Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Act of Lowering

Submission:  The act of being submissive, humble, or compliant; the act of submitting to the authority or control of another.  Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin submissio/submittere, the act of lowering.

One of the ugly little not-so-secret secrets of my life is that I have a terrible time with submission.  I have problems submitting to authority of any kind - especially if I think the idea/thought/request is ridiculous or a waste of time.  But topping the list of my submission issues is my submission to God.

Frankly, I'm terrible at it.

Oh, I'm great at the things I want to be submissive about.  But as soon as we start to meander over into things that I think are foolish or silly - or worst of all, things I really want - the hackles on the back of my neck raise up and suddenly I become...."difficult".

Me, arguing with the God of the Universe.  Silly, isn't it.

The silliest thing about it is that submission to God is freedom, not control.  It's staying with the guardrails of living.  It's transferring the outcome of relationships, events, and even my life over to the authority of God.  "Do it my way"  says God throughout the Scripture, "and I take ultimate responsibility for the outcome - and the ultimate outcome is very, very good.  Do it your way - prepare to be responsible."

Why can't I get that?  Why do I constantly struggle with doing the thing that will bring ultimate joy?

Simple.  Look at the Latin root of submission:  the act of lowering.  When I submit, I make myself lower than something else.  In human terms in can be a government, a pastor, a business, a boss.  Ultimately, I make myself lower than God.

And to lower one's self is to lift something else above it.  Pride - that ever present sin, the one C.S. Lewis considered one of the greatest sins - bursts forth in a paean of self-praise.  You, it says, are equal to or better than all others.  You need to submit to no-one."

How do I learn to submit more? For myself, it's often as simple as looking at the outcome of what I have managed to accomplish on my own when I did it "my way".  Trust me, the track record is not that spectacular.  If we take on the responsibility of doing things our way instead of God's way, we take on the responsibility of the results in our life.

I have to ask myself this question:  "If I did X God's way instead of what I did, what were the possible outcomes?"  Yes, I know we can't fully know what might have happened, but I think we can safely extrapolate other things based on what did happen. 

It comes back to the question of pride:  will we lower ourselves before God? 

Because in the end everyone will lower to God - every knee will bend and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord.  It's when we decide to lower ourselves that has the eternal implications.

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