Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Obedience School

"He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, “My Father!  If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.  Yet I want your will, not mine.”  Matthew 26:39

“You are insubordinate,” the teacher declared to me. I had no idea what that big word meant. She told me to go look it up in the dictionary. Well, I’ll be! I thought.  On another occasion, after hurting a fellow classmate I was told to see the principal. The possibility of being expelled was clearly stated if I didn’t change my ways. Then a friend commented, “Joy, you are not like you used to be.” What are all these people talking about? I wondered. It was confusing being thirteen years old. It came to my attention I had a problem with being submissive to authorities in particular. Inwardly I didn’t care to keep any rule unless it made sense. That was my criteria for following rules and in my opinion most rules didn’t fall in that category. While I was growing up I was determined to get my way. My will ruled. Thus started a painful journey of discovering that by nature I am rebellious and unsubmissive and needed power beyond myself to tame that wild side. Being summoned to see the principal was a wakeup call. I cried out to God to change me.

Another time after being insubordinate my dad had me kneel at the bed and sing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” I thank God for some tough lessons learned in “Obedience School”.

Every once in a while that spirit of insubordination still rises up within me but praise God a transformation by God has gradually been at work within me. Without intervention help from God I would not be qualified to engage in ministry among Muslims. Becoming qualified is not just about head knowledge or giftings. It just does not work to minister and be insubordinate and unsubmissive at the same time. Much good fruit comes when an unsubmissive fighting spirit is tamed by the Holy Spirit.  When I started saying, “not my will but your will be done,” I entered a new sphere! Then I became more ready to be sent to people who also struggle with submissiveness. We can take people only as far as we have journeyed.

In my ministry among believers(and Muslims) I encounter rebellion, anger, revengeful talk, and agitation. Sometimes the rebellion is about a husband, a landlord, welfare office, or rules and restrictions about living in her adopted new land. I have to remind myself I have been there but God has been mellowing and transforming me. I am much more at rest and peace now that I have learned the value and wisdom of submitting to God and His ways.  There really is sweet fruit that comes from learning to be submissive. It makes us more effective in ministry and more winsome among people. One of the character traits I ask God to develop in believers is growth in becoming teachable, submissive, and obedient to the Lord.  Often that seems better taught by example than with words.

Dear heavenly Father, keep taming my strong will. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.