Monday, April 21, 2008

One Woman's Ponderings on Submission (inspired by some books I am reading)

So here is something to discuss.....what is authority and submission? :)

I submit to God because I love and trust Him. I try to do what He wants, not what I want, because I trust He knows what is best and He loves me and I want to please Him and live the life He has planned for me.

With Jason....I pray God will move his heart in the direction He wants and I don't usually have to deal with it :) But when we do disagree...i.e. homeschooling, I thought I should, Jason said "No way, we are not even going to discuss this" and I said "Are you sure?" And he said "It is not an option." So I thought, "Alrighty then, guess I don't need to worry about that!" and it has worked out perfectly :) We have always given each other the freedom to be who we really are and don't usually have unmet expectations of one another. I love who he is, flaws and all and he seems to do the same for me. We are a team most of the time and both enjoy helping each other. We have different strengths and weaknesses and cover each other in those areas. If we disagree, sometimes we end up throwing things at each other and sometimes we calmly talk about it. If we are making a decision, he gets the final say after I have shared my view with him. He knows me better than anyone else does, except maybe my sister, and that is my favorite thing about our relationship. I share all that I am with him and he accepts it.

I have authority in ministry and as a mother and it is much harder to not abuse my authority as a mother. Because I am bigger than them and they need me a lot more. And it is much more constant and demanding. I have so many opportunities to either love them, or cause them pain.

In grown up land, we submit because we chose to, not because we have to. I don't have to submit to the Pastors, I could go to a different church or not at all. I submit to them because I love them and have learned to trust them. To trust that they are following God and seeking Him and want what is best for His people. (I should have trusted them to start with, but that was something I had to learn.) I want to be with them, so I submit to them. I will still ask them questions if I don't understand something though. To me, that is relationship, not rebellion.

People under me in ministry love me (hopefully)and may look up to me (very scary) and need my love to encourage them and help them be all that God has planned for them to be. So, I think of authority as responsibility to love. Not even to lead, (because that makes me focus on myself too much) but just to love and consider their needs before my own. And to provide what I can and protect them from harm. I wonder what most people think it is??? I really don't know....

And submitting is choosing to love too. To follow even when we aren't sure if it will turn out the way we want. As long as we are not sure they are wrong. If I am sure someone is wrong, I will not submit to their unrighteousness. I still need to love them and respect them but I do not believe I should submit to something that goes against God's Word, or His character, revealed to us by His Word. If my husband were to want me to do something I believe is wrong, I would not. Even if it is just us being selfish or uncaring about something. I would still love him and respect him if he did it, but I would not do it. And I believe he admires that about me.

Submission to God is easy to understand. He says it, I am supposed to do it. Period. Unless the Bible says something that some people say is absolute and some say is relative. Then I have to seek Him until He gives me the answer Himself. Submission to imperfect humans is more complicated. I get confused about the line between submitting and dishonesty. This is also where people tend to divide. I think if we submit but didn't want to and are resentful, that is not right, I find it dishonest. I also find it unloving (because of the resentment) which violates everything that Jesus taught.

From an authority standpoint, I would much rather be questioned and possibly saved from doing something wrong than just blindly followed, by my kids and people under me in ministry. I would also hate to have people resenting my authority instead of feeling loved and protected by it.

So the only way to submit (according to my convictions) is willingly or it doesn't count as righteousness. Self-righteousness, for sure, but is it righteous before God? And I don't believe we should ever choose man's authority over God's word.

So, what do you think??? :)

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple."
~Jesus (Luke 14:26)


michel saunders said...

It looks like we are both on a love kick:)I agree with you, everything we do for God should be willing! I think it is that whole thing of going by what measure of faith you have. We are maturing and growing (hopefully:)and thereby recognizing Gods will for us more and more and then responding to that. Anything else can fall under the self-righteous catagory. 2 Cor. 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight." Julene:)

Angie said...

We have Jesus to look to for the ultimate example of authority and submission. He had authority but never abused it and He was the ultimate servant as well. He also fully submitted to God's authority but He did ask Him if He could be spared some of the grief but ultimately would submit to the full will of God. He showed His authority through love, mercy, grace, service and at times discipline and approriate anger. True authority and submission both involve love and we can look to Corinthians for a definition of that type of Love. If someone is showing that kind of love, who wouldn't want to trust and follow them.

Tawny said...

Thanks for sharing with me! Christy Rich said "submission is not supposed to be a bad word" she is right. She also said it is us "yielding" to one another. Love yields. Love puts the other persons needs before it's own and trusts God. Ugg, I am going to have to try and remember that! :)

tanalyn said...

I'm enjoying reading your blog. I came here because I was looking for an educated opinion.

Please answer for me your opinion on women in a leadership role in the church. This is not for myself, but a question I struggle with at my local church. They are of the opinion the Bible clearly states women are not to teach men or be in authority over them in any capacity.

If God puts all people in positions of authority, why is acceptable for a women to be the prime minister (ie president) of a country such as in India, Argentina, Germany, Switzerland, etc. but not in a leadership role in a church? I truly don't understand if this is what God intended for the world and said or if this is an interpretation, taken out of context and another example of how we corruption and sin.

Thanks alot!

tawny said...

Hi Tanalyn,
Thank you so much for your comment. This is a hard question that you may get 100 different answers to. I would highly recommend Sarah Sumner's book "Men and Women in the Church". I personally think God designed men and women to be together in all levels and areas of life, including Church leadership. I also believe most of the time, a man should have the final authority. But that does not mean that women should not be a huge part of the process. I don't know if this helps you at all, but I would be happy to continue this conversation, if you would like to. :)