Submission isn't a very attractive word in this generation. I believe a lot of the reason why is down to fear, painful experiences with past leadership, or lack of identity/worth in Christ. The Lord really wants us to understand the beauty in submission so that we can overcome this issue in our lives. Here are a few things we need to understand;
Our submission doesn't disregard our significance. Our significance is found solely in our identity in Christ (Col 3:3)
Somewhere along the line we have believed that our significance is found in the titles; CEO, Director, Founder, Minister etc. We are bombarded with images and ideas that say that the 'top dog' is the significant one. The one with financial wealth, the one with a platform and following, the one who is loved by the masses. We've also believed the lie that submitting to the service or leadership of another is to disregard the significance of the gifts, talents, vision and assignments entrusted to our care. But this simply is not the truth.
One of the things I've learned over the years is that serving and supporting a vision not given directly to you, is meant to be a season of training and character refinement. It's a season that carries a great purpose. We cannot go straight from the classroom to "CEO". We must first become apprentices. We must learn to serve so we can see how Abba would have us conduct ourselves as we learn to do His work His Way. This season doesn't invalidate us, it prepares us whilst advancing the mission we currently serve.
Then again, there are some of us who are not called to 'Found' or 'Direct' a business/organisation. If everyone is the bus driver, who are the passengers? If everyone is the boss, who are the employees? Nothing we see that exists as a business or organisation runs without the submission and teamwork of it's members. It's important that we truly seek the Lord on our place and position in the Body of Christ (Eph 4:16).
I'm learning to continually find my significance in these truths;
I am made in the image of God - Gen 1:26
I am loved and accepted in Christ - Eph 1:6, 3:17-19
I am redeemed, forgiven and made righteous by His blood - Eph 1:7, 2 Cor 5:21
I am called to fellowship with Him -1 Cor 1:9
I am His and He is mine - John 17:23
I am His masterpiece, created for good works - Eph 1:20
We may do great things for God on this side of eternity, but our greatest achievement will always be that we remained true to Him, our First Love. Be encouraged to find your significance, worth and value in Who and Whose you are.
Though our significance is not found in what we do, we will do significant things with God - and it's how we do it that makes the difference (Mark 1:11 | 1 Cor 3:13)
Sometimes we don't submit to God because we think our assignment isn't 'big/visible/important/fun' enough compared to so and so, or we submit to the will of God but not His way - and do the work without having Him/His heart.
We can choose to serve where God positions us with a bad attitude (compliance), or we can learn to serve in a way that affects lasting change and adds value because of our submission (obedience). We can start up a venture with self-serving motives, or we can submit to being transformed into the image of Christ so we can have an eternal impact on the lives we connect with.
It's only when we do what God asks, in the way He leads us to, with His heart will we see authentic and lasting fruit. If we simply 'do the work' by copying what we've seen or by our own logic and reasoning, or without His character we will miss out on that fruit that remains. More importantly, if we run ahead in our gifting and do the work, without making knowing Him a priority and foundation to our doing, we potentially put ourselves in the position to hear, "depart from me" (Matt 7:21-23).
We must remember that everything He assigns for us to do is for our good, and the good of those affected by those tasks. Everything He assigns us to do is necessary even if we can't see how. Our part matters. There's no part of your body that doesn't serve a purpose. There's no season of your life that doesn't work for your good if you submit to God. Don't allow comparison to cause you to submit to your flesh & emotions of jealousy, envy & inadequacy. If your heart is to please Him in all that you do, then you will do well.
Submission is about getting under Abba's mission (Luke 22:42 | John 17:4 | Col 3:23-24)
This means we submit regardless of the vessel who may have received or is directing the mission. The mission belongs to Abba, always. So wherever we find ourselves being called to serve - home, work, Church, other ministries, families or organisations, we know that we are serving as unto the Lord. His mission becomes our mission. His Will becomes ours, and we don't need to get the glory because our joy is to see Him glorified.
Honestly, submission takes maturity and humility. It means laying aside what you want to do what God wants. That's hard in general but sometimes even more so when you've been hurt by poor leadership and are struggling with trust, but we serve a God who heals us and uses every experience to mould and mature us into the image of Christ. Trust that if you are being led by the Holy Ghost then you can trust the Christ in the people he places around you for you to submit to. Look for His heart and His voice in their lives, remembering that we can all have a fleshy moment and make mistakes. Remember that we each have an individual responsibility to work out our own salvation, seeking the Lord's direction, confirmation and being in His Word so that we can grow in discernment.
A picture of beauty...
Submission doesn't seem like a beautiful thing to do, because it's painful. It's the crucifying of our flesh. Yet when we look to the image of Christ on the cross, as gruesome as it was physically, it was and is the ultimate picture of beauty because it's the ultimate picture of Love. That's what submission is - (to walk in) Love. Let close with this scripture in mind;
"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." - John15:13-14
Prayer: Father help us to lay down our lives in submission that Your will may be done, Your way. Give us the power to give You a consistent 'yes', make our hearts willing. Where there is pain and mistrust, bring healing, hope and courage. Remind us of who we are in You, and let us come to see the beauty in a life surrendered to You, in all things. Amen.
Praying you have been encouraged along your journey - Nicole X