The last book we as students finished was Touching Godliness by Dr. K.P. Yohannan, which talked about submission. Submission is like obedience, except that the difference is that obedience is merely the action of fulfilling an order, while submission is a heart issue. In the military, obedience is a must, because there will be consequences otherwise. In God’s army, He asks us not to just obey, but to submit; to give our hearts fully to Him. Giving up our will and plans to God is a difficult thing. It means that we’re not in control, but when it is done, it is a beautiful thing. Submitting to the Lord means that we trust Him.
When I was a little boy, I loved soldiers. My brothers and I pretended to be soldiers. I drew pictures of knights and castles. We amassed armies built out of Lego and had battles with them. Today, now that I’m older and more mature, I still like the military. I have thought about enlisting before, but it simply isn’t my calling from God. The main thing which I like about the military, is the order and how everything is structured.
I had one friend who I worked under who also liked the concept of being Christian soldiers. He eventually got the name of “Sarge” (short form of sergeant). Every time I would go ask him what he wanted me to work on next, I would snap to attention, salute and say, “Sarge! Reporting for duty Sir!” Other people watching might of thought it silly (except my brothers who did the same), but because we had that understanding of military authority and respect, it was my way of showing respect and honour to him as my leader.
When in a war, you need everything to function perfectly, if you want to win. This is why obedience is paramount in the military. When a superior officer gives you an order, you don’t question it; you obey! The officers at the top create strategies and plans to win, but they must be carried out exactly as ordered for them to work. They then give the plans to the next rank lower and so on, all the way to the privates, which is the lowest rank. When soldiers in any rank don’t obey their commanders, goodness knows what could go wrong. One little disobedience or slight mess-up can cause the whole plan to fail and many unnecessary losses.
Of course, there will always be times where there will be faults in the strategy given, and the top commanders will make mistakes. This, however does not give reason for soldiers to question their leaders’ commands. If one were to do so, even if the commanding officer made a mistake, it might happen again when there is no mistake in the order and the operation would fail. Thankfully, our top commander is one who never makes a mistake. He is all knowing, all wise, and all powerful. I think of how often I, myself have doubted God and been hesitant to obey His orders.
A spirit of submission is a spirit of love. In the army, unless the soldier is a believer, submission can never be perfected, because it must be ultimately for Jesus. A soldier can obey and serve well, but in human power, it is only so deep. When we obey out of our love for the Lord, it is true submission. When we do this, we can say as the apostle Paul did.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.2 Timothy 4:6-8