Saturday, June 02, 2007

Becoming a man: Submission

A while back a friend asked me to be part of a "coming of age" for his son. Each of the leadership of our chruch was asked to write on a topic that my firend saw as important to becoming a man... interestingly I was chosen to talk a bit on submission.

Here is the talk I gave.


Becoming a man: Submission


Becoming a man is not easy, nor can one become a man by just getting older. Many men struggle in their identity as a man all their lives… they question even what it means to be a man.

One of those struggles is submission. Especially as a teen, one will struggle with both wanting to show how grown up you are, and yet not wanting to actually grow up all the way.

I think of submission like in a wrestling match... Where one guy will try to get the other to submit to his will. They will twist each other and try to get themselves into the best position to get the advantage of the others weakness and exploit it… this is great for wrestling as a sport, but in life, often it does much harm to the other person.

If Jesus was a wrestler I think He would win all the time… yet I think He would let the other develop their strengths. He would teach and as one would submit to His teachings and learn the holds properly, and give respect to Jesus, he will find he has learned much about himself… and about his strengths and weaknesses.

God desires that you wrestle with Him not against Him… in that we are able to when necessary take someone to the mat… yet there is more.

To wrestle just to win for yourself, you can lose sight that you are also on a team and that often we can also forget that we need to respect the other person. To wrestle in anger, one may win, but will only gain a hollow victory not having respect for the other.

One must learn that the other person deserves to be treated as one better than ourselves… that to treat the other as a lesser diminishes us as a person. The Bible teaches that we are to submit to God and to each other… in love. Seeking the best for the other and knowing that God is only wanting to give his best to us.

Humility is a strength not a weakness… submission takes more strength and character than it does to not submit. Submission does not mean we stop thinking. It means that sometimes we respect those over us and do what they say even when we disagree, yet if we can respectfully talk to them to see what they are thinking. It means working so that all win… in some way. It is about build up the people around you and that they are better because you served them. Jesus came to serve and submit to the Father and to learn obedience… That always gets me Jesus “learned” obedience and died for our sake so we can be uplifted as a person… not only that but made into a New Creation.

Below is a passage from a book called THE IMITATION OF CHRIST BY Thomas À Kempis. When I read it, it stuck a real chord in me as to this thing called submission.

The Ninth Chapter
Obedience and Subjection

“IT IS a very great thing to obey, to live under a superior and not to be one’s own master, for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. Many live in obedience more from necessity than from love. Such become discontented and dejected on the slightest pretext; they will never gain peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God.
Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority. Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many.
Everyone, it is true, wishes to do as he pleases and is attracted to those who agree with him. But if God be among us, we must at times give up our opinions for the blessings of peace.
Furthermore, who is so wise that he can have full knowledge of everything? Do not trust too much in your own opinions, but be willing to listen to those of others. If, though your own be good, you accept another’s opinion for love of God, you will gain much more merit; for I have often heard that it is safer to listen to advice and take it than to give it. It may happen, too, that while one’s own opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign of pride and obstinacy.”

Scripture teaches submission as a sign of love. Ephesians 5: 21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

So as one man to another, I pray for you to learn the strength that comes from submission.