Friday, April 14, 2006

Holy Week-Holy Habits 5

On Good Friday, Jesus lives out before us the most difficult spiritual discipline--submission.

"Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will'" (Matthew 26: 38-39).

"He went away a second time and prayed, 'My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done'" (Matthew 26:42)

Doing what God asks, especially when it isn't necessarily what you want, feels like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. You're certain that awaiting you at the bottom is death--and it very well may. However, what we can't see is that in some mysterious way, this leap of faith will bring us even more life.

When God called me to attend seminary back in 1988, it felt like death. I liked my place in life at that time. I worked around music all day, every day; lived in a college town; had lots of good friends. Crawling into some ivory tower called seminary wasn't my idea of serving God. But as someone has said, "It's far better to be in the midst of danger and in the middle of God's will, than to be comfortable with all the world's delights and out of God's will." I eventually went to seminary, but it took me several years before I could honestly say to God, "You knew what you were doing."

Warren Wiersbe writes, "Submission is not subjugation. Subjugation turns a person into a thing, destroys individuality, and removes all liberty. Submission makes a person become more of what God wants him to be; it brings out individuality; it gives him the freedom to accomplish all that God has for his life and ministry. Subjugation is weakness; it is the refuge of those who are afraid of maturity. Submission is strength; it is the first step toward true maturity and ministry."

Submission then is not an optional discipline to the Christian life. C. S. Lewis sums up the bottom line: "There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"

—On this Good Friday, I'm glad Jesus said, "Thy will be done."

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