Submit. It’s a hard word. It’s not hard to spell or understand. It’s hard to do.
It’s not one of my “try not to ever say” words like “scab” or “puss”. I shudder just typing those two words. Ick. It’s not a four letter word of a different kind… it’s just a hard word.
The Bible uses that word kind of a lot, though. It’s an important word for believers.
“Submit yourselves, one to another, out of reverence to Christ.”
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands.” (groan)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.”
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority…”
It is not in our nature as humans to submit, but the sad truth is that the scriptures just don’t ever talk about followers of Christ being overbearing, rude, or insisting on having their own way. In God’s universe, there is order. There is a chain of command, so to speak, and so many times, we want to usurp that chain. We’d rather be the authority than be under it.
Submitting to authority serves no purpose other than to bring us into right relationship with the Father. It is through following the example of Christ that we find our place in the universe. Christ was a servant leader. He fully submitted himself to the Father… He, who is equal to the Father, IS the Father, humbled Himself in submission. He is our example.
Submitting ourselves to the will of the Father is no easy thing. I often know what I want or what I want to do. I have my own mind, after all. Submission is an acquired ability. Early on, I learned to submit to my parents. My derrière suffered if I chose otherwise. So I learned… eventually. Then I learned to submit to my teachers, then my employers, and then to my husband. I submit to church leaders and to governmental authorities, too.
It seems that everywhere I turn, I am submitting to someone.
Submission is a heart issue. I might submit to authority with my actions, but not always with my heart. I recently heard someone say that “She was sitting on the outside, but she was standing on the inside.” So many times, that’s still me. I know in my head to whom I am supposed to submit, but sometimes my heart’s just not in it.
Often, we see submission as punishment. But submission is protection. When I submit myself to authority, I am blessed. I am protected. I learn to bend my will, my sinful will, to the will of another. Ultimately, the goal is that I naturally, and without hesitation, submit my will to the will of the Father.
As a follower of Christ, it is not a loving or attractive action to insist on my own way. I have to loosen my grasp on what I think is best, and trust the God given authority in my life. Ultimately, I submit myself to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He knows all and sees all. I don’t, and I can’t.
So even when I can’t see it myself, I need to learn to sit on the inside, too.