Friday, May 15, 2015

SUBMIT? YES. OBEY? NOT SO MUCH.

“Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” (1 Pet. 3:1)

Would anyone knowingly suggest that a woman is to obey an abusive, immoral husband?

Of course not.
But, the issue becomes much more murky when we begin to apply the concept of submission and obedience to our leaders. In the realm of leadership, the teaching usually follows the line of submission and obedience being the same thing.

This holds true for both governmental and ecclesiastical leadership, and is taught mainly by the independent pentecostal/charismatic groups. To an outsider, the reason is obvious, but to those within the groups, the hidden agenda is not quite as transparent.

One of the verses from which this false teaching comes is found in Heb. 13:17—
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.

As noted before, this verse clearly makes a distinction between ‘submit’ and ‘obey.’ The failure to make this distinction is what has led many people into bondage.

If someone escapes from the bondage imposed by this false concept, they usually go to the other extreme and become fiercely independent, resulting in a completely different kind of slavery.

If we desire to apply this particular verse in light of today’s church, then it is necessary that we ask a simple question: Do they (the leaders) truly watch for my soul?

How can I know that they do?

Well, that’s easy enough to observe—they tell me every week that they pray for us on a continual basis.

THAT'S NOT ENOUGH!

How do they SHOW that they are watching for your soul?

The answer to that is found in a previous verse from the same chapter: 
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation.” (Heb. 13:7)
1. Have they spoken the Word of God to you? Do they continually bring forth the word?
The author is not speaking of regular Sunday sermons here, but rather, the Teaching of the Word of God.

Do they teach you what the Bible says? Or, do they teach you some principle they want you to “get” and use a verse or two to back up their thoughts?

The difference is HUGE and of utmost importance. Make sure you know the difference.

2. Is their faith something that you can follow? Is it something you can see?

Again, they can SAY they “are believing God for” such and such, but do they LIVE a life of faith?

The author is not speaking here of believing God for a certain manifestation such as healing or finance. He is writing about the life of faith that results in a changed character, ie, “the end of their conversation.”

Is their life conducted in such a manner that you would want to imitate them?

Problem is, very few of our church leaders today allow us to even get a glimpse of how they live.

This was not the way of Jesus (John 1:38-39).

The upshot, then, is that if you have chosen to go to a particular church and these two questions are left begging, then you have two options before you: 1—you should do the right thing and find a better church; 2—submit to the leadership, but not to the point of obeying them in everything.

I am trying to make it abundantly clear that submission is not the same as nor equal to obedience. (click to tweet)

Submission is an attitude.
Obedience is an act.

Let us consider one last verse—(Eph. 5:21).

Would you extend your obedience that far? Would you obey the person sitting in front of you in church simply because that is what this verse says?

It is the exact same word for submit that is used in the other places concerning leadership.

Simply because you may not obey one of your leaders is no sign that you are rebellious.


Let that sink deep into your psyche. It will become an important part of your walk with the Lord in these last days.

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