Monday, November 7, 2011

Submit To One Another

Ephesians 5:21-24

I find comfort in control.  Who knows why.  Maybe I could psycho-analyze myself and say that it is because I'm the youngest in my family and never had control among my siblings; however, I really think that is just making up an excuse.  It is an excuse because I am aware of this trait and I should no longer possess it.  I shouldn't possess it because it is not what God wants in my life.  This week will be all about submission, which is not a fun topic to discuss.  I have a feeling that I am not the only person that struggles with a desire to be in control of their environment.  I hope you stick with me this week, it is always worth reading the Bible even when it makes us uncomfortable.  Please read Ephesians 5:21-24.

I want to quickly draw out two main themes that I have studied through the book of Ephesians because I feel that it all builds on the idea of submission.  One main theme is the idea of unity; unity as the church, which is the body of Christ.  The next main theme is how our unity with Christ should be changing us so we are living out godly lives.  Now we are delving into submission.  The word submission has such a bad reputation, especially here in America where we are free to exercise our rights.  But I want to look a little deeper at the word submission in relation to the entire book of Ephesians.  On Saturday, I explored a little about submitting to government authority.  The word that is used for submit in Romans is the same used in these verses.  It is the word hypotassō, which was primarily used as a military term meaning to place in ranks under the command of another.  When it was not used as a military terminology, it meant to carry a burden, cooperating, assume responsibility, and to have an attitude of voluntarily giving in (please see footnote 1.).

I think when these verses are placed in context of the two themes of unity and godly living, the idea of using the military terminology doesn't make as much sense.  If we are thinking about the fact that we are part of the body of Christ, it fits so much better to consider that Paul was using this word in the non-military context.  When looking through these verses, it is also important to note that everyone is being told to submit to one another.  The first group of people Paul addresses are wives.  Wives are told to submit to their husbands in everything.  So much for control!  But let's look at this from the angle of unity and godly living.  When wives look at submission from the idea that we are all a part of the body of Christ, we can see that it is part of the task that they are given by Christ.  This word means that wives are to cooperate with their husbands - not control their husbands.  This word can also mean that wives have a burden to carry in the relationship and household and have to assume a responsibility in the relationship.

It is important to notice that Paul used the word, Lord, when speaking of God in this verse.  Lord was a word that was used in reference to someone in authority and God is our heavenly Lord.  But, God isn't like the lords of that day.  He is loving and kind and He deserves respect and obedience; however, He wants to do life with us.  Jesus refers to being yoked with Him in Matthew 11:30, which gives the word picture that we are ministering with Christ.  Wives are told to submit to husbands in the same way that the church submits to Christ.  When we think about the idea of submitting to Christ and being yoked with Him, we can see that God wants marriage to be a beautiful and working partnership.  Wives are yoked with their husbands and share the burden.  Wives follow their husband's lead go the same direction.  Wives voluntarily give in to the direction of their husband.  Without that, the marriage will not go anywhere.  So, really when we think about it, the idea of submission is absolutely beautiful!  It is doing life with our spouse.

Wives, are you willing to submit to Christ's authority over the church?  Are you willing to submit to your husband?

1. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for hypotassō (Strong's 5293)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 6 Nov 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=G5293&t=NLT >

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