The idea of submission does not align with our human desires. In the past, wedding vows included words like “submit” and “obey”, which have for the most part been replaced by more palatable terms. In a self-absorbed, self-gratifying society submission is distasteful, to say the least. Something as simple as a YIELD sign or yellow light inspires drivers to speed up to beat the other motorists. In the home, school, workplace, and in our relationships, our inclination is to control and exert our authority and ultimately to have our own selfish way. We see submission as something we are made to do, when in fact it is a choice…it is something we give. And in the context of Scripture we must accept God’s structure for our lives by choosing to submit to one another.
Eph 5:21; Phil 2:3-11
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5:21) Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited…he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even death on a cross. (Phil 2:3-8)
If I’m going to submit to someone I’m going to look at their character, leadership, ethics, decision-making ability and then, after some evaluation, I may submit. This seems reasonable. However, Paul says we are to submit out of reverence for Christ…not because someone meets any of the criteria we establish, but because God calls us to do so. As Christians the way we treat others directly reflects our reverence for God. We are called to treat others as better than ourselves. We are to consider the concerns and interests of others as more important than our own. Jesus set the example by giving up his Godly rights and power in order to die a brutal human death for your sins and mine. We certainly weren’t deserving of his submission. Thankfully he didn’t have a big set of standards that we had to meet in order for him to submit to the cross. Never lose the awe of what God has done to save you! That is the key to treating others as God desires.
How difficult is it for you to submit in small things (deciding where you eat or what movie you see)? If you are married, how are small decisions made? How are big decisions made? How well do you serve others and submit in the workplace? If you are a supervisor, do you still find ways to serve those who report to you? On a scale of 1 to 10, how are you doing on submitting to others?
Find ways every day to serve someone else. There are many ways to serve others at home, work, school, church and in public places. Just do it!
Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to Earth to offer salvation to humanity. Thank you that he submitted to the cross. Help me to see others as better than myself and as deserving of my service. May I love and submit to others in a way that pleases you and honors you. I pray that what I do for you will make a difference for eternity to those whose lives I touch. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.