Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ouch. There’s that word – submission. Yielding your preferences, desires, goals, way of doing things – to someone else. Admit it – it’s HARD to submit. We greatly desire to have our own way. Very few things chafe us more than having to do something someone else’s way, especially if we are certain our way is better.
But we see something else at work in the Bible. When Jesus put on flesh (became fully human and fully God), He submitted Himself to the Holy Spirit, became nothing, and took on the nature of a servant. Jesus also said that in order to become the greatest among us, we should become a slave in serving others. We are also to submit ourselves to the ruling authorities.
Mutual submission helps us to grow in character to become more like God. There is a sense of submission to each other of each of the three persons in the Trinity. Additionally, as we interact and submit, we are constantly being refined – “Iron sharpens iron.” Mutual submission to one another in the body builds a unity within the body that cannot exist elsewhere, for it is not possible with us, but through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. As we submit to one another, we are becoming one in purpose. People will know we are Christians when we love one another. And love does not seek its own interests, but the interests of others first (the JOY principle – Jesus, Others, You, in that order…). Since God IS love, do we not demonstrate this when we love one another? Paul says that we should devote ourselves to one another.
Imagine how winsome the Church, the Body of Christ, would look if ALL Christians submitted ourselves to one another? No more division would exist between us! The world would see a unified front of love extended inward AND outward. People might actually WANT to become a Christian by our example, rather than be turned off by division and rancor within our own ranks. Families would grow in love and grace as they submit to one another in Christ as well!
So, let’s ask the question. Are we submitting ourselves to one another?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have shown us in Your word that submission is a good thing, unlike what the world and culture make it out to be. Submitting to one another In Christ draws us closer to You, and reveals Your nature to the world. Help us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through Your word. Change us into what we should become, that glory would be brought to Your name. Help us to shed those things that hinder us as we try to better reflect your glory and light in a dark and unbelieving world. Grant us mercy and grace as we struggle with these things, in Jesus’ name, Amen.