Mutual Submission

23 kwietnia 2014
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Bill and Carol Gilpin

Submission has become a bad word in our society. The motto for our age is: outplay, outwit, outlast… not submit.

„Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  Ephesians 5:21

This very simple line out of Ephesians can be such a stumbling block for us.
Submission has become a bad word in our society. The motto for our age is: outplay, outwit, outlast… not submit.

It is not too surprising then that God’s values look upside down from the world’s perspective.

Let’s look at God’s perspective, and his call on our lives.

What Submission is not:

Christian Submission is not about being a Doormat

Paul, who writes this passage deals harshly with both secular authorities and with Christian brothers and sisters when they overstep their bounds and treat him as less than he is.
The Submission that Paul is calling us to is a mutual submission – not one where there is one person in submission, and another in authority, but that we would submit to each other.

Submission is not about being the most humble

Christian submission doesn’t say, “I’m not going to use my God given gifts, because I might make someone else look bad”
In no way are we to consider the submission of coming under the other person to be held down by them, but rather to lift them up!

What Submission is:

Definition – a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.

Instead of looking out for ourselves, we are to be looking out for everyone else, and they are to look out for us. This idea is in line with the Biblical ideas for serving, giving, loving, honoring…etc…all are to be a mutual act in order to show our reverence for Christ.

Submission coming from a place of Strength, not weakness.

Jesus is our example in this. John 13:3-5:

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Because of Jesus’ place of strength, he is able to serve – to subject himself to his own disciples; not as a weak person beaten into submission, but as the strongest person in the universe, choosing to submit.
Jesus sets the example for all of his followers by making himself as servant to all.

“(Jesus)Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:6-7

Submission must come through Relationship

Without knowing each other, knowing the heart’s desire, talking things through with each other, there can be no mutual submission – one will always just be giving in to the will of the other. That is why we need face to face relationships with other Christians – in small groups and close friendships, so that we can obey God’s commands!1 Peter 5:5  In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Submission is about Sacrifice

Just because submission is not about all these bad things doesn’t mean that it is easy – if it is working it should hurt.
John 15:12-13
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Laying down one’s life is not just about dying it is about giving up what we hold dear because our friend is even more dear to us.
– giving up preferences, honor, possessions… laying down our living lives for each other! Matthew 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Christian Submission is about Honor

Romans 12:10 “love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” – NRSVWe are to be a people who lift each other up, not knock each other down. Building one another up …’as iron sharpens iron’.

Christian Submission flows from the filling of the Spirit

verse 21 of Ephesians is deeply connected to the command in verse 18 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ……flows right intosubmitting to each other…

Our Submission to each other is an outworking of the Spirit’s filling of our lives. If someone likes to call themselves a “Spirit-filled” Christian but cannot submit to others because of pride or rebellion…then they are full of the spirit of rebellion and Pride…not the Holy Spirit.

As this is connected to the filling of the Spirit, we cannot do it without the grace of God flowing through our whole being.


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