I wanted to update this post and draw it back to your attention in case you missed it. It's one of my favorites and I felt like re-sharing!
Hello and welcome back to the blog my lovely Reader!
Today is of course time for the Sunday Series, as we have been doing for an entire year now (YAY!) and I thought it would be nice to circle back to more discussions on faith and Christianity. Specifically, I've been contemplating the command in Scripture to submit to Christ in full obedience, trusting His guidance in our lives, but also obeying His plans and rules for moral Christian living, as dictated by Scripture.
This sounds simple enough: we are presented with a rule book and we are to follow it, meditate on it, and discuss it with others in community. The guidance, information, and all we need to know is right there in the word of God; complete and whole, with not a word missing.
But (unsurprisingly) when put into action, the command to submit to Christ can actually be quite difficult, challenging, and at times frustrating! Because even though we HAVE the rulebook, and even though we know, generally, what we are supposed to do, we often find ourselves warring with our own selfish interests, our own excuses, or even at times, warring against the "norms" in society.
Sometimes, our desires, the people around us, or even societal norms can all cause us to feel like submitting to Christ is hardly worth it. We question His plan, wonder at the reasons why we are to live a certain way, and even come to the point of feeling that we know BETTER than what is written out for us in Scripture!
But that inherent difficulty, in living by the Word and submitting to Christ, is what makes faith so incredible. Because the truth is that no incredible journey was ever simple. No story worth telling has ever been effortless, and no faith-journey was ever easy, or boring.
The reality is that an easy journey is not transformative: an easy journey is one in which we are fully equipped on our own, not needing guidance, and certainly not needing another's wisdom or teachings. An easy journey means that we have everything we need to weather the journey, and it means that we did not become changed by it.
This is why the Christian life is NOT an easy journey!
Because we are meant to be transformed by our continual sanctification, drawing closer to the Lord each day we walk with Him. A Christian life is not supposed to be simple, and it is certainly not a life that will blend in with the ways of society or the world. Not because the journey of Faith is meant to be impossible or horrible, but because it is meant to TRANSFORM us as we live it out.
Faith in the Lord and submitting to His plan is difficult in order that we might be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
It's not a secret that many aspects of Christian living are not instinctual. The commands to love our enemies, bless those who persecute us, and forgive an infinite amount of times are some of the most difficult commands in Scripture, and certainly not the first choice for your average human.
But the fact that these practices, so core to our faith, are difficult, infers that we are meant to live out the Christian life not by our own strength, but by the strength and guidance of Christ. Because if I did not have Jesus, I would not be able to forgive those who have hurt me or bless those who persecute me. I would not be able to live without fear, and I would not be able to submit to my husband in respect.
Without Christ, my moral life would be dead on arrival.
That practice, of submitting to Christ despite our own inclinations, thoughts, or frustrations, is what faith and obedience is all about. Because we are not saved by works, no, but at the same time, faith without works is dead. We need both faith, AND works-- action, and belief, to back up our Christian life.
We find these disciplines in submitting to Christ; we submit in faith, accepting that He is indeed the Son of God, born to take away the sins of the world, but we also submit by action and works, in taking up his teachings to care for the poor and bless those who persecute us. We can submit in our Christian life by both faith, AND works, in tandem, that our life may be in full submission to Christ.
Yes, it is good and true that the practice of continually submitting to Christ's guidance for our lives, His direction on how we should live, and His command to have faith, is one that completely transforms us from the inside out.
Not only does it cause us to submit to a higher Power, accepting that we truly do not know everything, but it also takes into consideration our base and human instincts, with submission to His rules protecting us from the inevitable fallout of our sins.
The journey of faith cannot be accomplished or taken on without a willing heart, submitting to Christ in reverence of His wisdom, and superiority. Because that is what we are saying when we submit to God; that He is superior to us, and His way of living is correct, regardless of how we personally feel about it.
The best thing we can do as Christian women is to walk by faith and not by sight, willingly submitting to the teachings in Scripture, regardless of how they make us feel or how they fit in with modern society. We must take our teachings on how to be a wife, mother, friend, and daughter, straight from the Word of God, walking in step with the spirit and in sync with Christ.
And no, this will not be easy, but that is good news.
Because "wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14.)
The importance of submitting to Christ cannot be understated, and we should not take it lightly. For it is only through submission that we can fully live out our faith AND works, in obedience to Christ.
And while we cannot live a sinless life, it does not mean that we should give up all effort towards submitting to Christ and walking in obedience to Him. The key, is to not lose hope, and to continually go to the cross in repentance, asking for Christ's conviction so that we may be redeemed and made new in His eyes.
I know that for many, the frustration of a Christian life is the idea of being constantly judged, rejected, and criticized by some unseen being.
But the practice of humbly repenting and submitting to Christ's way, in direct confliction with our own desires, is truly a beautiful act. That willingness to kneel before the Lord is the type of faith that will transform our hearts and lead us closer to the life we were meant to live as Christian women.
When we sin, all hope is not lost. We will continue to sin all our earthly lives! The part that matters is going before the Lord and repenting, eagerly awaiting the moment when we are forgiven and made right before the Lord. Because that is why Christ died for us! So that we might be made new, despite our sin, and despite our unworthiness, Christ died for us to make a way for us to be with God.
Repentance is NOT a bad thing. It is the only thing that can unite us with God! It is a good and beautiful thing that we are able to be forgiven.
I must always remember as well, that submitting to Christ and living in obedience to God is a lifelong journey. It's not something that we will ever perfect, but it IS a journey that has the power to transform our hearts. I have seen with my own eyes the transformation of my own heart, AND the hearts of others through a life lived in submission to Christ.
The thing I keep returning to most in this blog post is that submission to Christ is not meant to humiliate us, bore us, or waste our energy.
It is a process by which we can grow closer to the Lord, and a process that will transform our hearts. Our lives improve and fall into order through submitting to Christ, walking by faith and not by sight. Walking with Jesus is altogether the best thing that we choose to do for our hearts, AND our lives.
Through submitting to God's plan and guidance, we can find strength in difficult times, love to fill our wounds, and instruction to direct our decisions.