Not the Same!

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Not the Same! For many years Christians have confused two words. We think these two words are the same – synonymous: submission and obedience. They are not synonymous at all. Let me explain.

Let’s take a look at them from a Biblical point of view. Submission is an attitude, or position, of the heart. It is a decision that involves every part of a person. Nothing is left out. When one chooses (and it is always a matter of freedom) to live in the heart attitude of submission, nothing is outside of that decision. That decision remains regardless of circumstances, pressure, or people. It is a heart attitude that chooses to prefer another’s will over one’s own. It is a part of the understanding of living in the covenant of love in Jesus, living in the covenant of marriage with one’s mate (regardless of gender), and a by-product of understanding authority in the Kingdom of God. Submission cannot be forced but must be gifted through one’s own will.

Obedience, on the other hand, is merely that. It is sometimes a choice, but sometimes it is not. Obedience can be forced and manipulated. Those who choose not to obey the laws of the land will discover circumstances not favorable to their freedom. Within the covenant in Jesus, obedience is requested and in it flow the power and blessings of our inheritance as sons of God. Without it, love and blessings remain but may not be seen in the circumstances. Obedience is an act of the will, but there are many who obey but hate its very action. That’s rebellion.

As a young married woman, I remember making the comment that I would obey (the men in our church, who were in leadership), but I did not like it, nor agree with whatever it happened to be. My phrase went something like this, “I will submit to this, but I do not think it is good nor right.” Age might say it differently, but the effect would be the same. Boy did I have things mixed up! That was pure rebellion. I apparently had a lot to learn about His love.

Like everything in this relationship in Jesus, it is Him wooing us into His love expression. He does, indeed require obedience, but He wants it through submission. That is a much harder thing to bring about in all of us. When we begin to relax in His embrace and love, then submission to Him and to others becomes an expression of our love for Him. It is a small thing to do, but it requires a substantial heart experience to enable. Submission is not obedience with grumbling, anger, or resentment but instead, that is rebellion, even though we do what has been requested.

Now that we see the difference, it is up to us to choose the time in His love and experience His gentleness and mercy to allow Him to woo us into His heart of submission. This is real freedom, for love responds to love and does what love does. Obedience then flows from the heart – not just from “have-to.”

I am still learning this over and over and over again as I age. The battle in most of us is strong regarding our will and His love. However, He wins – have you noticed? He wins! I am so thankful He does.

Authority – Video #1

It did it! I needed to let it have time, but it did it. This video is not on YouTube, so you won’t be able to find it there. Instead, I was able to change it to a form WP would receive.

The charts and the data from the last post is in this video. Video #2 will come this week. Stay tuned. If you haven’t subscribed – please do so. That will help you know when one is posted as a notice will be sent to your email.

Blessing you today – always!

Servants or Bullies?

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“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:1

The last post left us all hanging a bit only because to deal with how we live our lives in Christ within the home is a massive topic. The Holy Spirit in Colossians is giving a simple summary view of matters that are dealt with in other places much more thoroughly. (See Ephesians 5:22-32). This post is not going to attempt to work with that in detail. Instead, I believe the Lord desires us to examine the pattern in our God which gives us the Spirit and the heart to move into those topics with an understanding that will bless us and not injure our hearts.

Whatever we have in covenantal relationships here on planet Earth, originates in the heart of our Father. He is the origin of all. If we are to move into some sort of Biblical understanding, we must not look to tradition or customs, either of the present or the past, and allow the Spirit of God to teach us what He had in mind when He wrote these words for husbands and wives.

As we look at the original pattern of authority and leadership in our God, we see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a cooperative fusion. The illustration at the top left gives us a visual idea of how that works in love, care, assistance, and harmony. Each one assisting, loving, caring and helping accomplish what is in the heart of the Father. None is more important to the total than the other. If we observe a human cell, we find it is made of three parts. If one part is killed, the entire cell dies. The same is true of us as human beings. If one part, body, soul, spirit, dies – the whole human dies. We are made in His image. Our nature was designed to work together as one to facilitate life. So it is in the original being. The different elements have various functions, but they are One.

There is not really what we call “rank” among them – due to the ultimate “one” that existsScreen Shot 2018-06-29 at 11.43.16 AM in Him. However, there is, according to His Word, an “Authority Flow,” as seen in the illustration on the right. The Father’s will is ultimate, sent to the Son, enabled in us through the Holy Spirit. So the “One” continues to flow in cooperative fusion to complete all that has been decided upon before the foundations of the Earth. This authority enables and empowers all to occur. Without this authority, we would be mere human beings trying to do out best in such a fallen world. Because of this flow, we as “born from above” people receive all we need to be and to do according to the will of Him who loves us supremely.

