"There is no other way but to trust and obey." A familiar song speaks the truth to us. Our ministry group, Franciscan Fire, has been studying books about the life of Francis of Assisi and his followers.
There are many stories about our beloved Saint Francis and his friars, about their struggles and their victories in becoming more like Jesus. In particular, the stories deal with how St. Francis and his friars chose to follow Jesus' example of total obedience and submission to the Father's will. How that played out in their daily living and how it plays out in our daily living is our present quest.
Since God's timing and plans are perfect, we assume this to be his direction for us here and now. That makes it very important to us to understand "obedience and submission." So far, what our study is revealing is that growth in obedience and submission comes in layers for each of us. It is core to followers of Jesus, to our relationship with God, Our Father.
St. Francis knew that. His friars knew that. One of them, Brother Juniper, was totally committed to the humility he saw in Jesus' life. The stories of his constant seeking after humility are, on the surface, highly entertaining,sometimes even offensive to us. The Holy Spirit, the Teacher, shows us deeper levels, however. We see in Brother Juniper a humility birthed in obedience and submission that would cause demons to flee not only his presence but also the area around him.
Hallelujah! That's what the Lord wants us to understand. Obedience and submission to him and to those he places in authority over us create fruit and a free-flow of his power through us to his children.