Order In The Court
I was struck by this the last time new members were brought into my church. One of the commitments we make as new members is the commitment of submission to the authority of the church (and Church). It was really bothering me. I was feeling some pain and sadness because I see a great deal of disregard and disrespect to honor one another in our roles and positions and the role the church, which is God's design. We're told to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:22). In our personal relationships, as a church body (the body toward leadership / leadership towards the body), and marriages, we are being successfully attacked by the enemy by being out of order and not submitting to and honoring one another. Isn't it interesting that this passage about submission, among several others in Ephesians, are right in the middle of one of the most powerful messages in scripture on spiritual warfare?
Submission and honor for one another are fruit of God's love. The Gospel teaches us that our strength, joy, communion, peace, and fruitfulness are directly related to our willingness to receive God's love, believe who we are in Christ (our unique identities) and embrace our God given roles. When we own our relationship to Christ and our God-ordained roles we're in order - we can experience the fruit of the Spirit. When we don't we experience chaos, disorder and dysfunction. I believe God's desire for us is much more about our staying in His designed order and trusting Him than about making "the right decisions" while being out of order. This is, in part, the truth of Romans 8:28. Being called according to His purpose is embracing the pottery He made us to be, honoring and respecting the other pottery he has made, and staying in order. In His sovereignty He takes care of the rest and works all things for good.
We seem to relate to God's order and design for Kingdom living in the body and in relationships (conscious or not) as better-than, less-than, or in some way subservient. What's interesting is that we don't seem to see Jesus as less-than or subservient to God, yet in every way, all the time, and in every place He was in submission to God. He always stayed in order. Can you imagine the result if at any point Jesus got out of order!
Much of our sadness, depression, emptiness, hopelessness, frustration, broken relationships, etc., could be healed and redeemed and we could be living more abundantly (as in fruit of the Spirit) if we were to simply get in order and stay there. I'm not implying this is the spiritual silver bullet that fixes all our woes, but it is a significant principle of Kingdom living where we are weak and vulnerable, and the enemy is taking advantage of us.
I pray that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to receive God's love, give us desire and willingness to own and embrace Christ in us and our God-ordained roles and positions, and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ - for ourselves, one another, and for the sake of the Kingdom!
Peace in Christ,