Suggestions for Further Reading of Celebration of Discipline
Self-denial leads us into discovering who are in Christ. Every man has his or her name, but the issue here in not an earthly identity rather than seeking heavenly identity God has given to us. When we deny ourselves, the discipline of submission bears fruit of humbleness. It enables us to reach out to other people with love of God. There are some strong evidences from the Bible that Peter, Paul, and other disciples of Jesus did not lose their identity who they were in Christ. Instead, they were the best examples who denied themselves by submitting to God. They discovered their new identity in God. Thus, self-denial is the only sure way to love ourselves, and have new identity in God.
I have many personal experiences of the freedom to give up my own rights for the good of others during my five years ministry period with Operation Mobilization and the Gospel for Asia. In hot summer days, I used to sell too many gospel literature packets every day. I sold at least a copy of New Testament, and I set the record of best seller of the New Testament in the mission field. There was a reward for the best seller every month. I deserved it, but one of my friends needed some stationery which was rewards for me. He also sold good number of literature packets. So, I thought about his need and nominated him as the best seller of the gospel packets. The reward was a kind of huge honor to us but the discipline of submission freed me from the desire of being honored.
We cannot force people to be submissive nor is it the will of God. It becomes merely a legalism when people coerce to practice it. There should be teachable spirit who learns from God through submission. If we do not submit, we cannot learn from God and his people.
There was a time when two of my team members became sick of viral influenza in the mission field. As a team member, I had my share of responsibilities in the field. Meantime, I had to take care of those two friends. I humbled myself before God and submitted myself for their service. I sent two members to share the gospel to nearby village, and I sat beside them praying and giving care to them. We had no access to the hospital since we had established our mission station at the hilly region. I served without any selfish motives and ambition only thinking that whatever I did for them was for Christ. That experience taught me to be more practical in my ministry to be submissive and humble.
Reflection Point for Journal Entry
The practice of submission is leading me to the deeper relationship with God and his people. Submission needs obedience. It needs humility and perseverance that motivates us to keep the command of our God without questioning his authority. All these characteristics are the bases of the discipline of submission. Learning to be submissive to God also helps us to wait for him patiently in prayer.