Submission – For men who desire to lead

Genesis 32:24-31 (ESV) 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
This is such a cool story as we see Jacob in a battle of strength against this man who we find out later is the angel of The Lord, a theophany of the preincarnate Christ (V 30), and in this battle Jacob was actually winning. His resistance against the angel was so powerful that the angel “could not prevail against Jacob”. The angel was actually losing the fight so the angel touches Jacobs hip socket and dislocates Jacob’s leg in mid battle in verse 25. I had to ask as I re-read this familiar story how was it that Jacob was winning this battle against the angel? Was he more powerful? Was this an “off day” for the angel? Well God allowed Jacob or rather allowed the angel to hold back strength so that Jacob thought he was prevailing.
God had to make Jacob weak and lame so that he would stop wrestling against God. Interestingly Jacob actually gained power when he lost it or we could say he conquered, when he failed. Now Jacob had to rely on God completely!
What about you this week? Have you been wrestling with God and won? Remember we win – when we lose the battle with God. So we can say The Lord wrestles with us so that we can lose and in that losing we learn to rely totally on Him. As long as we have any strength left our tendency is to keep on fighting. I can remember my older brother Roy and I used to wrestle all the time and he would be pinning me down on the floor until I would say “OK I give” but as long as I could still muster up any strength I would fight with all I had. Roy was older than me and bigger and stronger and sometimes he would let me fight and he would hold off until I thought I finally had him beat and then with a force pin me to the floor exhausted and humiliated realizing that the fight lasted as long as it did only because he allowed it to go on to tire me out.
When our self confidence and all of our resources and strength are sapped we call out “OK God I give!” and that is when we win. Our spiritual journey becomes one of victory as we learn to submit more and more and when we submit we are always led to the cross. In this story with Jacob we see a changed man from the man who had tricked his brother out of a bowl of soup. As Jacob learns to submit here God gives him a new name – Israel, and he is changed from “supplanter” to “he who strives with God”.
Paul would say “my power is perfected in weakness” and “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:9-10)
Jesus, who was and is always our perfect example shoed us when He could have used His strength, or called a legion of angels He submitted to The Father instead and became obedient to death on the cross.
Remember that He will have His own way in our lives. He may allow you to win the fight for a time but ultimately He will do whatever it takes to put you in a place of submission.
Question 1: Is there anything that you are currently fighting with God over?
Submission is the beginning of our strength in our walk with God. (excerpt from Setting Captives Free)
This is a lost art for men I’m afraid. I too am a man, and also married. So many of us men have heard Ephesians 5:22 quoted, that we fail to read Ephesians 5:21!
Let’s look at the section for a second.
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.[c]
Marriage—Christ and the Church
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
The Apostle and rabbi Paul, tells us the days are evil, and because of that, we need to be wise stewards of our time here on the planet. His admonishment to us is to not waste our time on lame things, like drinking, instead to be filled with the Spirit of God which manifest itself in specific ways in our life, to show those around us Jesus, to make Him real to them. One of those areas is found in vs. 21, “Submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
So in order to not waste my time here, and in proof of walking in the Holy Spirit, I am to submit to one another.
I included vs. 22 for you to see that it begins another section of the chapter. So vs. 21 comes before he mentions wives in vs.22. There’s no getting around it, vs. 21 is for all of us men.
As a will of God, that you submit to one another, let me ask the question; Do you? In the context of Church body life, do you submit to someone? Is submission a joy to you? It should be, it’s the will of the Lord! And how can doing a will of God not be joyful in our Spirit?
You might ask who do you submit too? The passage simply says to one another. It reads as if the early Christian thinkers saw Jesus submission and servant hood as an example to them of how to live amongst one another. They must have taken Jesus word in John 13:16 that says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is he who sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things blessed are you if you do them.” Jesus just got done washing the disciples feet. What a radical act of making himself less than his motley crue of disciples.
There is great humility is submitting to another. Pride is the enemy here and will do all it can to prevent such actions. Men can talk a great game of wanting to follow Christ, yet I find in my own heart that this submission is the barometer of the heart. It is the physicians tool to open me up and really see what is ailing me! Oh, that yucky prideful mind that wants to be the leader! Or does it? The following passage helps us see the link of submissiveness, humility and pride.
1st Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Another question to men; Do you see your submission as a opportunity to show your wife, kids, Church and future generation of leaders the humility of Christ? Are you a leader? “Yes, you say!” We’ll then, it would be best that you start leading in this area too! How will they know the submission of Christ to the will of the Father, or to his fellow brothers, if you do not yourself practice it yourself as his disciple? Oh, don’t pass up on this beautiful work of glorifying the Savior!
Other ways to show submission within the Church is to follow the admonishments that we find in the following scriptures.
Hebrews 13:17New King James Version (NKJV)
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
1st Thessalonians 5:12-13
12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
God’s value is seen when sinful pride comes against us, to prevent us from showing Christ actions to the world, and we fight against it through this act of love to one another. Submission becomes the joyful battle field to kill my pride.
It’s no doubt God’s will that you have this weapon
To fight sinful desires of pride
By joyful humility to one another
Showing value of our Saviors love and life
To those whom need to see the Christ
Let’s pray and ask the Father to help us not fail in this crucial area of leadership.
A faithful leader is a submissive leader.