When Jesus marvels at anything, we should sit up and pay attention.
In the story of the centurion who wanted Jesus to heal his servant, the Bible says Jesus heard his request and marveled at his understanding of authority (Matthew 8:5-10). More specifically, Jesus marveled because at His simple and sincere reply that He would come heal this man’s servant, the centurion replied: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (verses 7-9).
What the centurion understood is that you cannot be a man OF authority until you are one UNDER authority. And at this, Jesus marveled.
So let us pay attention and apply this truth to our lives:
- Your soul (which consists of your mind, will, and emotions) and your body (your physical self) should always be in submission to your spirit (the real you, the born-again you, the part of you that communicates with God).
- In other words, YOUR SPIRIT should always have authority over your flesh and your body.
- YOUR SPIRIT has the last word — not your thoughts, emotions, strong will, or aches and pains.
- However, your spirit is to be led by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is also in SUBMISSION to the Holy Spirit at all times. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
At any given moment, your spirit should be both in authority and in submission. And when you really grasp this truth and operate in it, Jesus will marvel.
I recently had a bad day where I felt completely overwhelmed, weary, and borderline depressed. I even let thoughts of quitting linger in my mind longer than they should have — because I know better! But the truth is, my flesh and body tried to usurp the authority of my spirit. And for a little while, I let them.
It’s like the mom who is tired of disciplining her kids and just lets them run amuck for day and then realizes that’s not going to work, so she regains control and sets the house back in order. YOU AND I HAVE TO GOVERN OUR LIVES THIS WAY SOMETIMES.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have weak day. Just remember God gave your spirit the authority and no matter how loud your emotions and body scream at you, YOU (the real you) can put them in time-out and if necessary, hand out a few spankings! Paul said, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
And regarding the fruit of the spirit (those things that are supposed to be evident in the lives of those following the Holy Spirit in their daily walk), Paul named self-control as one of those proofs (Galatians 5:22-23). Self-control is simply the act of allowing the real you on the inside to call the shots — thus it’s name: SELF-control.
So let’s make it our goal to pay attention to who’s calling the shots, and who’s in submission to who. I can’t control you and you can’t control me. But individually, we can submit to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word (as one under authority), while also keeping our soul and body in direct submission to us (as one in authority). I believe Jesus marvels when we put these in their proper place and act upon it!