ENSURING FAILURE



If we fail to submit, we submit to fail. 

One of the fundamental questions any organization has to answer is, “who is in charge here.” It may seem like an easy question to answer, but my years as a leader have taught me that this question is often ignored. In our homes, workplaces, and relationships, submitting to leadership is non-negotiable if we want to avoid disfunction and achieve our best. 

If everyone is in charge, no one is in charge.

Even when organizations take the time to develop comprehensive organizational charts, there is always a natural human tendency to drift over time. I believe this drift is a direct result of our struggle to submit to leadership. We all need to be reminded of the danger of blurring the submission lines when they aren’t supposed to be blurred. 

Blurred lines lead to messy lives.

Recently, I was watching a group of kids walk down the halls of our church in a line. Two leadership lessons stood out. First, the teacher was giving clear instructions that the kids were following. Second, a line leader was setting the path and the pace of the group as they walked down the hall together. It was easy to see that the kid at the front was happy to be in the Line Leader’s role. 

All the kids submitted to the Line Leader’s leadership, who submitted to the teacher’s supervision. As a result, the kids successfully walked down the hall in an orderly manner and arrived safely at their destination. Submission is so foundational and straightforward that a group of kids can understand and benefit from it. However, submission is also simple to mess up. 

If we fail to submit, we submit to fail.

Identifying the missing link of submission helps explains why the churches struggle to keep momentum. We are not submitting to Christ. I often tell my church that there is one man in charge of every decision made at our church; that man is not me. Every Pastor and every church in every town reports to the same guy, Jesus Christ. He is the great Teacher, and He calls some to serve as Line Leaders. If we don’t get this simple lesson, we will buy into the lie that ignoring submission issues will make them go away. 

I love these profound words from Dr. Tom Constable, “If God said it, it’s worth listening to.” Through Paul, God spoke about “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” in Ephesians 5:21.

The word “supporting” is a suitable synonym for the concept of “submitting” that Paul has in mind. Our motivation for submitting is built on love and respect. Submission requires that we trust God, respect others, develop Godly character, and do the right thing. The profound mystery of the Gospel calls for submission to Christ by His church. 

When it’s clear, submit. 

Christ modeled this very concept of submission in at least three ways. As you journey through the scriptures that follow, remember, if God said it, it’s worth listening to.

1. Jesus displayed His submission to the Father by quoting scripture.

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:3-4)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” (Matthew 4:8-10)

2. Jesus displayed His submission to the Father through prayer.

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

3. Jesus displayed His submission to the Father by accomplishing His purpose.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me. (John 6:38)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:5-9)

As you reflect on Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection this Easter week, I encourage you to identify one way to submit to Christ in the small things. Then, take action! A simple place to start is with prayer.

If we fail to submit, we submit to fail.


1 thought on “ENSURING FAILURE

  1. What a great lesson in submitting to who’s in charge. Amen, indeed it is Jesus Christ who is in charge and if we follow his plan we will be a lot better off.

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