In yesterday’s post, Joel wrote about finding cell leaders who are F.A.T. (Faithful, Available, Teachable).  Let me take this line of thought one more step and encourage you to look for cell leaders who are F.A.S.T.  (Faithful, Available, SUBMISSIVE, Teachable).  As Christ followers, we are taught to “submit to one another.”

Indeed, submission is one of the most misunderstood and mishandled concepts in the church today.  Let’s first discuss what submission is not.  Submission does not mean that an individual loses his/her identity and becomes a non-person.  Submission does not mean blind obedience.  Submission does not mean that a violation of the law or abuse is tolerated.

So, what is submission?  Literally, submission means “to yield oneself to some power or authority; give up, surrender.”  In terms of cell life, it means diverting one’s independent will insistent on “flying solo,” and choosing to live interdependently in the context of a believing community.  Have you noticed that when the scriptures speak of submission, the command is articulated in the context of relationships?   You will also note that the command is reciprocal (mutual submission).   Future, please understand that submission is not simply a course of action, but an attitude one possesses when filled with the Holy Spirit.

Submission is also different than obedience.  Obedience is doing what you are told.  A friend once said to me, “Any old bird dog can be obedient.”  I reckon he’s right with proper training and the desire to obey his master.  Submission, however, is anticipating what is wanted or needed and doing it before being told.  This is the underlying attitude of a submissive cell pastor or leader:  “One continual goal in my life is to make others successful in the eyes of God.”

Authors Harold and Bette Gillogly write, “Submission simply means to defer or yield to the wishes of another.  There’s no thought in it of one person being better or smarter than another.  It is, rather, a non-rebellious attitude of life.  Day-by-day living with nothing to prove.  We don’t have to make sure we get what’s coming to us.  We don’t have to make sure other people treat us the way we deserve to be treated….It’s learning to walk in the steps of Jesus.  It’s letting God the Father make us like His Son as we submit to Him and to one another with the heart of a servant.” 

May I underscore one thing from the ideas presented to you above?  One who is submissive is also a servant.  They go hand in hand, don’t they?

A closing word of caution to cell pastors and cell leaders.  If you are using Ephesians 5:21 as a whip to keep others in line, you are causing great damage to your cell and church family.  The Word of God should never be used in such a way.

Meditate today on the beautiful interplay of submission that we see in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


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