Submission and The Solemn Assembly

The 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 to participate.

"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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

 

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