By BARBARA BEAVERS
Mission Mississippi’s theme for 2021 has been Greater Depth: Going Deeper with God and with One Another. When I was assigned the subject of submission, I was reminded of the story of the child who was being corrected by her parents to sit down and be still. Her response was, “I am sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside.”
There have been many times when I could relate to this, and I know that this attitude toward submission needs to change. I serve a Savior who is more concerned with what is going on inside me than with my outward appearance.
Submitting ourselves in any context in today’s culture is not viewed as a virtue. Self-exaltation and self-love rule the day. “I won’t stand in anyone’s shadow; no one will make me his doormat,” are attitudes that are more preferred than deference, civility, humility or “turning the other cheek,” which are the virtues that we are clearly commanded to embrace in the Bible.
Our primary reason for what we do and how we treat each other should be “the fear of the Lord.” The way we treat each other is taken seriously by the Lord, and ultimately, we answer to Him for how we do it.
The apostle Paul exhorted the church in Corinth to “allow yourself to be defrauded” (1 Corinthians 6:7) before turning to civil authorities to settle disputes in the church. In 2 Corinthians 5:15, he reminded them that Christ died for them so that they should “no longer live for themselves.” In Romans 12:10, Paul instructs us to “be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” In Philippians 2:3-4, he says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (pride), but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Listening to one another and praying with and for one another, like we do in our bi-weekly Mission Mississippi prayer meetings, enables us to see things from a different perspective. When I have a conflict with someone of a different opinion, I must deal with my own heart and not let my pride or personal preferences hinder my relationships. The Word of God must rule my actions.
If it’s a political issue, I have to deal with His command to “be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). If it’s a church matter, I must consider the Word of God: “Obey those that have the rule over you and submit yourselves to them, for they watch for your souls and must give account” (Hebrews 13:17). As a spouse, I must deal with submission according to His Word: “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). (On a personal note, I have been blessed with a husband who is giving his very life to honor and cherish me, often giving up his own comfort and desires to do so.)
The good news is that we have a guide and a Good Shepherd who has shown us how to submit. The rule is to “lay our lives down for one another” (John 15:13). All we do in our interactions with one another is done “as unto the Lord.” What we want and need and “must have” is irrelevant.
Some would say, “It just isn’t fair!” and by a self-centered standard, it isn’t. The truth we live by is seen as foolishness to the world. Our guiding principle for our interactions with believers and unbelievers alike is, “Whoever will have his life shall lose it; and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Submitting to one another is a heart matter and not always easy, but the rewards are both temporal and eternal. Connecting with others and cultivating new relationships like we can do in Mission Mississippi activities helps us understand and appreciate one another. When we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose. Join us, and to God be the glory! #SubmittingToOneAnother
Barbara and Jerry Beavers have been married for almost 50 years. Both retired and serving the Lord in a variety of positions, they have been involved with Mission Mississippi since its beginning.