Have you ever noticed the tension evident in the training process?

Obedience Beginner: VerträglichkeitsprüfungFor example, there is a process of learning submission in all training…like training a puppy to wait, a horse to jump or a child to obey. The tension exists because the wills of two individuals are at odds with each other. Until one common purpose is achieved between the two, tension will remain.

Obedience is learned, granted. It is undertaken by leaving behind one’s own understanding in favor of another’s. During the training process, the puppy, horse or child learn to forsake their first instincts and learn their trainers’ higher ways of thinking and behaving.

Building the ultimate foundation of obedience upon trust is the goal. When obedience is built upon trust, the submission leads to surrender and occurs not only externally, but internally. This enables the trainee to continue in obedience without the trainer.

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Christian hymn, Blessed Assurance, Fanny Crosby penned lyrics describing the ecstatic mystery of divine poetic union. “Perfect submission,” she writes accompanies “Perfect delight.” In other words, the way up is down. As we descend in submission, He lifts us up and carries us in Himself.

In order to experience perfect delight, we must first perfectly submit to God. In doing so, it can seem like a suicidal mission. And in fact, it is a suicidal mission in the fact that we choose to release our agendas for His! During the process, we lose the lower earthy life in order to find the higher spiritual life, which is full of delight (Matt. 10:39).

Furthermore, in the next verse she reveals that of the soul such submission causes “All [to be] at rest.” When all is at rest, the tension of the training process is over in large part simply because obedience has been learned and embraced. Trust has triumphed.

Surrendering to the trainer enables the trainee to leave behind the familiar lower ways and purposes to find the mysterious higher ways and purposes of the trainer. In other words, the lower creature has become one with the higher by yielding to or merging into him (Prov. 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:17). In that union, they have become one in will and purpose.

The condition of Crosby’s soul in perfect submission to its Creator is directly associated with delight and rest. That sounds lofty and old-fashioned, doesn’t it?

But for believers today, we need to ask ourselves a question: Are delight and rest qualities of life that we desire? I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t welcome them. Do you?

If such qualities we desire, then are we willing to submit perfectly to God in order to experience them? Or does it seem too much to ask of us to submit perfectly?

If we are not willing to submit perfectly, might we suspect deep down that we will be required to leave behind something of value?

God addresses our secret supposition in John 6:63 Amp. It says, “…the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it].” This all-or-nothing Spirit versus flesh concept dovetails beautifully with Christ’s words in John 15:5, “…apart from Me you can do nothing.” Thus, it is only in and through Christ alone that anything profitable can be gained for us today or in eternity because what we do here is what we will live with for all eternity (Matt. 6:20, 23:5; 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

Ginger and Jake at our first Obedience Rally

Ginger and Jake at our first Obedience Rally (Photo credit: Doc Artemis)

What victorious delight and rest are found in the perfectly submitted trainee! The puppy patiently waits by the door for the grass in lieu of the rug. The horse gracefully dominates the course clearing each jump with confidence. And the unsupervised child can be trusted to do as he is expected.

Victorious delight and rest are available to anyone willing to leave behind the garbage of independence and seek wholeheartedly the treasure of living as one in will and purpose with the Creator (1 Cor. 6:17). The highest calling in all the world and deepest reward for the human soul are found only in Him.

Proverbs 3:5
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

Matthew 10:39
Whoever finds his [[a]lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].

John 6:63
It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.

Matthew 23:5
They do all their works to be seen of men; for they make wide their phylacteries ([a]small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead) and make long their fringes [worn by all male Israelites, according to the command].

 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.

14If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward.

15 But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.

Colossians 1:16
For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.

Matthew 6:20
But [a]gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal

1 Corinthians 9:25
Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

Hebrews 12:9
Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?

Romans 6:16
Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?

John 6:29
Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will [a]ease and relieve and [b]refresh [c]your souls.]

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest ([d]relief and ease and refreshment and [e]recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, [f]good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

1 Corinthains 6:17
But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.


About ashleydwille

Author Ashley D. Wille was always searching for spiritual answers. “True and lasting satisfaction always proved just out of reach. Now, in midlife, I have come to find my soul satiated in God. Through sweet surprises, difficult climbs, and excruciating valleys, the Master’s hand has shaped me. All along the way, God has taught me many things. What He has taught me most is that many of my beliefs about Him were wrong.” Her book, My Journey Through the Cross, is a personal insight shared by an amazing woman. Through her profound experiences and inner struggles, Wille shows how she was able to break through false layers of thinking and move into a deeper relationship with God. Her beautiful journey is just waiting to be shared. If you are ready to live your life free of guilt and shame, you too can learn how to walk in spiritual freedom.
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