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Me First! ?

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake. I Peter 2:13.

Over the years I have received two criticisms which I consider to be two of the best compliments I ever got.  One was that I talked “too much about Jesus.”  I only hope that I have talked as much about Jesus as that suggests.  The other was that I had “quit preaching and gone to meddling.”  In this case, I believe that, in the best sense of the word, the Gospel is meddlesome.  It has to do with where we live.  Peter certainly thought so.  This verse is the heading for a section (2:13-3:12) on a Christian’s relationships.  It identifies a basic relationship principle: submit.  (Do not read this as “submit to evil” or unhealthy domination.  It is qualified by “for the Lord’s sake” and the other’s best interests.)

          The title of a little book by Paul Tournier,  names the fundamental human dilemma—To Resist or to Surrender.  He says,

“Whether it is a farmer selling a cow at the fair or two theologians discussing doctrine, an adolescent who is trying to extract a privilege from his unwilling parents or diplomats who are negotiating war or peace, there are always two interests, two convictions, and in the last analysis, two wills which confront each other” (Tournier, To Resist Or To Surrender, 13).

          The prevailing emphasis in our culture is on assertiveness and the Biblical text seems so naive when it makes submission the foundation stone of human relationships:  others first, give vs receive, serve vs be served.  Some sample Bible verses echo it:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  (Eph 5:21)
Honor one another above yourselves. (Roms. 12:10)
In humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of your should look not only to your owns interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:3b-4)

Conventional thought says, “if you don’t watch out for yourself no one else will.”  The Bible says, “yes—the Christian will.”

          Since we live in a day, as someone has said, “The words of the Christian community have outrun its exemplary living,” we need to renew our commitment to this principle. (IB,113).

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2 Responses

  1. I like the critiquing – complimenting view of talking to much about Jesus and moving into meddling while preaching. I knew a friend was offering me preaching encouragement after a service when he would say, “you where meddling today”. I translated that into “the scripture spoke to something in my life”.

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