Do you know your place or position? I hope you know your position at your job (it won’t be your job for long if you don’t). Maybe you have a place at the family dinner table. I bet there’s a place at the grocery store you like to park. Do you have a favourite position to sleep in?
Through much of our lives, we know our place and, most of the time, we’re prepared—if not willing—to take that position. So why is it so difficult for us to take our place in the kingdom of God? Sure, we’ve got a place once we accept Jesus as our Lord, but there is much more to it than that.
Way back in Judges, a woman—yes, a woman!—was judge over Israel. Through Deborah’s wisdom in hearing from God, Israel was able to defeat Sisera and his Canaanite army. Through her joy in victory, she sang a song.
When the princes in Israel take the lead,
when the people willingly offer themselves—
praise the Lord!
Judges 5:2 (NIV)
In modern language, I believe this verse could read something like this:
When leaders take their place and lead,
when the people willingly submit—
praise the Lord!
Deborah’s song goes on to describe the battle, then she closes.
So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!
But may they who love you be like the sun
when it rises in its strength.
Judges 5:31 (NIV)
In modern language, I believe this verse may read something like this:
No one can deny you, O Lord!
The Church will rise and endure
when those who love you take their proper place.
The only time things went well for Israel was when they had a leader who first submitted to God and led from a place of humility and a people who submitted themselves to their godly leader. Every other time in their history, Israel fell into slavery and war.
We may not be in a physical battle, but we are certainly in a spiritual war. Like Israel, the Church is never more victorious than when we take our proper places. Some are called to lead, but we are all called to follow.
To whom then should we be submitting?
God. No matter who we are, where we’re from, or what our place is, we must always submit to God over anything or anyone else.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (NIV)
Each other. If we can’t even love each other as members of the same body, how will we ever win anyone else over with love? The greatest part of loving someone is submitting to them.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
Human authority. As much as it may pain us to do so, we are all under human law and authority. So long as we are not asked to go against the Word of God, we are expected to submit.
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
1 Peter 2:13-14 (NIV)
And how is all of this supposed to help us to be victorious?
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
1 Peter 2:15 (NIV)
Nearly every argument the world has against the Church can be silenced if only we would live as we’ve been called to. If we take our places as children of God, submitting to Him, each other, and those in authority over us. It is only when we take our positions that we can truly wage our spiritual war and win.
Read: Judges 3-5, Luke 7:31-50