Within the church and within the home this understanding of authority helps us work together in that fusion of love and assistance that brings peace and power within our doors.

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However, the understanding needs one more illustration from the life of our Lord Jesus Christ to fully live within the fusion of us and the Holy Spirit in any and all situations. The drawing on the left will help I think. (Forgive my computer drawing of us as stick figures – best I can do). When the apostles were competitive about who would turn out to be the greatest, the Lord settled it all by with telling us that the least would be the greatest, and we must become like small children, etc. He was describing a leadership role that is foreign to our world. In this drawing, you will notice that it is an inverted triangle. Jesus is the one on the bottom. In reality, He is our all in all, the one who feeds us, heals us, prays for us, intercedes for us, etc. Our lives flow from Him. The triangle represents the church/home. The ones who are leading actually “go down” on the triangle, for they are its servants. Jesus, the Servant of all, is continuing His work among us. As each one joins Him in that work, designated leadership, or individual influence – either one, we become servants of others who are in our spheres.

This is the leadership model Jesus gave us. When we see the authority emanating from Him through us to others, then we begin to be and do according to the words of our Lord Jesus. He continues to be our Lord, and He continues to be our servant – enabling our life at every turn and increasing our power, ability, and influence as we move into placement – below others. There is never a time for “lording it over” and “controlling.” It is a servant leadership of willingness. When this is understood, the husband being the authority in the home isn’t a problem – unless that husband expects to legalistically “bully” those who are to receive his care.

So back to our verse, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” When we understand how our God works – cooperative fusion – then we can love one another in truth and not be competitive, nor bullies as we try to order our homes and our church fellowships.

These words are only a small drop in the bucket compared with the massive topics of Biblical Authority. However, a blog is a blog and not a thesis. So I leave this with you, for your prayerful consideration.

 

 

The Way of Submission

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18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:18-21 NIV

The passage continues to include slaves and masters. At the time of Paul’s writing of this book, those were also included in the management of a home. I am choosing to work with slaves and masters separately, as in our culture these will fall into an “employment” understanding.

These verses are critical as we seek to know the ways and thoughts of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of these verses has volumes of understanding that I believe the Lord wants us to receive. However, one blog post can only suggest a few things and then leave the Lord to fill in all the questions and blanks. No one gets this right easily or naturally. We all live in measures of it and as more and more is handled in our prayer closet with the Holy Spirit – then we can release more and more of the Lord’s goodness through this.

Submission is an attitude of heart that is learned in Jesus, and it is a gift that we choose to give away. No one can demand it – it can only be freely given. It is voluntarily choosing the will of another. We see this in the total life of Jesus Christ as He walked this earth. Every action, every teaching, was only what the Father showed Him or said. He did nothing on His own, but always under the authority of His Father. The prayer in Gethsemane was only one of many that brought Him into the arms of the Father. He was well practiced in this action, “Not my will but yours be done.”

So we see obedience proceeding from submission. However, they are two separate things. Obedience is merely doing the will of another. Christ’s obedience was empowered by His heart attitude. That will happen in a covenantal relationship. However, when we confuse obedience with submission, it gets really messy. We can be forced or manipulated, to do what another wants us to do – that is never the action of submission – but instead, it is abuse. It is hoped that true obedience will produce obedience, but they are not the same things.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Please understand this does not say “woman submit yourselves to man” statement. Nowhere in the Word do we ever find that last statement! Paul is dealing within a covenantal understanding for a marriage where it is a covenant between three entities: man, woman, the Lord. So, the Lord has every right to arrange it as He wishes. This only applies within the covenant of marriage! Learning His ways – that is what Paul is talking about.

Authority is to be understood in Christ. Our Lord Jesus always lived in submission to the will and life of His Father. If we do not recognize His ways and authority then His delegated authority to the husband, wife, church, church leadership, state, …then understanding and learning submission in the home is not likely. If abuse or mistreatment, of any kind, enter the situation, then there can be no submission from anyone, because the primary submission to Christ has been eliminated. Only as the covenant partners are walking in submission to the Lord can this verse began to work.

As we learn to submit (GK: to place oneself under+) to our Lord Jesus Christ in all things, then we embrace His attitude of heart. We learn the joy and the freedom of allowing the Lord to be in charge and in control of our lives. We learn to obediently listen and make adjustments in ourselves that work for the love relationship between us. He takes care of us, and we do His will through our bodies. So it is in every area of submission.

