In my book, Submission Isn’t for Sissies: Why God Calls Us to Do It Anyway, I tell a story about a girl that was in my student ministry (we will call her Crystal).
Submitting to an authority that you do not agree with is hard, but we shouldn’t forget another big reason why we submit: for the gospel.
Crystal had met with one of her coaches to tell her that she was going to be missing a basketball game because of a church event. To her surprise, her coach was outraged and benched Crystal for the next two games as punishment. After much prayer, Crystal approached the coach who explained that only the truly committed girls get to play on her team, and that she might even bench Crystal the rest of the season. Crystal knew that the coach was not a Christian but was shocked at this outwardly hateful reaction.
When she was done describing the heart-wrenching events, I couldn’t help but ask her the obvious question: “So . . . what did you do?”
Without hesitation Crystal looked up, and with tears streaming down her face said, “The only thing I could do. I did everything I could to talk highly of my coach to my teammates, encourage her, and to work hard at practice.”
I must admit I was so shocked by the answer that I couldn’t help but ask, “Why? Why would you do such a thing when she is so horrible to you? She clearly doesn’t deserve it!”
It was then that she gave the response that was such a perfect example of true submission: “It doesn’t matter if she deserves it or not. I’m not really doing it for her anyway. I’m doing it for God.”
Did you catch it? When Crystal was faced with a difficult situation with an authority, she followed the steps that Jesus showed us in Matthew 26. (Read more about those in Monday’s post).
Step 1: She prayed.
Crystal could have first ran to her friends who would have immediately taken her side, but instead she prayed before doing anything. After talking to God about it, she felt like approaching her coach would be the right thing to do.
Step 2: She was honest about what she wanted.
Crystal went to her coach, face-to-face, to tell her that she felt it was unfair that she be seated on the bench. Even when her coach reacted harshly, Crystal was respectful in how she talked to her.
Step 3: She submitted to what her coach decided.
Crystal knew that she could probably throw a huge fit, get a lot of people on her side, and even try to campaign to get the coach fired. But she didn’t. She finished the season and worked as hard as she could to respect her coach.
Here is the reality: It is easy to throw fits. It is easy to demand that you get your way. Submitting to an authority that you do not agree with is hard, but we shouldn’t forget another big reason why we submit: for the gospel.
First Peter 3:1–2 shows a great picture of this. Notice the reason why the wife is encouraged to submit:
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
Did you catch it? Your submission points others to Christ! Why? Because it is so radical and so crazy in the world’s eyes that, when you do it, people take notice.
It also shows people what Christianity truly is: Giving up your own life and desires and letting God take the lead. Your submission is the perfect illustration of this deep spiritual truth.
In the midst of the hardships that submission can bring, don’t forget the impact you can have on someone’s life.
Instead of running away, God called Crystal to stay and submit. Crystal obeyed, and God used that tough year in her life to teach her so many things. Crystal continued to show love to her coach and refused to gossip about her. After much prayer, she decided to stay on the basketball team anyway, hoping for more opportunities to share Christ with her coach. She got those opportunities, including a time when she was able to share the gospel because her coach was so shocked at how this teenage girl treated her in spite of sitting her on the bench.
In the midst of the hardships that submission can bring, don’t forget the impact you can have on someone’s life. The dates, dances, and pep rallies will all fade away, but you will never forget the life change in which God allows you to be a part.
What about you? Are you willing to embrace God’s call to submit in order to shine the white hot spotlight on Him? Tell me about it below. And, be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy of Submission Isn’t for Sissies: Why You Should Do It Anyway.