One of the verses in the hymn (Blessed Assurance) we sang this past Sunday starts with this line: “Perfect submission, perfect delight; visions of rapture now burst on my sight…”. The next verse starts with a similar line: “Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest…”. I’ve sung that hymn many times, but for some reason, those lines really grabbed my attention this time. What stood out to me was simply that the songwriter put the words “submission” and “delight” together, and then again the words “submission” and “rest”.
The juxtaposition of those concepts caused me to ponder whether I would put those same words side-by-side. Do I view submission as a delight? And do I view submission as restful? If I’m honest with myself, more often I would associate words like “duty” or “responsibility” or “discipline” or even “mandatory” with the word “submission”. So how can submission be delightful or restful?
In John 15:10, Jesus instructed His disciples to keep—that is, submit to—His commands, and then in verse 11 He says that the result of that submission is that our joy would be full. In Hebrews 4:11 we are exhorted to enter God’s rest so that we don’t fall into the same disobedience that the people of Israel did. So Scripture also ties these concepts together: submission and delight, submission and rest.
Who has God called you to submit to? Do you see that submission as a source of delight and rest? Or do you see it as obligatory and heavy and undesirable? God has designed us as human beings to function best when we are operating within the structure that He has set forth, and His structure always involves submission. Children are to submit to their parents. Workers are to submit to their bosses. Wives are to submit to their husbands. Husbands are to submit to Christ’s model of sacrificial love. As members of the Body of Christ, we all are to submit to the Head, who is Christ.
Just like a little toddler is neither restful nor happy when he is insisting that things must go his way, neither do we experience rest or delight when we try to take things into our own hands rather than submitting to the structure God has put into place. But may you find the opposite to be true as well—that as you joyfully submit to who God has placed above you, you will discover deep delight and rest for your soul.