Misconception #2: the submitter
She cowers in the corner, afraid and weary. She is told by others that the Bible says that she must submit to her authority. The problem is, she and her authority don’t understand the real meaning of this “submission” word. That being the case, she is instead treated almost like a servant, being forced to “submit” to every whim from her authority.
Most of us hear the word “submission” and feel like running. I’m going to be honest in saying that submission doesn’t sound like much fun. Submitting, whether it’s to your parents, boss, or husband sounds more like servant-hood than anything else. When, we hear of the submissive wife or the submissive daughter, we tend to picture a girl standing quietly, head bowed, and awaiting her next command. She lives only to serve her authority. She is quiet, fearful, and constantly working towards the next task her authority has for her to do. She does not think for herself. She does not voice her opinions. She simply submits.
Sounds fun! Right? Okay, not so much. The great news is that this image is not what God intends submission to be! This image is the ignorant interpretation of us humans. We think that submission equals servant-hood. This is not true! God is far bigger than that in His planning for us.
We are not commanded to submit to authority for the benefit of the authority, but rather to bring glory to Christ in our obedience. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
Ephesians 5:22-30 paints a picture of what Biblical submission looks like in a husband and wife relationship.
22 “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleaning her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church- 30 for we are members of His body.”
Submitting to your parents’ authority is so important that it is one of the 10 Commandments: “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)
God intends submission to be an act of love. The church submits to Christ out of love as He has loved the church unconditionally. The wife submits to her husband out of love, as he has loved and cared for her. The child submits to their parents out of love, because the parents have loved and cared for the child. Submission does not mean cowering at the every whim of your authority, but lovingly trying to please the other. Submission is not being fearful to speak, but speaking boldly in love. So, you see submission is an act of love, not servant-hood. That love is not undeserved, but given in return. Most importantly, “21 Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.” Job 22:21
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