God knows what’s best for us, but, depending on our personalities, some of His requirements seem so much harder to accept than others. For me, it’s submitting to secular bosses. I wish God didn’t say that in His Word, but we have the very first example in the very first book of the Bible, so it must be important. Genesis 16 tells us Sarai was jealous of her maid, Hagar, and treated her so badly that Hagar fled. An angel comes to her and says: “’Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where did you come from, and where are you intending to go?’ And she said, ‘I am running away from my mistress Sarai.’ The Angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Go back to your mistress and [humbly] submit to her control’” (Gen. 16:8-9 AMP). WOW, what a huge bummer!
But doing things God’s way is always going to be profitable for us, even if we don’t understand it, and even if it seems so hard. Notice, Hagar didn’t have anywhere to go. That’s our mistake sometimes: we want to run away; we think we are ready to go, but God doesn’t have our next place prepared yet.
There are many verses in the New Testament where the Lord talks about submitting. 1 Peter 2:18 is one of those scriptures, and, honestly, I wish I could take it out of the Bible. “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear (respect); not only to the good and gentle but also to the forward.” The word ‘froward’ means “crooked, perverse, wicked and unfair.” Are you kidding?! Do I have to “obey, yield, subordinate” to one of these types? It doesn’t seem right, and yet the Word of God requires this kind of action and attitude, as long as our yielding doesn’t cross the line of what the rest of God’s Word says.
If you are like me and you don’t like the idea of submitting to crooked bosses, then you probably aren’t going to like the other verses, 1 Peter 2:13-17, either, but there they are. If you can accept what I present in this article, be brave and take a look at those verses mentioned above too. They are definitely challenging for most of us I think.
Somehow our actions are going to have to line up with what God asks of us, even if we don’t like it. But I’ve come to believe that if we release our ego and pride, and just jump in and do what God asks, we will get the understanding and the promise at the end of Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Today I needed to remind myself that meekness is a good thing and it is already in me. But lately, I’ve been letting pride override. So, the Lord led me to go back and re-read an article I wrote a couple of years ago. He wanted to remind me of how He worked in a similar situation, and how I was able to receive His peace and victory.
September 2014. It was another rush job. The designers were sending over three samples of red brick, and they wanted me to do variations of whitewash and aging on them. The samples arrived late. The mortar wasn’t even dry yet, but they still wanted me to finish them so they could pick them up the next day. This was a tough challenge.
I was under pressure to work quickly. I got three fans out to dry the mortar first. Then I started to mix my colors. When somebody pushes me in a situation like this, I want to push back. But I told myself, Jesus is with me. It’s okay. I can do this.
Then the project manager told me they were coming for the pieces two hours earlier than planned. For a few minutes there I mentally lost it. ‘What?’ I thought. ‘They bring me the pieces late. They aren’t even dry enough to paint, and now they want them completed two hours earlier?’ I started to get angry, and then a strange thing happened.
I felt a meekness come over me. I didn’t even have to try to overcome anger or any of that. My old nature of rebellion just disappeared instantaneously as an overwhelming meekness enveloped me. It wasn’t me trying to be meek. It was genuine. It clothed me inside and out, and it felt true and good. It was like an atmosphere of meekness, through and through, beautiful, elegant and powerful. ‘This isn’t me,’ I thought. But I didn’t have the time to ponder it, so even though it felt alien, I went with it.
I finished up the samples before the deadline, and I’m sure it was the Lord helping me on that one too. I told my project manager he could call the guy to pick them up and I followed him over to the job site with my touch-up kit.
I was so calm and peaceful in this new air of meekness. I walked onto the job site in my typical outfit: a tee-shirt and painter pants that used to be white but now were about 75% covered in paint from various past jobs. My boots were also paint-spattered. I had on my hard hat and my safety vest which didn’t fit because they only come in one size, large. I found a place to sit on a dusty stack of bricks, but I felt like an elegant, powerful queen in a gorgeous dress and beautiful crown. The meekness wasn’t a weakness. It made me feel great and free.
The designer arrived and picked the sample he said he just loved. That made me happy, but not nearly as happy as this new meekness I was experiencing.
It was great to feel genuinely calm inside, in contrast to the uproar I usually felt in these hurried, stressful, last minute situations. Some part of my soul had changed. The old me: sharp-tongued, rebellious and angry. This new meekness had to be the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23, part of the new me, the Christ in me. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Romans 7 talks about the two natures we have in us, the old one and the new one. Only God, through Jesus Christ, can deliver us from our old nature (Rom. 7:24-25). I had tried my best in the past to be meek under stress, but even with my strongest efforts it wouldn’t last very long, and it definitely wouldn’t be true meekness.
But with the miraculous working of the Lord Jesus Christ, the rebellious, angry nature of the old Carolyn was replaced by the true and wonderful meekness of Jesus Christ. That’s the new nature God intended for me to have. It had nothing to do with me changing myself. It had everything to do with the Lord working in me to change me into my real self in Christ. All I did was have to desire to be more like Him, and the spirit of Christ in me changed my soul.
“I can hardly wait to see what the Lord is going to do today.” It’s an exciting life.
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