after You// submitting to everyone

week 3 of the "after You" series has me really feeling the weight of God's love.  though He does not intend for it to feel heavy, it should rest on us with a certain amount of pressure, reminding us to remember what He suffered, and encouraging us to sacrifice in our day-to-day.  

week one 
we understood that even raising our children is an act of submission to Him

week two
we partially tackled the ever-popular call for wives to submit to their husbands

and this week we will look into ways we are called to submit to everyone

we are called to submit to one another
as we read last week in Ephesians 5:21, God desires that we live in harmony.  we are told to submit to one another.  it is an equal partnership of submitting; it's working together.  God does not say one needs to act before the other in order for this to work, He just says it needs to be done.  

we are called to love our neighbors 
Mark 12:31 makes it very clear.  next to loving God with everything we have, we are to love our neighbor... as ourselves.  it seems too difficult, doesn't it?  we are so selfish with our own self, our own life.. and here God tells us to give it up for someone else. 

pride is at the root of every evil.  it drives us away from compassion, and so, away from love.  God is love.  if we hold our pride, we block the ability to love.  we were made to reach out to strangers, love our enemies and embrace the frail.  it's not just our neighbor in proximity, but our neighbor in the human race.

we are called to love the weak
James 1:27 has always stuck out to me as God explains (inspired through James) that

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

though i am certain that God cares for men just as much as He does for women and children, i've always been curious of why He doesn't mention men here.  the word for "look after" in the original Greek is a word that means "to go see; to relieve."  the people He mentions are women and children.  why doesn't He call us to care for men?

and it hit me.  He is not speaking of gender, but security.  children are orphaned. women are widowed.  men were secure in the days of the Bible, and women and children only were if they were secured by a man.  

we are called to care for those who cannot care for themselves.  

Matthew 25:40 brings this point home even more as Jesus Himself tells us that when we serve those who are in need, we serve Him.  

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

we are called to love our enemies
as you may think that we have already discussed the least, we haven't.  sisters, this is where it gets difficult.  probably more difficult than submitting to our husbands.

Leviticus 19:18 elaborates on the command by God to love our neighbor to include 

"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, 
but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."

i personally love the picture this scripture paints.  it's easy to love when things are easy, but we need encouragement for when things get tough.  true submission happens when we put someone before ourselves.  here, instead of seeking revenge or bearing a grudge, we would be wise, and Godly, if we love.

to be honest, i do not want to love anyone who has done me wrong.  but God gave me and you, and everyone else, a heart for those we hate.  it's only our pride that keeps us from realizing the power we have.  it's our choice to live miserably, not the fault of those who have wronged us.  it is our choice to withhold forgiveness, and impede healing.  it is our choice to let something amazing die to pride.

what moments has God presented to you 
as opportunities to let your pride die 
and submit to a stranger, the weak, or an enemy?  

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