One of the most misunderstood aspects of discipleship is that of submission. People have many wrong ideas about submission, especially when it comes to areas such as marriage. So, what does submission mean?
Submission means willingly choosing to let someone else lead. It is an act of choice made to prepare the believer for his own submission to God.
The Bible is full of admonition for believers in the area of submission. Let’s look at few that theologian Richard Foster has given:
Submission to God: “We must obey God rather than man.” Acts 5:29. We must learn to submit our lives and obey God.
Submission to scripture: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” 1 Timothy 3:17 We must learn to live under the authority of God’s Word.
Submission to our family: “Do not merely look out for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4. We must consider others before ourselves. I have learned as the man of the house that I am to love my wife as Christ loved the church. How did He do that? He gave Himself sacrificially for the church. I am to love my wife and children sacrificially.
Submission to our neighbors: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 Again, we must consider others before ourselves. Life is not about us or our rights.
Submission to the body of Christ: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17
Submission to the broken, the despised: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27 We need to be about helping those who need our help and sharing the love of Christ with them.
Submission to the world: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him might be saved.” John 3:16. I have been taught so well the idea that we are never more like God than when we give. God gave His only son Jesus so that we might receive forgiveness for our sin and eternal life. We need to be about submitting our lives by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to others.
Submission is not an ugly word nor is it something we should avoid. Submission is a spiritual discipline we all need so that we may daily experience the life and joy that God has for us.