Wisdom comes in walking with Jesus.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:20-21 (ESV)
Sometimes submission is used like a bad word. We are individualistic and proud. We like to be on top, the one in charge. Yet when we give our lives to Christ we are giving our wills in submission to God. Maybe we don’t like to picture it that way, but it is the truth. I’ll share a short video clip about this at the end of this post.
When we walk with Jesus, He leads.
Submission isn’t always used in a negative way, even in our society. When a student submits her homework on time, it is a good thing. When an author submits a book proposal, he is hopefully one step closer to publication. We often “submit” ideas to others for critique or submit our entries to contests. When God, Who is good, tells us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ it is for our good.
One of my favorite activities with a group of students is preparing a “banner performance.” I was introduced to this through my friend Megan and her family. A group of eight people present a worshipful song using four long strips of fabric. Each strip of fabric (roughly 12 feet long, and 2.5 feet wide), is held by two people. In order for the performance to be the best it can be, each pair of people must work together, submitting to one another. If one person makes a mistake, the other member is to cover it up. If one person becomes upset with her partner and spends time announcing the mistake, more mistakes will be made as the song continues. If one banner is out of step, the whole group is impacted. As I think about submission, I think of the banner teams I’ve worked with and been a part of. We give grace to our partner and we give grace to the others on the team because we have received it ourselves. At the close of our practices, my students and I would take time to speak words of encouragement to their partners. That quickly became my favorite part of preparing for a banner practice.
“The Christian attitude toward authority and submission is drastically opposed to the perceptions of the world, which see the one in authority as exalted, and the other as debased. There, each person’s value is determined by the position he holds. But in Christ’s church that whole pattern is rejected. Each persons’ value exists apart from his role.” (Richards, p.930)
Pausing to speak praise builds community. There’s interdependence as a banner team prepares a song of worship. Worshiping God requires obedience. There is joy there.
Thank you for washing my sin away through Jesus Christ. I don’t deserve this love You have given! Please help me to submit to Your will and Your way. Thank You for the perfect example of Jesus and the indwelling of the Spirit. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
Questions to Ponder
What do you think of when you hear the word submission?
How have you submitted to others out of reverence for Christ?
The Stool: A Video by One Time Blind
Richards, Lawrence O. (2004). The Bible Teacher's Commentary. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.