When Christians hear the word submission, their minds may automatically jump to the controversial subject of submission of wives to their husbands. However, all Christians are called into a lifetime of submission. Christians are called to submit first and foremost to God as stated in James 4: 7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God….”. Jesus lived in perfect submission to His Father. He never argued with Him about His rights or rebelled against Him. Instead, He yielded to His Father’s will because He trusted Him. He is our example.
We are called to submit to the government and other authorities. Romans 13: 1 states, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” This means everything from following speed limits to paying taxes. It means we cannot use our own judgment or take what is entitled to us.
Common sense tells us to submit to our bosses, but Christians are called to do even more than submit but to “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” in Ephesians 6:7. Putting forth our best efforts is a testimony to our boss and coworkers that God is good. If you think you are being treated unfairly, do not seek revenge with poor efforts.
Christian children must obey their parents as it says in Ephesians 6:1 , “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This basic relationship teaches us to know our place.
Submission is an attitude fortified with humility and obedience. These are characteristics God wants to instill in us because we cannot live in a proper relationship with the Lord unless we are trained in submission. If we cannot submit to earthly authority, how can we submit to God?
Ephesians 5: 22 states, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” As women’s rights gained prominence, the above verse became increasingly controversial. Some non-Christians think it is demeaning to women. Even some Christians think this is a verse that was meant for the time period it was written in and does not apply to us. I do not think it is demeaning or outdated.
Our Creator gave a masterful order to the universe. He instituted the laws of gravity. Our Father in heaven also established an order in families. Jesus should be the head of every household. Husbands are called to submit to Him, wives should submit to their husbands, and children must obey their parents.
Women have been given the gift of beauty, the ability to bear children, and a powerful influence over their children’s lives. Yet, women are called to submit to husbands. This does not mean wives should become robotically compliant to their husbands. It means they should yield to their husbands.
Husbands should never misuse their authority to control or abuse women. Rather, they should delegate authority to other people in the household. They should seek the opinions of household members before making decisions. In this way, they become a good Christian husband and father.
Christian wives will become unhappy if they must assume a leadership position because a husband is refusing to lead. When both husband and wife struggle for power, households are too argumentative. Christians who feel their household is out of balance should seek their God-given assigned identity in Christ by meditating on Scripture and praying for ways to conform to God’s design for families.
Christians should have an attitude of submission towards God. Our earthly authority provides a great training ground to learn how to submit. When we submit to authority, we humbly obey God as we should. Whether it is the federal government or our boss or a husband, we respect God’s plan for order when we yield to their authority.
But what about when the authority figure or law goes against God’s Word? What then? God is the highest authority in the Christian’s life. Christians should always obey God even when authorities in your life command you to go against what God or His Word is telling you to do.
In the book of Daniel, we read about Daniel’s character. He was faithful to God and submitted to authority. He worked hard and behaved righteously. His qualities earned him a promotion. The jealous officials inspired a decree which forbid Daniel to pray to God. Yet Daniel ignored the decree that lead him away from God and kept on praying! He feared God more than man so God rescued him from the mouth of lions.
Christians must always fear God more than man. Christians should never depend on the law to tell us what is right or wrong, but we should rely on God’s Word. Believers should tell corrupt bosses they will not break the law to help their bottom line. Christian women should not quietly submit to abusive husbands but seek God’s will in their lives. Those are exceptions in which acting righteously and justly according to God’s Word is more important than submitting to authority.
In most circumstances, submission to authority is a useful tool to help us draw near to the Lord. If we love the Lord, we will submit to authority. In doing so, we are a good example and witness to others. Throughout our lives, we must remember our King in heaven is our ultimate authority. Our Father who loves us deserves our undivided loyalty.
PRAYER: Lord, Help us to draw near to You by submitting to authority. Give us the courage to stand firm on the Word when authority leads us astray. Thank You, Lord, that You hear our prayers. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
© 2015 Kim Bond
Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!