19 The Submission of the Believer
call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.” —John 13:13
Our Lord never insists on having authority over us.
He never says, “You will submit to me.” No, He leaves us perfectly free to
choose— so free, in fact, that we can spit in His face or we can put Him to
death, as others have done; and yet He will never say a word. But once His life
has been created in me through His redemption, I instantly recognize His right
to absolute authority over me. It is a complete and effective domination, in
which I acknowledge that “You are worthy, O Lord…” (Revelation 4:11). It is
simply the unworthiness within me that refuses to bow down or to submit to one
who is worthy. When I meet someone who is more holy than myself, and I don’t
recognize his worthiness, nor obey his instructions for me, it is a sign of my
own unworthiness being revealed. God teaches us by using these people who are a
little better than we are; not better intellectually, but more holy. And He
continues to do so until we willingly submit. Then the whole attitude of our
life is one of obedience to Him.
If our Lord insisted on our obedience, He would
simply become a taskmaster and cease to have any real authority. He never
insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him.
Then He is easily Lord of our life, and we live in adoration of Him from
morning till night. The level of my growth in grace is revealed by the way I
look at obedience. We should have a much higher view of the word obedience,
rescuing it from the mire of the world. Obedience is only possible between
people who are equals in their relationship to each other; like the
relationship between father and son, not that between master and servant. Jesus
showed this relationship by saying, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).
“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered”
(Hebrews 5:8). The Son was obedient as our Redeemer, because He was the Son,
not in order to become God’s Son.