I Didn’t Sign Up For This
The parallels between our decisions in the recent US Presidential election and the decisions we’ve faced at our home church are uncanny. Confronted with a choice between two flawed solutions, believers can become conflicted, antagonistic or obstinate.
As an American, specifically, but more generally as a member of the human race, one of my biggest struggles is submission. Since the first two human got this gravely wrong, how am I to get it right? It just goes against our grain to be submissive to the leadership God has given us, primarily because in our culture, we define submission as “brainlessly and foolishly following regardless of what the leader does or says.” Biblically, this is simply the wrong definition. Let me suggest that submission is “to rest in God’s sovereignty, and in faith work in cooperation with the people He has allowed into leadership, allowing my Spirit-led influence to make an impact for the greater good.”
OK, so that’s a bit of a philosophical mouthful. What am I really getting at? Simply put: God is in control of our circumstances. Duh. Few would argue against that point. Really? Maybe not in word, but I see (and do so myself) in deed rather often. We get so caught up in the circumstances, we forget the fact that our circumstances are no surprise to God. In fact, he allowed them. Why? To grow us. Period.
The question becomes, “Are we willing to grow?” Am I teachable through my circumstances.
Getting caught up in our circumstances takes on many forms – debate, problem solving, strategizing, being overwhelmed, despair – to name just a few. Oh, I’m really good at all of those. But if we stop for a moment and recognize the truth of Prov. 16:9,
“Man plans, but God directs his steps.”
…that all the planning and expertise we bring to the table does not change God’s sovereign control. Why? Because He knows exactly what each of us needs to grow – to become more Christ-like. And because He loves us too much to just leave us as we are. On our own we are a train wreck waiting to happen.
In contested elections, and in controversial church votes, there is a lot of opinions – a lot of “He-said. She-said.” We can get caught up in the minutia and in trying to find the truth, but don’t miss the most important truth – God is more concerned with our response than the outcome of the vote:
He cares about our heart attitude as individuals (Eph 4:22-24)
- I have to make the choice to accept the circumstances, rather than buck against them.
- I must choose to work with, not against the leaders God has given me.
- And I must remain teachable, knowing that whatever wrong they do, although I am concerned (often very concerned), I am not in control of their leadership positions or decisions. Along with His sovereign appointment to leadership positions comes divine accountability. Am I looking within my own heart, realizing that God loves me and is working to grow me, if only I can allow Him to change me?