“Submit woman,” booms a joking, but attempting an authoritative voice. Then laughter quickly follows. We all snicker at the idea of submission, especially in our culture of individual rights. Who would ever lay down their own rights and their own desires for someone else?
The problem is that we have submission and oppression confused. Oppression is “prolonged, cruel or unjust treatment or control.” We see it in domestic violence cases or in countries ruled by ruthless dictators. Submission however is “the action of yielding to the will or authority of another person.” In other words the one who submits must choose to submit and cannot be forced to submit. Just as you can force a child to sit down, you cannot force a child to willingly submit to y
our authority. They are sitting on the outside, but on the inside they are still standing.
So it is with us whether we “submit to one another“ (Ephesians 5:21), “submit to the LORD” (2 Chronicles
30:8), or “submit to the authorities” (Romans 13:5). We are not made to submit, but we are to choose to submit. The very idea rubs us wrong. We have rights and we do not want to lay down our rights for anything. There is the rub. As Christ followers, we are to trust God and submit.
When we submit to authorities in our lives, we are not necessarily trusting in that authority to do right by us. Instead when we submit, we are trusting God. Here is where I typically knit my brow, put my hand on my hip, and say while I shake my finger, “It feels like I am trusting the one I am submitting to, not God. How is that possible?”
Romans 31:1 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
Does this mean I submit to disobeying God’s law because an authority tells me to? No. Check out Daniel chapter one and see how four young men kept themselves pure before God, while submitting to Babylonian authority. What it does mean, is that we need to be like Christ Jesus, willing to lay down our rights for others.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!” Philipians 2:3-8
This kind of submission looks more like victory, this kind of submission takes guts.
Father God, thank You for loving me. Please give me the strength to lay down my rights, my way, and submit it You and thus submit to authorities in my life. Forgive me for my lack of submission. Thank You for Jesus, my example. In His Name I pray, Amen.
So are you a sissy?