primary lesson the Lord has been teaching me in the last year or so is submission to godly
authority. Up until now, I have suffered with the "lone ranger syndrome":
keeping much to myself, not a joiner, and on the "fringes" of the Church Body, a
member, but not deeply and actively involved with others on a continual basis.
Why have I been like this? Since
I came from a dysfunctional home, which sad to say, is the "norm" anymore, I was
confused about issues of authority, submission, rebellion, and humility. I am not
discussing this to lay blame for my actions upon my father, because I alone made the bad
decisions and take full responsibility for them, but I think that the reasons for this may
benefit someone, so here they are:
- Since my father was an alcoholic and was not
submitted to and serving the Lord himself, he was unable to function as the priest and
spiritual covering of our household. Therefore the household was "out of order"
and we had no example of godly authority for many years. (Now in his last three
years of life, my father was saved and I have forgiven him for everything.) Godly
authority brings spiritual protection, intercession, nurturing, true peace, and most of
all, unconditional love.
- My father also had a problem with submitting to
earthly authority, and taught us by example that we didn't have to submit if we didn't
want to, didn't like the person, or didn't think he/she was qualified, etc. Submission to
godly authority is putting yourself UNDER the POSITION of authority, regardless of who
holds the position or how you feel about them.
- Since my father was rebelling against God in his
lifestyle, there was always an undercurrent of rebellion in our home. So even if we
weren't opposing him openly, inside we were defiant and resentful. Rebellion is the
opposite of submission.
- When my father was sober, he was loving and kind.
When he was drinking, he was hateful, critical and verbally abusive. We had no
understanding of unconditional love. We did not have the security of an affection which
was NOT conditional, which was NOT dependent on your actions. You cannot submit to God
without understanding unconditional love.
- We had no consistent peace. "Peace" meant
not making my father mad and thus causing him to go on a drinking binge,
"stuffing" anger, exasperation and, yes, even hatred, deep down inside where it
would fester. You cannot submit to authority with bitterness in your heart.
- My mother was "submissive", but that was a
negative example because of all the pain my father caused. So we decided early on that we
would "NEVER put up with" someone treating us like that. So our vision of godly
authority and submission was clouded and we could not see the truth. Godly submission is
always "in the Lord", and will not tolerate evil.
Learning about this
defect in my heart was painful, and came at a great cost. I've lost several jobs because
of an insubordinate attitude, and I'm sure that many of my wrongful decisions were based
on the false information I had about authority and submission from my childhood.
But the good news is, the Lord has
renewed my mind with understanding and has now given me the light to walk in submission to
godly authority. In fact, the Lord is leading me to write a book about it, and I will put
exerpts on my web page as they are revealed to me.
So Jim and I have felt the need to join
a local body of believers and put into practice what we have learned. We were both members
of churches out of town, and haven't been active there. We visited several churches and
asked the Lord to lead us where He wanted us to be, where we were needed for ministry.
So on August 2, 1998, we joined
Abundant Life Fellowship in Pilot, Virginia and came under the spiritual covering of
Pastor Larry Meadows and that body of believers. I was thrilled to do this, to feel a part
of worshipping body, and in right fellowship with God and man.
But God had something more for us. That
afternoon the Pastor called a "Solemn Assembly" like Israel did in olden times
to repent of sin. My husband and I went, not having a clue as to why or what we would be
doing, but as an act of obedience. If the Pastor thought it was needed, we were determined
"Solemn" was charactistic of
the mood when the service started. We were determined to humble ourselves before God and
receive the mind of Christ on issues that were facing the church.
These are the main things for which we
repented with mourning and tears:
- A spirit of covenant-breaking - not respecting the
Pastor and godly authority, not keeping our covenants of submission, obedience and
tithing. We rebuked the controlling spirits who had led us astray into the wilderness.
- A spirit of rebellion - coming against the wisdom of
God as revealed to the Pastor and church leadership, and wanting our own wills to be done
instead of the Lord's.
- A spirit of spiritual pride - believing that we had
received a greater revelation than other denominations, and feeling superior for it, We
repented of wounding our other brothers and sisters in Christ by this attitude.
- A spirit of greed - of desiring our will and the
gratification of our needs before the will of God and the needs of others. We repented of
following the ways of the world rather than the Word of God.
The presence of the Lord
was awesome in that place. The word that best describes it to me is "numinous":
full of the presence, awe, Spirit, and glory of the Lord. After the repenting, we
had a season of joyous praise. We shared the Lord's Supper as an act of worship. And then
marched outside with banners to join in prayer for revival.
When Jim and I returned home, I
remarked that I felt so very clean inside, like when I was first saved, or sanctified and
filled with the Holy Spirit. And I rejoiced, because I could see that God was perfecting a
work in my life.
The Bible lesson we taught the next day
was about John the Baptist who preached repentance from sin and producing the "fruits
of righteousness" in our lives. And for the first time, I saw repentence not only as
a necessity for salvation, a duty to God, and the only way to be changed inside. But I saw
repentence as an awesome priviledge and gift. HALLELUJAH! PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!
Body Wisdom: Authority, Submission, Rebellion, Judgement,
and Mercy in the Body of Christ.