Continuing our series on The Treasure in the Field, A Submissive Spirit
If we are to take our place in the kingdom, we must learn how to respond to authority. There are at least two elements in the ways in which the persons of the Trinity relate to one another which will help us.
Firstly, when the scriptures speak of authoritative relationships, the emphasis is on honouring more than obedience. Certainly the Son came to do his Father’s will; he came to be obedient. But that obedience was motivated by something even more fundamental. Jesus was obedient because he wanted to glorify his Father. Where there is a desire to honour, the issue of obedience ceases to be an overbearing problem. It becomes a delight.
Secondly, authoritative relationships as God intended them to be are founded on voluntarism. There is no question about the fact that God is sovereign, the Lord over all. His authority is not in doubt. But when we reflect on how he deals with us in our own lives, we marvel at the way in which he respects the integrity of our wills. There is no reason why he should have to do so. But in his gentle way he waits for us to yield our rights to him. He waits for us to acknowledge freely the Lordship that is already his by rights.
Charles Colson wrote: “What king would ever sacrifice himself for his people? Kings sacrifice their subjects, not themselves.” In God’s kingdom, authority is not coercive. Whether in the home, the church, the work-place, or in society at large, the godly authority of the kingdom does not ride arrogantly over the integrity of the individual. When true authority is recognized, people will freely and voluntarily submit to it.