“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…” 1Peter 2:13
The fifth reason the Apostle Peter gives to submit to human institutions is to fulfill Christian calling. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…” verse 21. The Christian is called out of a world that is bent on satisfying its own sinful desires, no matter how the God of creation may despise their behavior. The Christian is called into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son where He is the shining example to follow.
When the Christian follows Christ’s example he/she lives by faith in God in the face of rejection and mistreatment by the world. “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men…” 2:4, “and while being reviled, He did not revile in return ; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” verses 23.
To follow Jesus Christ is to live a life of self-denial, and self-denial is best exemplified in the face of rejection, persecution, and jealousy.
When you are not forgiven or neglected, purposely set at naught, and you sting with the insult and the oversight, and your heart is happy because you are counted worthy to suffer for Christ that is self-denial.
When your good is evil spoken of, your wishes are crossed, your advice is disregarded, your opinions are ridiculed, and you refuse to allow anger to arise in your heart, or even defend yourself, you take it all inpatient loving silence that is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder and irregularity, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, and folly, and extravagance, and spiritual insensitivity, and endure it as Jesus endured it that is dying to self.
When you are content with any offering, any clothes, any climate, any society, and solitude, and interruption by the will of God that is dying to self.
When you can never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or to itch after commendation, when you can love to be unknown that is dying to self.
When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and honestly rejoice with him in spirit, and feel no envy or question God while your own needs are far greater and unmet that is dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, and humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising in your heart that is dying to self.
The Christian is one who lives in self-denial for the Lord’s sake!