The Disciplines of Submission and Service

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stop Look and Listen

We are continuing our series on Spiritual Disciplines. Here are the five practices or disciplines we have looked at, with a phrase to help us remember:

  • Meditation (ruminate)
  • Prayer (talk honestly with God)
  • Simplicity (don’t love things)
  • Solitude (get alone and quiet)
  • Study (dig deeper)

We’re also reading through the Gospels during Lent. You can find a reading schedule here.

Submission and Service are related, so we’re covering them the same week.

The discipline of submission involves the spirit with which we view others. It is an attitude of mutual subordination, where we give up our rights in deference to the rights of others. It is actually a form of self-denial.

Jesus said in Mark 8:34-35,

If you want to be my follower, you have to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

Jesus was actually revolutionary when it came to treating other people with respect. In a time when women and children were treated as property, and men (especially rabbis) just didn’t talk to them, Jesus took women seriously, and talked to both women and children, shocking his own disciples.

The New Testament calls on all believers to submit to and love one another. The Sermon on the Mount talks about this kind of living, as well.

Jesus said that the way to go up is to go down.  He said,

If you want to be the greatest, you need to become the servant of all.

As always, Jesus is our great example. He also said this:

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Our pride (the NT calls it our flesh) resists the idea of service. At the very least, it wants us to get recognition for our great service, turning it into a self-righteous act. But true service is content to be hidden, and doesn’t discriminate between great and small acts of service.

Everyone can serve, and no service is small or insignificant. It can be more than just something we do – it can be a way of life, and it should be. In fact, it is part of CrossPoint’s mission statement.

Here are some practical suggestions for to help us with these disciplines:

  • Ask God to change our hearts to be more like Christ in our service – to BE servants
  • Ask God to help us look at people through His eyes – as people of worth and people in need
  • Keep our service hidden
  • Small, simple acts of service are important and significant
  • Guard the reputation of others (don’t gossip)
  • Be nice
  • Learn hospitality
  • Listen
  • Bear one another’s burdens and sorrows
  • Learn to BE served

Let’s all ask God to help us see others as he sees them, and make us servants.