I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of love one another because God and Christ love us. Here is the first time that I remember hearing “submit” to one another out of reverence for Christ. I think sometimes it’s easier to love one another (or at least fake loving one another with a semi-sincere love/kindness to them). But this Type A personality has a much harder time submitting, especially when I “know” I’m right. Whether this is to my husband, my boss, a friend, or even God, there is often a discussion at the minimum, and unfortunately especially in the past, there has too often been a heated discussion.
Submitting and surrendering doesn’t mean giving up and walking away. My NLT study notes say: “Submission is not expressed by defensive actions in response to fear.” (Usually not the way I respond, so I think I’m in the clear). Reading further, “Submission is not expressed by a desire for personal gain.” (Rats! That one hits too close to home. I want to be right. I am competitive when it comes to being right. I know I struggle with pride in its many forms and this is probably my chief flaw.) I have hurt so many people in my past by wanting to be right instead of surrendering and submitting to what God wants me to do – whether it is the right or wrong answer.
I was reading John Piper’s message on Ephesians 5:21-33. A few things struck me regarding submission. When we submit to someone out of RESPECT, submission is not a burden but done in the love of God. Piper talks about the perfect harmony that existed when God created man and woman (Genesis 1-3). When sin entered the world that perfect harmony of marriage was ruined “because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing submission into manipulative obsequiousness (flattery) in some women and brazen insubordination in others. Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive.”
Perfect submission is to do something that you may not want to do, but you surrender to the act out of respect, love and obedience. This is what Christ did when he laid down His life for the church. He cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to take away what Christ faced, yet he ended His prayer with – not My will but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42) Submission is not a forced, coerced, or cowering act. Christ’s at was done out of the purest respect, love and obedience to God.
Submission is a way of honoring and respecting. It’s not ignoring who we are, but doing something in obedience to the way God wants us to treat others. Submission doesn’t mean surrendering who God made you to be. He gave you wisdom and insight, gifts and talents. It doesn’t mean you can’t share your thoughts and opinions. But it does mean doing so with respect and love for the other person.
Live today in the blessing of being challenged by God’s Word ~ Faye