Tuesday, November 28, 2006


At Common Grounds Online, Meghan Gouldin writes about what true spirituality looks like. With the help of the late, great Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer, she decides "submission."
We have discussed what our response to the truth of the Christian faith should look like: our response is characterized by active submission and trust.

Active submission sounds like an oxymoron and submission of any kind sounds like punishment in 21st century western culture where submission is associated with weakness. However, when glimpsed through the Christian worldview, submission becomes more lovely and freeing than otherwise imaginable. We are creatures made in the image of the Creator with the ability and privilege to be in relationship with the one who created us for Himself, to love one another, to think, to live responsibly, and to act as stewards over the earth. No part of submission is passive for a creature with a will and his/her own desires.

Trust must accompany the active submission, knowing that in this world we must walk by faith and not by sight. I know in my case that some days the walk is more pleasing to Him than other days. But we are fortunate, for it is not on our own strength or psychological motivation that we must depend for this journey. Schaeffer writes:
"When God tells us to live as though we had died, gone to heaven, seen the truth there, and come back to this world, he is not asking us merely to act on some psychological motivation, but on what really is."

This is what is true. The reality is Christ came, Christ died, Christ rose, and he left the Holy Spirit to work as an agent of change among us and through us. Psychological motivation is neither deep enough nor sufficient enough for creatures in search of meaning in a messy and broken world.

This is my prayer and my praise this week: that as I rise each morning to greet 12+ hours at a demanding job, that I may know the truth, and the truth will set me free – free to listen and respond to Him with joyful obedience and trust.

Good stuff.
It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite descriptions of what it really means to "get saved." Scholar and writer N.T. Wright says salvation is about "embracing the yoke of God's sovereignty." The "yoke of God's sovereignty" connotes submission to God's control, while "embracing" indicates an active, willing, and even joyful acceptance of that control.


At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Dirk said...

I really enjoy when you study something one day and then in an unrelated circumstance it comes up again. I believe it's then you know the Holy Spirit is giving you a "heads up".

In The Jesus Creed (a book you turned me on to), Scot McKnight points to John 15 when writing about submission.

"4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

7"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

In this context, McKnight sees "abiding" as perhaps another way of looking at submission. If I am abiding in the Lord, I have him constantly on my mind (some call this constant prayer) and so submit to his leading.

Thanks for cementing this concept for me.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Jared said...

Well, it's just 'cause I'm so super spiritual. :-)

See ya Sunday, man!


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