The Cross Life
The Cross Life
As we’ve been going through the twelve spiritual disciplines, we are now in the month of March so, we’re discussing the spiritual Discipline of Submission. This could not be more timely as we will also begin our relationship series on Wednesday nights.
As I tend to do, I wanted to look at the definition of submission before we proceed.
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says,
Submission is the voluntary placement of oneself under the authority and leadership of another (Gk. hupotasso). Submission is taught in the context of various relationships. In divinely ordained relationships, submission enables a unique Christian harmony, based on God’s good design.
Mark 8: 34-37 TPT 34 Jesus summoned the crowd, along with his disciples, and had them gather around. And he said to them: “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways.d 35 For if you let your life go for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, you will continually experience true life.e But if you choose to keep your life for yourself, you will forfeit what you try to keep. 36 For what use is it to gain all the wealth and power of this world, with everything it could offer you, at the cost of your own life? 37 And what could be more valuable to you than your own soul?
d Or “Follow me.” This powerful verse was shocking to those who heard Jesus that day. To follow Jesus is more than the dethroning of our own lives, but the enthroning of Christ.
e Or “will save it” (his life). There is only one Greek word for both “soul” and “life.” The Aramaic uses a word that can mean “breath of life,” “person,” “soul,” or “self.”
Submission is not just -
◦ Listening and doing everything you are told - did you know you can do this and not really be walking in Godly submission to authority?
• Also, some of the voices in our lives are bad!
◦ Slavery or bondage
◦ Groveling for fear of punishment
• There’s a difference between self-denial and self-hatred.
◦ Loss of identity
• Is your identity found in what you do or in things?
◦ Isn’t simply letting someone else “have it their way”
Back to the footnotes on the scripture above...
What is submission?
The easy answer is that it’s often the opposite of many of the items we mentioned above. According to the scriptures, submission often deals with how you view authority. That may make us squirm a bit since our flesh wants to be in control. Not only will you have to yield to the Lord, sometimes he puts people of authority in our lives that we yield to as well. We’re all under Jesus, but these are just lessons we learn in this life.
• One Pastor said it this way: We must get under what God has put over us so that we can get over what God has placed under us.
Learning the wisdom found in this discipline will allow us to experience freedom in our relationships as well as the freedom to walk out His calling for us in joy.
Matthew 26: 39 TPT 39 Then he walked a short distance away, and overcome with grief, he threw himself facedown on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, a please take it from me. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.”
The Bible teaches that we should submit to one another out of a reverence for Christ(Eph 5:21), to esteem others better than ourselves (Phil 2:3), to obey those who have authority over us (1 Pe 2:13-14), and most of all, to submit ourselves under God’s authority and His Law because God will resist all who refuse to submit and humble themselves but will only give grace to the humble and humble people are submitting people. (1 Pe 5:5)
What freedom do we find?
As we mentioned in your bulletin inserts, each discipline leads to a freedom that you will experience in your life as you live them out. Let’s talk about that.
According to Foster in the Celebration of Discipline book, living a life yielded in Godly submission -
• Frees us from trying to be who we were not created to be.
Isaiah 14:13-14 NLT 13 For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. 14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’
◦ Have you fallen into the trap of setting up your own way, your own kingdom?
◦ What happened to Saul when he tried to fill the place of Samuel, the prophet?
How do we live it out?
Instead of repeating the mistakes above, we can live out Galatians 2:19-20 -
19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.* It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
While I was studying this discipline, I learned about something called a “touchstone”.
Merriam-Websters definition of touchstone (show picture) is -
1: a fundamental or quintessential part or feature
2: a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing
3: a black siliceous stone related to flint and formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal
The touchstone for understanding submission is found in our first scripture -
Mark 8:34 NKJV “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Remember, self-denial isn’t the same as self-hatred. Self-denial shows us the freedom we discussed earlier. It shows us that we do not have to have our own way, our happiness is not dependent on getting what we want. If we could only come to see that most major issues in life are not major at all. We could really hold on to things loosely. Most of our arguments in life come from not getting things our way and wondering why we don’t get comforted while we’re having a pity party.
I liked this statement as well, “Usually the best way to handle most matters of submission is to say nothing.”
Often, I’ve been in the most trouble when I found myself either defending myself or just popping off what I thought to be true or “what needed to be said.” Yikes!
James 1:19 19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
We get so caught up with the first part that we can forget to take up our cross and follow Jesus. That is our focus for this year, right? Just as submission is found in our proper self-denial, it’s also found in taking up our cross and following Jesus.
Taking up our cross to follow Christ means, simply, commitment to the point of giving up our hopes, dreams, possessions, even our very life if need be. This is the attitude – the only acceptable attitude – of a true disciple (Luke 14:27).
If you’re hearing this for the first time, you may respond in your heart like some of the hearers of that day. You may say, “this isn’t for me”.
So often we can solely get caught up on what to do and forget to learn the “why”. If you understand the "why", the "how" and the "what" change for you. If you get the why, the truth we learned of simplicity will become real for you:
“It sets us free to receive the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep & can be freely shared with others.” In doing this, you experience his peace.
• Joyce Meyer said, “The truth is, if we don’t learn to submit to authority, we won’t ever learn to submit to God.”
(Video on Knowing your why: Michael Jr)
It may or may not shock you to know that our Savior had a “why”.
Let’s look back at Matthew 26:39 - What was the Saviors “why”?
Matthew 26:39 TPT 39 Then he walked a short distance away, and overcome with grief, he threw himself facedown on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, a please take it from me. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.”
a Or “If possible, take away this cup of suffering.” The cup becomes a metaphor of the great suffering that Jesus had to drink that night in the garden. However, Jesus was not asking the Father for a way around the cross. Rather, he was asking God to keep him alive through this night of suffering so that he could carry the cross and take away our sins. According to the prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus was to be pierced on a cross. We learn from Heb. 5:7 that Jesus’ prayer was answered that night as the cup was indeed taken from him. An angel of God came to strengthen him and deliver him from premature death. The “cup” he was asking God to let pass from him was the cup of premature death that Satan was trying to make him drink in the garden, not the death he would experience the next day on the cross. He had already sweat drops of blood, but the prophecies had to be fulfilled of being pierced on a cross for our transgressions. God answered his cry and he lived through the agony of Gethsemane so that he could be our sacrifice for sin on Calvary. Jesus did not waver in the garden. We have a brave Savior.
Sermon in a sentence -
The discipline of Submission teaches us a “why”. It teaches us to take up the cross-life, denying ourselves, in order to fully live for Him.