I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Hannah Solomon Mesfin (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
There are many and I mean MANY topics I would always choose to talk about before I got into the subject of submission. And for quite a long time, I always believed myself to be a person who is humble and after the needs of others; yet I despised the word submission for what I believed it stood for, until I got to learn what God’s truths are about submission and lowering oneself. Today, I believe many of us have confused the word submission with a negative connotation. It leaves a bad taste in our mouth when we say it and quite frankly, we rather skip that part of the “Christian life.” In summary, we believe submission is just another word for bondage.
Submission is designed for everyone. In Ephesians 5, the author Paul goes into a list of how we should be imitators of Christ, walking in love and unselfishly seeking the best for others. He continues in how we should be pure and holy in our character, and how we once lived in darkness but are now light in the Lord. Then, towards the end of his instructions to wrap it all together, he ends it by saying “be in submission to one another out of reverence for God.”
We submit to one another, not because we are in bondage to that person, but because we lower ourselves as Christ Himself became flesh and lowered Himself to give us freedom and everlasting life. We then begin to open up ourselves to what God has in store for us. We are called to imitate His character and His desire for creating a kingdom that serves one another and not self-serving.
That command was not just for “people in those days.” It applies to us now. And when we walk in this command, we are expanding His kingdom and showing a character that is beyond what our flesh can produce.
“Submission is ultimately strength under control.”
The key word in that is strength, not weakness. We associate showing obedience/submission to our ultimately showing weakness. Instead God is teaching us self-control---how to manage our need to be in control.
I once read an article that said, “Submission must first be an attitude of the heart, then it becomes an act of will.” Submission to one another begins with a changed heart, a changed attitude, ultimately a changed person. And Christ changes us. He makes us new.
We can’t love purely and serve one another freely if we are always trying to outdo, outrun, or outperform our neighbor. Instead we must “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phil. 2:3-4) That is when we begin to out-serve one another in love and when we can fully learn what it looks like to imitate Christ—which is our ULTIMATE goal!
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Mark 10:35-45Questions to Reflect on: