Monday, April 12, 2010

Submission

My brother recently had a girl's retreat thing for the young ladies in his youth group. On Friday night, he hosted a father/daughter banquet. They had some pretty amazing food accompanied by some unique time for dads to try to spend themselves on their daughters. It was a very cool thing to see!

After the banquet, he had arranged for a father to come speak to the other dads about their responsibility to shepherd the young ladies. He also had arranged for someone to come teach the young ladies about their responses to their dads. I was merely an outsider UNTIL...

The young lady who he had scheduled to speak had to back out at the last minute. By that I mean that he found out the evening before the scheduled event. He was frantically looking for someone. So, I did too! I spent an entire evening devoted to emailing, calling, and facebooking close friends who were more than capable to teach young girls about their relationships with their parents!

I was sure that any one of my friends would step up to the plate because they were much more equipped than myself! I didn't volunteer to help out because, well, I stink at talking to anyone over the age of 8! While both of my brothers could stand before a crowd and speak, all I ever do is cry.

Here, let me introduce you to my most embarrassing epic fail...

"Hi. My name is Annie Witt and I'm Tommy's little sister. And, (insert crying here) I can't do this..."

So, in the end, no one stepped up. Ronnie was in a bind and suggested that I would do an awesome job. I told him no. I told him that I wasn't capable of speaking to young ladies. I knew that all I would do was cry. Plus, I couldn't think of any wisdom to share. I didn't feel capable to teach.

But God began to work on my heart. As I was thinking on "What do young ladies need to know about how to worship God in the midst of their relationship to their earthly daddy", my mind went to submission. See, God isn't holding a young lady responsible for the home that her daddy provides. He isn't holding her responsible for the shepherding her daddy does or does not do. However, she will be held accountable to God for the way she responds to him. God led me to Colossians 3 to teach. Here, we see a snapshot of God's design for the home.

Before we dive into scripture, I’d like to establish that you are either in obedience or disobedience to a sovereign God who has placed you under the authority of your parents. The God who spoke the galaxies into existence also formed you inside your mother’s womb. He knows the number of hairs on your head and He has placed you in Emory, Texas as the very person you are. He is quite aware the circumstance of each of your families. Not only is He aware of it, He has ordained it! He has established it! So let’s jump in to find out how we are to respond to God in light of our circumstance.

I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve sat where you sit. I can hear your thoughts. Is anyone sitting here thinking…Yes, that’s great if you don’t have a dad like mine!

I can understand you because I didn’t have a perfect dad either. Really, who does?! There were times where it wasn’t easy to obey. There were times where it was very difficult to take heed to the instruction of my dad.

But let’s make sure we understand God’s Word here. His Word does not make an if/then statement. God doesn’t set us up so that we can obey and submit under the authority because he has made it easy. In fact, more often than not, your submission will feel more like dying to yourself and it should bring you to the end of yourself.

I want to spend some time with Paul in the book of Colossians. This letter to the church of Colossae was probably written during Paul’s imprisonment in 62 AD and just before his death in 64-67 AD. Paul did not establish this church, but is writing to encourage them. They have had false teachers and need to be encouraged to cling to Christ. He wrote this to encourage them to pursue Godliness.

I wanted to bring Paul’s teaching into our context, because I think it is relevant here. I want to begin with the encouragement for the Christian home. Paul has some very specific directions for the Christian family and how they are to bear the fruit of submissiveness to one another.

Colossians 3:18-4:1

You have to see here that the call for the submission of a child is part of a larger call for submission from all Christians in different ways.

In 1 Peter 2 and 3, Peter addresses the same issue of submission. He encourages us to be subject to one another. Although he doesn’t speak to you as daughters in this text, let these words find purchase in you because Peter does encourage you as future wives. Listen to these words from 1 Peter.

In 1 Peter 2:13-17, Peter admonishes us all to be subject, for the Lord’s sake, to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as set by him. In other words, keep the speed limits, pay your taxes, and be respectful toward policemen and senators.

Then in 2:18-25, Peter addresses the household servants (oiketai) in the church and admonishes them to be submissive to their masters with all respect, both to the kind and to the overbearing.

Then, in 3:1-6, Peter instructs the wives to be submissive to their husbands, including the husbands who are unbelieving.

Then, in verse 7, he instructs husbands to live considerately with their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life.

Finally, in 3:8-12, Peter tells the whole church to have unity and sympathy and love and tenderheartedness and humility toward one another, and not to return evil for evil. In other words, submit to each other and serve each other.

So, as we see in both 1 Peter 2-3 and in Colossians 3, submission is a wider Christian virtue for all of us to pursue, and it has its unique and fitting expressions in various relationships. Today we are focusing on the relationship of a daughter to her father, which will prepare you for the relationship of a wife to her husband.

Let’s jump back into Paul’s encouragement to the Colossians. The instructions for Christian Households are sandwiched between two very intricate details of God’s provision for obedience and submission.

Let’s look at the bottom crust of this submission/obedience issue.

Read Colossians 3:1-17

Do you see here that you HAVE to have put on the new things in Christ. You cannot submit to an imperfect dad if you don’t have these things of God.

What things does Paul encourage us to put on? (compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, love, peace, be thankful, let the Word dwell in you)

Before you are able to submit under the authority that God has placed over you, in the person of your father, you must MUST MUST put off the old self and put on the new in Christ.

If you’re finding it hard to be submissive and obedient, climb back into this scripture. It is no accident that Paul preceded this text about being submissive with putting on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another! It is the provision for you to be able to submit to an imperfect man. Because whatever you do, you are doing in the name of Jesus Christ! As you submit to your dad, you are submitting to God!

So that’s the bottom crust! Let’s look at the top crust of this submission issue!

Colossians 4:2, 6

What is it we are to do as we submit to the authority God has placed in our lives? (pray, be gracious with our speech, seasoned with salt)

And guess what! I didn't cry!!!!!

1 comment:

The Copeland Family said...

AWESOME Annie...God had a purpose for you and for that night all along!