The Expectant Life: The Duty of Submission

The Expectant Life: The Duty of Submission July 10, 2007

No, not mutual submission. I haven’t switched to the egalitarian camp. The title refers to the duty all Christians have to submit to the will of God.

The pattern of submission to the Father’s will was laid down by Christ. John’s gospel in particular emphasizes how the Son submitted to the Father’s will, though Luke records Christ praying to the Father, “Not my will but thine be done.” (Lk. 22:42) That’s a loaded statement, one chock full of meaning for us. Here is the mighty and majestic Son of God humbly expressing His desire to do only what the Father wants. The Son did not come to earth to do as He saw fit, to enact justice and vengeance and grace wherever He thought it best to do so. He came, very simply, to do just what God wanted Him to do. He submitted to His father’s will, and handed us a blueprint for how we should live.

My line of argument should not be read as proposing a subjectivized, over-spiritualized understanding of the Christian life in which we only act if we have several “signs” that we should do so. The Son knew the Father’s character, and He acted accordingly. He also prayed to His father, and then acted to bring His Father’s will to pass. So it is with us. We are submitted to the Father’s will, desiring to do all that He wants, and yet as we pray and study the Word and take counsel, we act accordingly. We are not passive patsies. We are assertive agents who take dominion of our little sphere of the world, to the glory of God.

And yet as we do so there is so much ahead of us that is unclear, so much that we do not have figured out. Our family members are quite ill, and we do not what will come of this. Our career choices lie ahead of us, and which way shall we go? We are aging, and unsure where we will live for the duration of our life. We do not know what the Lord has in store for us regarding children, and so we wait to find out. So much of our lives involve waiting. Yet even this waiting is a form of obedience. It is a sign that we are submitted to God’s will. We can trust Him, and fight the natural anxieties that arise. In this way we are like children who obey the words of their parents even when they do not know what is coming ahead. Such children beautifully model submission. So we are to be when unsure about this life. So we are to handle our potential anxieties, fears, and worries. Not as raging, squawling infants, but as quiet, trusting children, those who wait patiently for their parents’ guidance. When our hopes seem frustrated, or our love fails to heal a dying body, or great uncertainty looms before us in our careers, we do not wail or despair. We remember the faith of the little child, and the demeanor of the Lord Christ, and so we live, waiting, expectant, submitted.

Browse Our Archives