Saturday, July 7, 2012

Submission is NOT a Dirty Word

Over the years, I've heard lots of sermons and read books about submission. Most Christian authors in my early years concentrated on the submission of wives to their husbands and let that spill over into an idea that all women were to submit to all men. No mention was made of submission to other authorities or that men were included in the commands to submit.

In the Bible, God sandwiches the submission of wives to their own husbands between exhortations for all of us to submit to each other. In Ephesians 5:15-6:9 and I Peter 2:11-3:17 we are told to submit to EVERY human institution - government, bosses, parents, husbands and wives (yes - men get to submit to their wives "in the same way" as they submit to the other entities mentioned). When we submit to human authorities, we demonstrate our confidence in God's end game and His ultimate authority.

Submission is aligning oneself under a line of authority so God has room to work. When we choose to submit to authorities and one another, we stay in a healthy place for God to bring about good things for us. If we don't and are persistently disagreeable and rebellious to the authorities and people God put in place, we step out of line and are vulnerable to whatever our circumstance brings our way.

Our motives in submission, according to the previous passages, are "to imitate God as beloved children"; "in the fear of Christ"; "out of reverence for Christ"; "for the sake of conscience".

The rewards are amazing!

We make the most of our time on earth
It may be well with us
That we may live long on the earth
We are doing the will of God from the heart
Whatever good thing we do we will receive back from the Lord
People will glorify God because of our behavior
By doing right we silence the ignorance of foolish men
We find favor with God
We follow Christ's example of suffering with grace
Some spouses will be won by our behavior
We do what is right
Our prayers are heard
We are harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted and humble in spirit
We inherit a blessing
We see good in our days on earth
Those who revile us will be put to shame eventually

I think these outcomes make submission attractive!  When we submit to one another, we live in unity and we bring our best to the table, drawing the best out of others.

NOTE ABOUT ABUSIVE SITUATIONS: If you are in an abusive home situation, there is Biblical support for NOT submitting to that behavior.  God hates a man (or woman) who covers their spouse with violence and He strongly rebukes and punishes those who harm children. Choosing to remove yourself (and children, if involved) from that dangerous place is necessary and wise. Do not compound a sin problem in your home by letting it continue. Be a strong help to your spouse and join God in creating consequences for unacceptable behavior that MAY get their attention. Many communities have shelters for abused women (and I'm certain men can get advice there as well). At the very least, get information from them about such situations and make an informed choice.

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