Pastor’s Pen: The ‘S’ Word

Submission is a word that we usually find demeaning. We don’t think of someone submitting as being a positive thing. A wrestler who submits, loses. If you submit to a bully you’re considered a wimp. A wife submitting sounds like she’s being taking advantage of or abused. A team that submits has given up. It’s not positive sounding at all, nor was it in Paul’s day.

When Paul talked about submitting I can see the people scratching their heads, wondering why anyone would want to submit to another. They had armies who went into battle. If their army submitted then they had lost the battle. That’s no good.

They had kings ruling over nations. A king that submitted to another king surrendered his power. That sounds like giving up to me.

Yet they were told, as are we, in Ephesians 5:21 to, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We are told to place ourselves under others recognizing that we are doing it to honor Christ.

As a Youth Pastor, I am to submit to my youth leaders who help me. It’s not because they are more important, but it’s to honor Christ. I also need to serve the teens in my youth group. Not because they are perfect, but to honor Christ. I am even to submit to that person who is annoying or egotistical or lives next door. I’m even to submit to, believe it or not, the person who lives in my own house! Paul even gives examples in Ephesians 5:22-6:9:

n Wives submit to your husband as to the Lord

n Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church

n Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right

n Fathers do not exasperate your children, but bring them up in the training of the Lord

n Slaves obey your earthly masters, just as you would obey Christ

n Masters treat your slaves as your Master in heaven treats you

These are all forms of submission. The members of the family are all submitting to one another. The employees and employers of the workplace are submitting to one another. In all areas of life we submit to each other.

Philippians 2:3-4 says it this way, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

A godly wife will care about her husband’s needs above her own. A godly husband will do the same for his wife. The same with their children. If everyone is submitting to one another and seeking what is in the best interest of those around them than we show we care for each other and create an atmosphere of peace and harmony.

But we don’t just do this for harmony, because not everyone will follow suit. We don’t just do this because it’s nice, because it won’t always feel nice. We don’t do this because we get good karma, because we won’t always get something good back. In fact, we normally have to give something up. We do this “out of reverence for Christ.” We do this out of our ultimate submission – to God.

How are you doing at submitting? It’s not always easy and it’s not always popular, but it’s what we do “out of reverence for Christ.” Lift His Name high by submitting today.