What’s Up with This Submission Stuff?
Before I begin, I want to encourage you to read this to the end. It will not only bless you but answer many questions you may have in your heart. It did mine.
This morning, I was reading in Colossians from the Amplified Bible and came upon vs. 24 in the first chapter. It reads as follows: “(Even) now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf. And in my own person I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed (on our part) of Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”
I’m a very visual person, and as I began meditating on this scripture, I saw two completely different containers that represented an interesting parallel between Paul’s suffering and Christ’s affliction (suffering). Since I was reading the Amplified Bible, the Lord spoke to me in the same way, which explains all the parentheses. I pray this is a blessing to you.
Christ’s suffering (at the Cross) was a container for my sin nature that died (eliminated) when He died. My suffering is the container for the finished work Christ did on my behalf, and where I can go to RECEIVE whatever is lacking in my soul (Rom. 12:2). The containers are different. Romans 6:6 tells me the old container is empty, but wait a minute! My mind’s eye sees it as full, and, since it FEELS true, it has to be true, right?
Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:18-20, and many other scriptures tell us not to trust our own hearts (feelings) in such circumstances. The other container, and its contents, was completely unfamiliar to me. My attitude (perceived reality) will either propel me toward the new container (by faith) or away from the container (in fear). As I ran toward the container, the top opened, but when I reached it, I realized that, again, my attitude (perceived reality) would determine the next step. I will either reach inside to RECEIVE what GOD DETERMINES TO BE NEXT (faith), or I will retreat (fear). If I decide to reach in, and I am fully submitted to Him and His Word, I will receive EXACTLY what I NEED for my victory (that God says I need). If I reach in, but I am not fully submitted to Him and His Word, I will choose what I think I need, and then wonder why I did not get my victory. By going my own way, I have just opened a door (snare) for the devil to enter and tell me it’s all a lie and “this stuff” does not work! I WILL NOT BE DECEIVED BY WHAT I HEAR AND FEEL WHEN IT DOES NOT LINE UP TO THE WORD OF GOD. I WILL TRUST THE WORD FOR MY FINAL DECISIONS, NOT MY FEELINGS, and then thank God if my feelings line up; if they don’t, I’ll thank Him anyway! I will cling to the truth that the old container (old man) is EMPTY (dead) (Romans 6:6 & 11; Galatians 2:20)! Or, if I have an attitude of fear (because it looks different and unfamiliar), I will run the other way and completely miss my opportunity for victory.
Very important: Even if I run toward my container, stop, and DON’T reach in, that is infinitely better than running from it. At least I know it’s real and exists. I WILL NOT LET THE ENEMY TELL ME I FAILED BECAUSE I COULD NOT REACH IN. God’s Word tells me to be shrewd as a serpent and gentle as a dove. (Matthew 10:16)
Finally, I think the most important part of Colossians 1:24 (AMP) is the first sentence, “(Even) now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings…”. I asked God how Paul could possibly rejoice in his sufferings. I believe He answered me. It goes back to faith and submission. We must be radical in our pursuit of submission through faith. Everything within our flesh fights the idea of submission. In fact, I have found it to be impossible when I’ve tried in my own strength.
On January 25, 2011, my youngest daughter of 35 went to be with the Lord. It wasn’t long ago, (maybe a couple of years), that I remember talking to God about my level of submission. It went something like this, “Father, I know I love You and have submitted everything to You, but there is one thing that still bothers me. I know I would never turn my back on You, but I’m not sure what would happen to me if I lost one of my kids.” This was not something I dwelled on, but it came up every once in a while. Before I go on, let me make one thing perfectly clear - I am not saying that God caused my daughter’s death just to test me, nor did that thought ever cross my mind. It must have been several months later that I thought of it again, only this time it was different. I had a peace about it, and I knew God had settled it in my heart. Her funeral was on January 31, 2011, and I’m writing this on March 16, 2011. I love to write, but a few weeks ago, writing about her death seemed impossible, but here I am. Let me encourage you to become a God-chaser in the area of submission by faith. It will carry you through “even” the worst time of your life. “(Even) now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings…” (Colossians 1:24).
To God be all the glory!