December 2, 2014

Christ had no problem with submission . . .

Generally, I first read the suggested passage of Scripture. As I think about it, I then read the focus verse in my devotional guide, then the author’s comments on the passage. Sometimes God speaks to me so clearly in the first step that I skip the next two and write from the thoughts He put in my heart. Today is a combination of all three.

The topic is the Christian mind. I’m thinking of the mind of Christ at the same time because God gives that to His children and I need to learn how to think as Christ thinks. The Word of God guides me in the process.

For the past few days, the devotional booklet discussed how Christians should think about authority. In that regard, the passage today, 1 Timothy 2:1–15, touches on several important areas of my life.

Government: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

In the part of the world where I live, it seems normal for people to complain about the government. However, Christians who submit to the authority of God and His Word must not do that. God wants me to pray for our leaders. It pleases Him. It is also important to the advance of the gospel. How foolish for me to think that grumbling about political matters has nothing to do my spiritual life when it actually is refusing to think with the mind of Christ.

Gospel: It was hard to pick a word that describes this passage. God is my authority; His Word is my authority; the truth of the Gospel also has authority in my life, so I picked the last one: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

The world around me thinks that there are many gods, or they assume there are many ways to be saved, all of them involving something we do. Unless a person believes in Christ, they assume living a good life is sufficient, but even some Christians think that those of other religions will “be okay” if they live decently. The Gospel says otherwise. Submitting to the Gospel is not very popular, even among those who profess to believe it. Yet saying no to it is the same as saying no to God.

Biblical world view: While world vies is not exactly an authority, God’s Word presents God’s view about what is true and right and good. These few verses touch on some values: “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”

How many men put prayer at the top of their priority list? How many women think that they are the most beautiful when they display self-control, godliness, and are doing good things for others? God values these things. This is the mind of Christ and it ought to be at the forefront of my mind too.

Marriage: This one is a hot button in our culture too. “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”

For many women, submission is a swear word, but it is so misunderstood, not only by women but also by men who use it to be the “bossy boss” and even abusive in their households. The best way I’ve understood it (so far) is that submission in marriage is supposed to look like the relationship (in its most ideal state) between the Bridegroom Jesus Christ and His bride — those who believe in Him. In my own experience with that relationship, I must say that when I am in harmony with Jesus, I am never happier, more content, more productive or blissful. God put His Son in authority over me because I cannot handle sin, life, obedience, the tough stuff, or anything else without Him. While He is not asking quite the same between me and my hubby, the more we choose that ideal, the more glorious our life together is.

Christians are challenged by the world regarding our attitude toward authority. The rest of the world thinks submission is unrealistic (to use the nicest term). Even some of God’s people resist what God asks of us. If anyone wants to think with the mind of Christ, a good place to start is praying for those in government. If all of us would do that, and if we would confess our resistance in those other areas, we would be astonished at the results. 

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