Celebrate Discipline :: SUBMISSION


SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: habits that nurture spiritual growth; exercises unto godliness.

SUBMISSION : aligning my will and freedom with God’s will and freedom; submitting to others in love and reverence for Christ.

“Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” ~ Romans 12:1

The Discipline of Submission has been abused by our culture and by religion. When we make the Discipline the goal it puts the wrong emphasis on it. The Disciplines themselves are a means to an end. They themselves are not the goal. Their value is the means God uses to give us the freedom we seek.

The freedom that corresponds with the Spiritual Discipline of Submission is the ability to lay down the burden of always getting our own way. It helps when we realize that the world won’t end if we don’t get what we want. It may be painful today, but life does go on. It’s up to me to trust that what God wants is far better for me than what I want.

In Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster we see Submission functions in several ways:

  1. The first act of submission is to the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We are to yield our mind, body and spirit for His purpose; living each day in an attitude of surrender.
  2. The second act of submission is to God’s Word. As we submit ourselves to Holy Scripture we look to the Holy Spirit for interpretation and application to our life.
  3. The third act of submission is to our family. With a submissive heart family members graciously make allowances for each other, listen and share as required.
  4. The fourth act of submission is to our neighbors. By performing small acts of kindness, sharing food or tools, caring for children, we are acting with a submissive heart. 
  5. The fifth act of submission is to the Christian community. Just as in our family and our neighborhood, we are called to serve the members of the body of Christ. Serving poor, the sick, or simply working in nursery can all be acts of submission.
  6. The sixth act of submission is to the despised and broken in our world. Like Mother Teresa and others before her we must find ways to identify with those who are rejected.
  7. The seventh act of submission is to our world at large. We don’t live in isolation. Our environmental responsibility affects people around the world and generations to come. We must live daily with the future in mind.

While these six areas of submission are all vital, the primary one I’m focusing on is the first. I believe when we yield our mind, body and spirit to God the others will fall in place. 

There’s no doubt that submitting ourselves to God is the most difficult of all. For me it is a daily, sometimes moment by moment, challenge. But as we keep Christ front and center of our Spiritual Disciplines we will be drawn closer to his heart and He will make the rest possible.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What experiences with submission have you had?

If you can’t see the screen below CLICK HERE to watch this week’s music video by Aaron Shust.


Celebrate Discipline by Richard Foster
Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
So You Want To Be Like Christ by Charles Swindoll
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Photo credit: designpics / 123RF Stock Photo

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