spiritual pathways and the call to submission

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There’s an uncomfortable situation you’ll have to face when you desire to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:1-2). When pathways of spiritual change begin to be cut into your being because you’re more and more seeing Jesus as beautiful, and you’re choosing to turn from your old ways, and your mind is being transformed through the Word by the Spirit, and you’re choosing the way of the cross — it’s then that the ways you’re choosing will seem foolish to those who don’t know the Lord. They’ll call your decisions foolish. They’ll call you foolish. Don’t be surprised. Understand what God tells you ahead of time:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.””

Your choices as you follow the way of the cross will be seen as foolish. God set it up that way.

“…Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Corinthians 1:18-25)

Know this, though: God’s words to us in I Corinthians aren’t meant to explain why He’s set it up that way. He’s not even necessarily meaning to help us feel better when we’re called foolish because we want to follow the path of a crucified Savior. His words in I Corinthians are meant to awaken within us something better:

“Instead of a persuasive explanation, this passage is a call to submission. Paul says, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” In order for us to be saved we have to give up on the idea that we are wise. We have to give up on the idea that we know what is best…Jesus Christ, dying on the cross, and then giving the message of the Gospel to a bunch of fishermen, is the wisdom of God. Sending out men and women all across the world to places where they do not even speak the same language, is the wisdom of God. And God specifically chose this way of salvation, in part, because he knew that it would look foolish. He knew that our proud hearts would want to reject it. And therefore, the only way to accept it is to be humbled. The only way to be saved is to trust God, to believe that he knows what he is doing, and to believe that he knows better than us. And if you resist this idea of submission, and do not find yourself drawing closer to God, do not be surprised. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).” (full quote at http://haretranslation.blogspot.com)

In uncomfortable situations, we tend toward defensiveness. We fight back (in our hearts and minds if not out loud). Or we become angry — at God. “God, I’m trying to be renewed by the transforming of my mind; I’m trying to not conform to this world; and now, though, I’m being called foolish. Your ways make me feel so uncomfortable!”

But Christianity is not a call to comfortable.

Christianity is a call to submission: a call to believe that God knows what he is doing, and that he knows better than us. Christianity is a call to something better than the comfort our old pathways would call us toward.

We’re called to the place of dependence in all things — in those that make sense, and in those that don’t. For He is completely good. His ways are always perfect. So foolishness? Yes. But we submit. Discomfort? Sure. But we submit.

We submit and we trust.

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About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and currently work at two jobs for which I'm very grateful -- part-time at my kids' school, and as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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4 Responses to spiritual pathways and the call to submission

  1. Joe Butler says:

    “But Christianity is not a call to comfortable. Christianity is a call to submission:”
    Excellent point here. And it’s amazing how many actual Christians don’t understand this. Christianity is an “all in” proposition. We either give God everything, or we’re wasting our time. Great post.
    -Joe

    • Jill says:

      Joe, thanks so much for your comments! And yes, what an honor it is to realize we’ve been given the amazing knowledge that we’re called to something better. To have been given the ability to submit (to His knowing better than us) is the supreme gift!

  2. Laura says:

    well said friend:)

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