Jenna's the curtains!

     The Peter who penned the lines, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (1 Peter 2:13) is the same Peter who said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Clearly, outright rebellion as a rule of life is forbidden for the Christian; believers are not to be one-man Viking raiding crews, charting their own egocentric courses across the seven seas, plundering and pillaging whatever they find personally inconvenient.* On the other hand though, we are not to unthinkingly align ourselves with every program and wind of doctrine that comes our way. Tempest-toss’d sea, anyone? The dividing line is in giving to Caesar what is his and giving to God what is His; Caesar gets his blasted taxes, but not our worship, our hearts, or our minds. Though we find ourselves within a given culture, we do not accomodate ourselves to the culture. Positive submission to God’s will rather than self-serving defiance (which is by definition negative) should define our character.     
     The attitude of perpetual defiance is not a mark of regeneration- it is a mark of fallen humanity’s desire to be their own authority. This is not to say that we’re not swimming against the stream, because we are. The fact of the matter is that we are encamped in enemy territory; we have, by grace, come to recognize and love the values by which the world was first defined, and we are met with the antagonism of a world which redefines those values as it sees fit. This antagonism, however, still finds a home base in that part of our hearts which does not yet submit fully to God- it strikes a chord within us due to that sinfulness that is still a part of us. This is what we have to burn down and walk away from (to repeat my mad ramblings yet again!)- not necessarily always a structure or guild or something over us, but the underlying depravity that is still within us that finds commonality with the institution or whatever the thing is in question. That is what needs to be put to death, the sin we still cling to that finds its corresponding jigsaw puzzle piece in the world.
     Pastor Bob’s message yesterday on Ephesians 5:15-21 touched on the many aspects of submission that are manifest in the Christian’s life, especially as touches the unity of the church. One of the main thrusts of the message was that submission is a defining characteristic of the believer, as true submission is possible for the first time in the renewed heart and will of one indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Yielding to the authority of the church is the evidence of having yielded to Christ’s lordship for salvation! Having been the lone wolf type for many years (and deriving great glee from upsetting everyone along the way), it is both admonishment and encouragement to me to realize that submission is how I demonstrate the reality of my love for Christ. Knowing that I have been empowered to do so joyfully and yet often still do not compels me to pour my heart out to God in prayer and plead for a heart like Christ’s, whose greatest joy was in submitting to the Father. Bob reminded us yesterday that He will subject Himself to the Father for eternity- hearing that definitely softened my heart to the idea of surrendering some of the “rights” that I think I have!
     Pictures of Josiah and Jenna from this weekend soften my heart as well- seeing them jump on the trampoline whenever Laurie played the right music was one of the funniest things from the past week for me. A.J. is an adorable little nugget! Jenna wearing Kristin’s scarf around her head and wandering around like an itinerant Russian widow with drool all over the front of her shirt was hilarious too! Josiah protesting that Auntie Kristin was sitting in his thinking chair? Priceless. I wonder what he would say if he saw the mass of terrifying growth I’ve been calling a beard for the last few days.
     I shudder to think.

     Thank you Lord, for nieces and nephews, and for jobs, and for sermons, for supernaturally-gifted humility, for reminders, for S’Mores Pop-Tarts (although they’re super unhealthy!), for guitars, for sweaters, for Mexican restaurants less than a block from where you live, and yes… for beards.

*Seriously though, Vikings were a bunch of jerks. For real. And if you want to defend them, well, you’re probably a jerk too.

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