By: Rev Chris Troxel
We don’t like the word submit.
It seems derogatory. It seems to mean something degrading. Why in the world would Paul, or God through Paul instruct people to submit? What possible good could come from that? Is merely that they are products of the male-dominated culture of the time?
When we think of the word submit, perhaps we think of something more like imposed subjugation, something forced on someone else. That is the definition of bullying. That is not what Paul or God are pointing to in Ephesians 5:21.
What the Spirit is saying through Paul here a voluntary move. Paul is encouraging Ephesian believers to continue following Jesus by taking the next step of faith: willingly give up what you want, to serve and care for someone else. What would move you to give up your wants for someone else?
Paul is speaking from experience here. Paul had his own idea about who God was, and what God wanted. Paul was willing to harm people in many communities for the sake of keeping God and His name holy. What Paul failed to see was how much his pride twisted the very word of God he was considered an expert in. He was so twisted, only God could save him. And he did.
How much has pride contorted your hold on God’s word? Or your view of people in your life? Or the work God lays out before you? Jesus intervened in Paul’s story and changed it from being “faithful” service defined by suffering to being a life dedicated to bringing anyone he could to know and love Jesus. How is Jesus redefining your story? How is God calling you to lay your life down to serve those around you, to put their needs ahead of your own? Take a few moments and identify those God is calling you to love, and 3 ways you can express to them the selfless love God has shown you. May God bless you as we together learn to submit.