readily flow. It is in intimacy that deep wounds are healed. This one directive, to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, reveals so much of what we are lacking.
We all want the Church to be the Acts church but there is a cost. These people spent all their time together. They considered that all they possessed belonged to everyone else. They became a strong community as they sacrificed for each other out of their love for Jesus. People were joining them everyday as they saw this genuine love for each other. There was unity because there was a willingness to surrender their will, to submit to each other. This was not just a submitting to what we consider to be leaders but a submission to each other. They had that sense that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12, the Body is one and everyone a member of it. This all came at a cost but this is a cost many of us are not willing to make. So we find this directive, to submit to one another, to be a foreign concept.
Once again this thought of submission comes down to our relationship with Jesus and our understanding of the Church. A lack of both makes this concept just a concept and not a reality in our lives. This means if we want it to change we cannot make the starting point submission. Instead the starting point must be our relationship with Jesus and a better vision of his Bride. Perhaps some day soon we will be able to obey the directive to "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ". When that day arrives I believe we will begin to see the Church in all her finery, her radiance and the glory of Jesus in her. At that time the whole earth will tremble.