There are words and concepts that are very difficult for us to grasp biblically because our cultural definitions are so ingrained within us. Here are a few words that quickly come to my mind that fall into this category: love, leadership and power. The “redefining” or biblical perspectives of these three words will be discovered by realizing that they are all played out to the fullest as Jesus gives up His life and dies on the cross.
If we read the Bible and truly consider the way God works we will be forced to come to grips with the fact that God does things in different ways than we do. He is able in every situation and always to work with perfect justice and love – at the same time! He has a righteous anger that consumes while extending an invitation to each of us to know His gracious tenderness. These apparent contradictions can make our heads spin but they are naturally and flawlessly played out in God’s rule in His Kingdom.
With this in mind God invites us to rethink the concepts of submission and surrender. Our text for this week’s Sunday morning message calls us to “Submit [surrender] to one another.” [Ephesians 5.21] My initial gut reaction to reading the previous phrase is – NO! I don’t want to give up my reign. We should do all we can to be in charge. In fact, it is very natural and even “hard-wired” into me to seek to establish and stay in control of myself and my world. The problem is that I am not very good at controlling my world if I am honest.
This week’s theme in our series is entitled ONE…Surrender. I chose this title to stress the point that the many facets and opportunities to surrender [submit] will flow from what happens when we surrender to the rule of Jesus. It is in following Jesus that we gain a new perspective and understanding that will bring freedom to our lives and joy to our hearts. This goes against the ways of the world but it is the standard operating procedure in God’s Kingdom.
On my own, I am fearful of surrender because it seems to mean - I lose.
The world’s processing of submission and surrender is to place myself in the hands of someone or something that doesn’t have my best interests in mind. It means to become the one used by others and I really would prefer to be the one doing the using – it is more comfortable and I like it more that way. But along comes Jesus and He submits or surrenders to the Cross. He chose to go there to lift us up – he sacrificed for our benefit. He wants us to live with that perspective in our lives as well.
Jesus calls us to trust Him to do this today. Take a chance and surrender. Take a chance and serve. Take a chance and humbly surrender to the King of the World. We don’t rule anyway, so why not trust the one who does?
Pastor Nick Mundis