Bible Reading: 1 Peter 5
There’s a Yoruba saying- or is it a taunt- that I think carries so much weight. It talks about how you can call a cow your brother, because you want to eat meat. It’s such a true depiction of how shallow and manipulatively we can actually live.
Alot of the Book of 1 Peter which we’ve been studying has contained pointers to the fact that as Christians, we are called to a life beyond the shallow end of living. We are called to a life of intentionality and depth.
Today, Peter invites us to be intentional about living a life of true submission, not just calling cows our brothers to get what we want.
He demonstrates various applications of a life of submission: He calls for everyone to be submissive to one another (v 5), he calls for younger ones to be submissive to elders (v 5), he calls for those who hold influence to be submissive to the authority over them (v 4) and perhaps, most importantly he calls for all Christians to be submitted to God (v 6)
Very importantly, Peter shows three things that we must always remember about our submission:
1. It is identity
Peter shows that for every season and space that we find ourselves, there is a context to be pursuing submission. There is a safety and a promise of strength and encouragement that we find in the place of submission. We can live in a stronger sense of identity and safety by our submission, and not merely live in the strength of what we do or don’t do. This is particularly an important reminder for people who hold authority in leadership and influence, to remember the authority over them and to find strength and encouragement in that, and not merely in what is under them (v 4).
It is surely always a wiser and more secure way to live when we draw identity strength from the God and authority that is over us, not from the people who are under us.
2. It is humility
It is really impossible to detach submission from humility.
be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility 1 Peter 5:5 NKJV
A heart posture of humility will lead to a life of true submission, otherwise we would merely be putting up a plastic ‘cow brother’ performance with all that is around us. Humility is so important, especially when we remember that God actually opposes the proud (v 5). Humility will lead to true submission, and true submission will keep us humble.
3. It is Authority
Peter goes on to show that it is in the place of getting our submission right, that we actually take on authority strength. It is when we are truly submitted to the authority of God that we rebuke the devil who is always looking to take advantage of us (v 8-9). We have spiritual authority because we are submitted to God.
Let’s not be people who merely become overly ‘devil-conscious’ and are on a life-long pursuit to resist the devil and chase him around and around. That is not the goal of the Christian’s life. The big goal of the Christian is to submit to God and be in fellowship with Him. It is in the context of submitting to God that we resist the devil and take authority over him, as one that stands in opposition to our godly pursuits.
Our true authority does not come from how violently or aggressively we pray against the devil, but rather how sincerely we submit to God.
Today, I invite you to a check: Are you truly living in a submission-birthed identity, humility and authority? Or are you simply out looking for meat and calling cows your relatives?