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The S Word

When I was a mid-level manager, a work colleague shared this philosophy with me: “When senior management asks my opinion, I owe it to them to be as honest as I can be, and when senior management makes a decision, I owe it to them to back it one-hundred percent.” I had long held this conviction as well, but had never articulated it so memorably, so from then on, I adopted my co-worker’s pithy summary to convey the same value. Reflecting on his comment years later, it occurred to me that my associate had embraced in honor something we often reject as humiliation—submission of one to another.

Submission can be difficult for us: it dampens our dreams and overrules our plans; it pricks our pride and deflates our egos. But being brought low in humility is a divine blessing in disguise—the first step in realigning our will to God’s will. Paul taught early believers that “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”1 Pride actually separates us from something very good: submission to God’s ways that are good and right. The apostle continued, “But those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires . . . [and the mind] governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”2 And aren’t these two things—abundant life and liberating peace—what everyone seeks? We find them through submission of our will and ways to the will ways of God.

“Our call is not to succeed, but to be obedient,” reads one of the tenets of the Kairos Prison Ministry. Stated differently, when God makes a decision, we owe it to Him to back it one-hundred percent. This is the difference between self-will and submission, and as we obey, God will bring the success; He will receive the glory. May we humbly live this day in the confidence of submission.

Father, Your ways are always best. We sacrifice our own and submit ourselves to You. To You be the glory. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 8:7-8
2 Romans 8:6

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