We learn to “come under” our husband’s wisdom and his wishes, as we choose to love and to respect him, as the scripture teaches. It is not easy – for we can think we are submitting to Christ when we are really doing our own will. Likewise, we can fight our husband’s will so hard that we never have any peace in the home. We are called to love and to peace. The only way that can happen is for both of us to submit to the Lord, then to one another in the Lord (Ephesians 5:20-21), then the love-covenant has an opportunity to present a way of life for the woman that is lifegiving, supportive, and productive in a covenant before the Lord. This attitude of heart is necessary for love to thrive. If only one partner is in the Lord, or just one partner working together in the Lord – these verses will not be profitable.

This passage was not given in the Word to produce chains and bondage. Not at all! It was expressed to produce well-being and peace. If we see it any differently, then it probably isn’t Biblical submission we are emulating.

Ladies, take this to heart and allow the Lord to teach you Himself. As we learn His ways, then we can become the wives we have been intended to be.

May I suggest that after reading the next post regarding the role of the husband in the covenant, this post should be re-read and placed alongside. One without the other is of small value. Together, I pray they can impact us profoundly.

 

Whatever You Do

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17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 NIV

“I5am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV

Several other verses come to mind as we look at this passage in Colossians. I have listed one of them. Others have to do with us being the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3 & 6) and being one in Jesus (John 17:20-26). The marvelous truth of our being one with Him empowers our doing. There is just nothing we can do that He does not do with us. He not only is our strength and our Spirit (John 6:17), His abiding in us means that whatever we choose to do, He does it with us.

Since we cannot do anything without Him (a truth that is marvelous on the one hand and terrifying on the other) we need to be very conscious of His presence in every moment. Whatever we do, we might as well have the name of Jesus on it, because that is the way it will turn out anyway. If we eat, it is in the name of Jesus. If we sleep, it is in the name of Jesus. Therefore, making it a conscious dwelling empowers much.

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 NIV

In our minds, and often in our lives, we like to compartmentalize things. We see Jesus stuff as church-related or praying, Bible reading related but not really about our everyday moments and actions. The Holy Spirit wants our attention drawn to the truth of our existence. When we accept Christ, He comes inside and does not leave us. The magnitude of that is enormous. As we live in Him and have our very being in Him, it is wise for us to remember Him at every turn and in every moment.

Our Lord Jesus is not an “add-on” to an already going life. He becomes that life and lives life with us, in us, and according to our choices and actions. This is an understanding that will change our lives from being a “part-time Christian,” into a “living-inside-of-Him Christian.”

Such movement is vital to us being empowered to do the work of the Kingdom of God that we have been given. We can no longer just read things that make us feel good and get us through the day. We must grow into those who are well acquainted with this word of righteousness (Hebrews 5:13) and able to move the Kingdom from Heaven to Earth (Matthew 6:10) in the moments of our lives. Such empowering is ours.

Lord, thank You for loving, empowering, and trusting us with Your life here. May we read, recall, consume and live Your Word, Your breath, and Your will. Thank you for the strength and the will to work such a wonder in this world. We receive the commission, Lord, to do in You!

 

 

 

What If?

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 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16 LEB

[There is a note about the LEB Bible at the end of this post. Please check out their site if you are curious. I have used it here simply because it was the only English translation I found that matched the Greek texts that I studied].

When I was a much younger person, I thought this verse applied to what happened during the “song service” when we went to church. Now before we go further, please understand the passage also applies to that time together. However, that is not its primary focus.

The Apostle Paul is explaining the Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Spirit-centered lifestyle of the believer in Jesus Christ. This is what is to be done when we are together – where ever we might be. This is how we are to relate to one another. The word used for “Word” here is simply “logos” which is the overall word of God – however, it comes to us. Jesus is known as the “Logos” in John 1:1. There is a word in Greek that means “the spoken word,” but it is not used here.

To “let the word of God” do something in us or for us, we must allow it to be done. In this case, the Word has been given to us to be primarily not in some form, such as written or spoken, but it is intended to be alive in us as a direct response to be being written on our hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10-12. It is to dwell (exist) richly or abundantly in every fiber of our being. By our allowing this to be true, it will be in our thoughts every waking moment and will permeate everything in our lives.

Oh yes, we have jobs and we have appointments and we have hopes, and we have dreams, and we have obligations and we have…, you get the inference! But what if? What if we began to allow His word, wisdom, and spirit to take over there (where ever and whatever “there” is) and allowed Him to make us super smart in His wisdom? I just wonder if we choose to allow this total immersion in the Word – what would really happen?

What if? Since we are His and He is ours. what if?

Lexham English Bible (LEB) 2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software