Submit to One Another?

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

Submit to one another?  Really?  In this country most of us do not want to be thought of as submissive.  Isn’t that another word for weak?  Dependent?  Pitiful?  Isn’t a submissive person just a doormat who allows themselves to be used?  Shouldn’t we avoid being labeled this way at all costs?  Stand up for our own rights?

Well, take another look.  It’s right there in the Bible under the title “Instructions for Christian households.”  Although this section is speaking specifically to husbands and wives, since the church is called “the household of God” it has a rightful place in the church family as well.

I admit that the thought of submitting used to bother me.  Over time, I’ve come to think differently.  Submission to one another doesn’t mean taking all sorts of abuse;  it doesn’t mean allowing another person to win every argument or make every decision.  What it does mean is this:  STOP BEING SELFISH.  Put the other person first and do what’s best for them.  Here’s a related verse from Philippians 2: 3-4

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 the others.”

This is certainly a heard teaching.  Our natural inclination is to be egotistical, to think first of our own well being.  However, notice why we Christians are to practice submission to one another:  out of reverence to Christ.  We’re not to submit because other people deserve our submission, or because we’re weaker or less valuable — we’re  to submit out of gratitude for what Christ did for us.  He put us, and our interests above His own.  He didn’t need to be tortured and die on a cross.  He’s God!  He submitted to that punishment, our punishment, so that we would be made righteous in the eyes of God.

The reality is, we can’t be strong, independent and perfect on our own.  We need a savior.  We need each other.  Let’s admit that and put one another first.  Christ did it for us.  We should do it for one another.


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