I was reading a manuscript for a book coming out next year and kept seeing the word “submission.” Yup, that dirty “S” word. Did you think this was about something else? I know, Snickers probably crossed your mind – they taste so good but doesn’t help if you want the scale to go down in numbers.
Anyway, back to that “S” word. It is sad that we see it as dirty and uncomfortable. I understand that for many submitting to unjust authorities can be painful and hard. Submitting to that kind of thing rankles us independent free-thinking Americans. Freedom after all means making our own choices, doesn’t it?
Well, you pay taxes (maybe?) and you probably generally follow the speed limit. You try not to steal or murder. Hmm. Are you submitting to the law or to God? Perhaps both because God has given us the law for protection, for our benefit, for our greater happiness.
So too with those He places in authority over us. I have a “boss.” I cannot just go and do my own thing but I have to submit to her ultimate authority over the work I do. It doesn’t bother me at all. I see it as an opportunity to grow as I learn from her leadership and guidance.
In the church, I see the leadership I serve under as a spiritual umbrella that protects me from falling into sin. They are held responsible for my ministry before God as I serve under them. I respect the weight of that and want to honor that responsibility by responding to their authority with gratitude.
Submission does not equal doormat though. It does not equal “victim.” We are not to submit to evil or condone it.
Submission is a joy when we know that the people we submit to have our best interests at heart and love us. Then it is far easier to submit even when doing so means letting go of some or our own desires.
Submission however is not always easy. Jesus submitted to an unjust trial, false accusations and brutal physical torture as well as the defection of the majority of his followers. For you and for me. To save us. To provide an intimate umbrella of protection from the weight and death that is a result of our sin.
In that way submission is a beautiful thing and not a dirty word. The best book I’ve ever read on this subject is called Liberated through Submission by Bunny Wilson. I recommend it for MEN and WOMEN, SINGLE or MARRIED. It’s the kind of book I hope my kid will read in their later teen years to help them be prepared for the reality of submission in this world and the blessings that are a part of it.
How about you? In what ways do you struggle with this issue?