SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY

Submission comes down to a choice. Are we going to recognize the authority of another, or are we going to insist on doing things the way that we want to do them? Above all do we recognise the authority of our Creator God. The following Scripture tells us exactly what our Creator thinks about the importance of us submitting to authority. Moreover, His word tells us exactly the roles and rules He has established for male, females, fathers and mothers, elders and children that enable us to function in His world.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:5-9.

Understanding that submitting to authority does not have anything to do with the value or worth of an individual is fundamental to our ability to accept whatever role God assigns to us.

Submission is defined as, “The action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.”

People have struggled with the idea of submission forever, usually because of pride, ego, or greed. For organizations to function effectively, there must be order and recognition of authority. In the absence of these two things, we have chaos. Jesus is such a great example for us and yet Jesus asserted His authority over man when He said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6. and “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18

Sadly, the roles and rules established by our Creator are no longer considered valid in todays society. We would prefer to make up our own rules so that we can do whatever we desire to do whenever we want to do it. Lawlessness is the result. God’s Word tells us that in the last days before Jesus returns to this earth lawlessness will abound.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:12-14

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him… Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonian 1:1,3-4

Jesus second coming is as important as His first coming. It is glorious for those of us that have accepted His offer of eternal life. It was achieved by Jesus sacrifice on The Cross which was necessary to bring us back into a righteous relationship with our Heavenly Father. However, accepting Jesus offer also requires us to submit to His Lordship over our lives. When we do, Jesus makes it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirit enabling us to live the Christian life. Our Spirit is the lamp of the Lord which requires oil, the Holy Spirit to function, to produce light.

“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

When we say to our Heavenly Father, as Jesus did during His time on this earth, not my will but your will be done, the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness gentleness goodness, kindness and self control. Also all nine gifts of the Spirit will be available for us to achieve God’s purpose for our lives (1 Corinthians 12;4-11).

Sadly, many people who think they are Christians have never truly submitted to the Lordship of Christ and so have never received the Holy Spirit to enable them to live the Christian life. They have never truly died to self to enable them to be born again in Christ. Where do you stand?

HOLY SPIRIT’S GUIDANCE

The “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), when taught as merely a set of godly character traits (which they are) (and we need to pursue them), stops short of the ultimate purpose of those traits.

The Amplified Version translates the words “fruit of the Holy Spirit,” as “…the work which His presence within accomplishes.” The Holy Spirit’s presence guides us (as a coach) and guards us (comforts: “strong; fort”) throughout each day and in every decision. As we yield to that work of God’s Spirit (“be filled” Ephesians 5:18), God lives, not merely within us and for us, but through us.

Reimagine discipleship as the ongoing filling of the Spirit (“keep on being filled”) to reveal God’s will through God’s Word. Refocus evangelism as the work of the Holy Spirit to connect each disciple to the needs of the people (family, friends, strangers), the places (work, play), and opportunities (activities, events,) God has called them to serve … resulting in the showing and telling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit’s internal presence is always purposing towards an external expression of the character of God, revealed to the lost and the least through our unexpected actions and uncommon reactions. Each “fruit” is a gift we bring as we walk a bridge into a conversation to pray for someone or a situation, care for them with acts of service or mercy, and share the Gospel of faith in Jesus.

The fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, goodness (a life full of virtue), faith that prevails,  gentleness of heart and self control (strength of spirit).

The purpose of the fruit of the Spirit is not to make us nicer neighbors; it grows within us to make us loving neighbors who enlighten people to the problem-solving, life-transforming character of God. “This is how God loved the world” (John 3:16): look to what Jesus did, look at how Jesus-followers live and give, serve and sacrifice.

Gifting the fruit of the Spirit is intended to be a daily reality for every authentic Christian, not only for those who have the gift of evangelism or the calling of an evangelist. Valuing the fruit of the Spirit as a witnessing tool can be a huge encouragement to believers who deeply desire to share their faith but often hesitate or have been ineffective. Making disciples who reproduce by sharing their faith must include equipping them to simply look for ways to express the love of God through the spiritual traits they most often or easily exhibit. Some display the love of Christ best through acts of kindness and mercy, others as peacemakers. Every Christ follower needs to seek the discernment of the Spirit into how the Spirit is most effective; which “fruit” (character trait) seems most prevalent and effective in which situations?  

Fruit-of-the-Spirit evangelism is walking God’s love over a bridge into a situation or experience with the gift of joy or peace or patience or kindness, goodness, faith, gentle humility, or restoring control. Love motivated gifts, suited to a person or relevant to a problem, bring practical blessings that point lost people to hope that breeds faith…sharing stories can easily ensue.

Instead of looking first at what we should “do” to evangelize (methods), what if we looked at the focus of our prayers for others? Which fruit of the Spirit predominates our intercession? What passion is stirred within us when we are led to care for people; their problems or possibilities? When does our presence result in conversations about spiritual issues or opportunities to share life stories?

Another great article from Phil Miglioratti • The #ReimagineFORUM
How To Equip UnWitnessing Christians to Share Their Faith