Word of the Week: Submit

Boy.Sitting.ChairFive year old Lucas was mischievously aggravating his little brother, Aiden, chasing him all over the house. Running wildly. Screaming. And generally causing havoc. After repeated attempts to quiet the boys down and gentle warnings to “behave yourself,” the frustrated mother had enough.

She picked-up Lucas, put a chair in the corner of the room, and said, “Now sit there and be quiet! You’re in time-out!”

Stubbornly Lucas refused to sit down! After several warnings, she grabbed him up, and sat him down with some authority and demanded: “Now sit there! Or you’re going to get a spanking!”

As she walked away, she heard Lucas defiantly mutter under his breath, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but on the inside I’m standing up!”

There may be a little bit of “Lucas” in all of us, whether we’re 5, 15 or 50!

The word of the week is submit. 

To first century Christians the apostle Peter exhorted, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…” (1 Pet 2:13-14)

This word is used over 40 times in New Testament. It is sometimes translated subject, subdued, or submission. Dr. Thayer says it means “to arrange under, to subordinate. To put into subjection. To obey. To yield to one’s admonition or advice.”

It is a military term referring to arranging troops according to division, under the command of a leader. In a non military use it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.

Jesus is our example in submission. Luke says that at age 12 he went to Nazareth and “was subject” to his parents (Lk. 2:52). He submitted to John’s baptism, although he was sinless, “to fulfill all righteousness (Mt 3:15). Jesus submitted to the Father’s will to do his work, suffer, and finally die on the cross.

As disciples of Christ we are called to submit in various relationships. The Bible says that we are to “be subject to the governmental authorities” (Rom 13:1). Servants were exhorted “to be obedient to their own masters.” Christians are to submit to Shepherds in the church who watch for our souls (I Pet 5:1-4; Heb. 13:17). And wives were commanded to “submit to your own husbands” (Eph 5:21).

In a culture that prides itself on self-sufficiency, independence and freedom, submission sounds a little too much like surrender! We don’t like giving in to someone else.   Or giving up our rights.

Yet, Christians are called to submit “for the Lord’s sake.” Because of our relationship to God, and our desire to behave uprightly in this world, the Christian walk is one of submission to those who are in authority. It shows respect. And it honors Christ.

In fact, Peter calls for mutual submission among brethren. “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility…” (1 Peter 5:5)

So how do we develop an attitude of submission?

(1) Decrease our pride. God resists the proud. It’s a barrier between us and God. And it’s a roadblock to good relationships. Pride hinders humility and hampers submission. Pride produces disputes, discord and division.

(2) Increase our love. Several qualities of love identified in 1 Corinthians 13 relate to submission. Love is not self seeking. It does not insist on its own rights and privileges. It does not pursue self advantage. It bends to accommodate the best interest of the beloved. And love serve others!

(3) Grow in our Discipleship.   Jesus said a disciple is not above his master. In John 13 is the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Jesus was not only submissive to the will and authority of the Father, he was submissive to the needs of his followers. We demonstrate our discipleship, when we are mutually submissive to one another.

In the end, submission is more about attitude than action. It is the demonstration of genuine love, mutual respect, and humble service.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Word of the Week

4 responses to “Word of the Week: Submit

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