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My Favorite Curseword: Submission

Submission. There I said it. I cursed at you. Most people don’t like that word because it means giving up our right to be right, our right to be the boss. Get over it!

I was talking to someone recently about church hoppers. You know who they are; the people that never quite plant them selves in one church because they think they know more than the pastor does about how things should be run.

Here’s something to consider: the pastor is the leader of the local church and he submits to God who is the head of the Church. The rest of us are members and servants, not pastors. While I’m ordained, I could never be a pastor of a church. I recognize a rebellious spirit within myself and the minute I see it in somebody else, I’d be holding the door open for them to leave and wishing them well.

Those rolling stones feel the gifts of the spirit don’t flow as they would like in a certain place, so they leave. They don’t like the order of service, so they leave. They don’t like the worship music, so they leave. They go back-and-forth between churches never truly settling anywhere because no place meets their needs. Here’s another thought: the church was designed to represent God, not people. We are the ones that are supposed to do the serving. Somehow they don’t stay long enough to get that message into their hearts.

I look at being a part of a church like being married, and that submission thing in marriage was really difficult for me to get. I’m an only child; I’m from New York; and I grew up in the era of women’s liberation. All of those things made me think that I was the boss of me until I met my husband and became a believer in Christ. Then I had to rethink everything that made me think I was large and in charge.

If I can’t submit to a leader that I can see, how can I submit to a God that I can’t? Sometimes God gives us a Jesus with skin on so that we can learn how to follow here on earth. If we don’t get it right here, we’ll never get it right anywhere else and we will miss the boat. I don’t want to miss the boat and so I’ve had to learn how to submit. It hasn’t been easy but there have been blessings in it for me.

I don’t have the responsibilities that leaders have; my responsibility is to pray and then learn how to follow. Leaders have to make all the decisions and they will have to give an account for every decision that they make. My responsibility is to make it easy for them to lead me and not make it a burden as Hebrews instructs. There are no perfect churches and there are no perfect leaders, but when I stop and get honest with myself, I’m not perfect either.

Sorry for cursing at you but sometimes we just have to get real with ourselves and with others. Commit to your pastor and allow him to pour into you. I’m not saying that you should be a man worshiper; I am saying that you should be part of a family, a church family. We were created for fellowship and there’s accountability in community. 

If you’re a church hopper, there’s no blessing like the blessing of planting yourself in a church and learning how to grow where you’re planted. Every time you repot a plant it goes into shock. Give yourself time to get used to your surroundings so that your roots can grow deep. Pull up a chair and stay a while.


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