Tell me what do to? YES PLEASE!

I confess.  I just don’t like to be told what to do.  I prefer talking through things and finding the best way, trying to arrive at conclusions that make sense to all involved.  I just don’t like to be told what to do.

Maybe you’re the same.  You don’t like your boss, your co-worker, someone in your family, or even a friend telling you what to do.  Some of this is personality, but let me speak today to something that can be at the root of this:

As Christians, we should WANT to be told what to do.

Submission is a dirty little word in our society, but it’s at the core of who we are as Christians.  A few examples.

1.  As believers, we submit our will to Christ’s commands.  Those commands are found in Scripture.

Jesus taught his disciples that the ones who loved Him would be the ones who obey His commands.  That doesn’t mean I can pick and choose which commands I do and don’t want to follow.  What that means is that when I commit to Christ, I repent and I submit my ways to His ways.  I don’t always get what I want, I don’t always take the easiest road, I don’t always have all the answers or know exactly what to do.

As a believer, I submit to Jesus.  At its core, it simply means I’m not in control anymore.  And for anyone who believes, there MUST be a sense of giving up on ourselves.

This will test your view of Scripture.  Is Scripture all authoritative in your life or is it only to be used when it’s convenient?

2.  As believers, we give others authority in our lives.

From the earliest days of the Christian church, leaders emerged.  There were apostles, then pastors and teachers, and elders and deacons as well.  The goal of having leadership is not to blindly sign off on your will so you can have someone else tell you what to do, but the goal is to come under the leadership of other believers and submit your life to the vision God is giving them.

Now here’s what’s important: those in leadership CARE for those they serve.  As a pastor, I am described in the Bible as both an elder (bishop) and a shepherd.  I and other elected elders rule, but we’re described as shepherds.  Shepherding involves loving, caring, and desiring the best for the sheep.  Those in positions of leadership (deacon, elder, teacher, paid staff, whatever structure your church has) should not seek control of others’ lives, but should seek to help others give God full control of their lives.

But, the sheep play a role as well.  The sheep should be seeking the best ways to support the shepherds and their vision for the local church.  The sheep give up on preference at times for the greater good of the local church body.  The sheep submit at times in conflict resolution.  The leaders love and lead and fight to protect the sheep.  The sheep should work alongside and under those leaders in place whose job it is to lead them.  The leaders (shepherds) and church should be alike in submission.

3.  In general, less mature believers give more mature believers authority.  A younger or less mature Christian should seek wisdom from God’s Word, and those in their lives who are more mature and have more wisdom to offer.

This really difficult in our day and age – why? Because we just don’t like to be told what to do.  We like to think we have it all together and everyone else should do it our way.  I’m just as much revealing my own tendencies here as anything else.  Do we want others to speak into our lives to help us?  When criticized, do we ask if someone has our best in mind before responding or forming conclusions?  Do we go to them if we have a problem, as Scripture commands?

In Closing . . .

Please, give this some serious thought and ask: who has authority in my life? If the list is short, make it longer.  Submit.  Beg, plead, ask God to break your will and make it His.  It’s not easy; in fact at times it’s messy.  However, it’s the best way to build healthy, secure, relationships both between you and the Lord and between your brothers and sisters in Christ as you seek to live out mission and fellowship in the context of a local church.

The idea of someone telling me what to do? “YES, PLEASE!” should be our hearty reply.  May we submit to Him and His structure for our lives in any way possible!



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