Today Joseph Gibbons joins us to talk about The Spiritual Discipline of Submission.
Joseph serves as student minister at Valley View Baptist, Tuscaloosa. A graduate of the University of Mobile, he is currently pursuing his master of divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
When we look at submission it has a lot to do with how we treat authority, how we treat authorities God has put in our life. I think we would all agree that we are to be subjected to or to submit to divine authority in our life, but the earthly authority is where we have trouble. But I would say it’s a biblical principal that how we treat earthly authority is directly related to how we view our divine authority.
It doesn’t matter the size of your church or what your position is, you could be an intern, student pastor or even a lead pastor. Submission is a discipline that you have to practice and everybody has an authority in their life. Whether that authority is a pastor or its your church body or its a deacon or it’s a director, you have somebody in ministry that you’re suppose to submit to. And as young leaders its very hard to submit. It is. It’s hard to submit because we operate under the delusion that our way is the best way.
When I talk about our senior leaders it’s not an indictment on them. I’ve severed with great senior leaders and still serve with great senior leaders. The fact that we have trouble with submission is not an indictment on them, but submission could rather be a mirror by which we can measure our pride. See when we practice submission we are polishing a mirror that we’re looking into where we can measure for pride that we have in our own hearts.
As an associate student pastor I can remember playing the game, and you’ve played this game too, ‘If I were in charge I would …’ and you fill in the blank. ‘If I’m in charge I will’and you fill in the blank. And this isn’t always a bad game to play as a young leader because you can learn how you want to lead, but the trap we fall into is believing the lie that if I were in charge everything would be better. Right? And we fall into that trap of believing if I were in charge I would be better. And that sets us up to have an attitude where we try to subvert our authorities.
And so as we look at our authorities and look at the authorities we are to suppose submit to, we have to understand that the more authority we gain in our life actually we are submitted to more authority. See the more authority we are given, the more authority that we actually have over us. We learn this often times the hard way.
When we get in the position we always long to be in then we realize the decision we always long to make were not always the easiest decisions to make. Jesus himself was not even exempt from submission. He wasn’t exempt from submitting to authorities, not earthly authorities or divine authorities. And we can see this in the way he interacts with his disciples and the way he interacts with the Pharisees.
In fact in John chapter 6 he says, ‘I didn’t come down all the way from heaven so that I could do my will. I came so that I could do the will of the father.’ So the authorities in our life and the authorities even in Jesus’ life were there to direct us to God’s will for our life. See when we think that we get a pass on submission as a student minister, or whatever, as a young leader, as an intern whatever we are or whatever our position, then we give ourselves a pass that not even the son of God got.
And then we all know the passage in John chapter 13 where Jesus he’s in the garden and he’s weeping he says, ‘if anyway possible, if there’s any other way, let this cup pass from me. But not my will but yours be done.’ And when he says, ‘but not my will but yours be done,’ something very interesting happens. It says an angel of the Lord came and strengthened him. So the bottom line of submission is that submission comes from a power that we do not naturally have on our own.
So whether you are trying to implement new ministries and you’re bumping against authorities or whether you’re interacting with your spouse or whatever you’re doing, submission always comes from a power that does not come from with in. It comes from the spirit of God inside of us. Acknowledging that there will be a higher will, can actually put you in the center of God’s will and those earthly authorities in our life were put there for a reason.
My dad and I had a great relationship growing up but I do remember a few fights that we had and they were very silly. We had a some fights where I would get mad at him because he was actually encouraging me that my bad round of batting practice wasn’t quite that bad or I got mad at him because he wouldn’t buy me that F350 diesel truck that I really, really needed. Well we all know that a kid from the suburbs doesn’t really need an F350 diesel truck and when I look back on our relationship I don’t think ‘man I really wish he had bought me that truck.’ I think ‘Man, I wish I was a little more respectful of his authority because he knew better.’
I think if we look at the authorities that we have in our life and we evaluate where we are, then we will be glad when we look back on our ministry and say, ‘I submitted to the authority that God put in my life.