Submit to One Another

Scripture: Ephesians 5:21, ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’

 

Observations: This word ‘submit’ is the Greek word ‘hypotassō,’ which basically means ‘to place under.’ Generally it describes the natural order of the world i.e. people submit to themselves to God, and to the government, wives submit to their husbands, and slaves to their masters. But there are two important aspects to our submission in this verse. Firstly, it is voluntary. Paul isn’t commanding that we submit to him, rather he is saying that as followers of Jesus, as people who want to live a life worthy of their calling (4:1), we will choose to place ourselves under our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We can never demand that someone else submits to us, rather we chose to submit to someone else. Secondly, we do so ‘out of reverence for Christ.’ In the Greek it’s literally ‘in fear of Christ.’ This fear doesn’t mean we are afraid of Jesus, but rather that we acknowledge and respect his authority. As our Lord and Master we want to honour him by submitting ourselves to others. Jesus is our motivation for mutual submission. We submit ourselves to others because Jesus submitted himself to death on a cross for our sakes. Jesus became our servant, and so we do the same for others. Submission is a way that we show respect for Jesus as well as one another.

 

Application: In what ways do you submit yourself to others in our church? Remember this isn’t suggesting that you are less important, or that you have less value. Rather it means that you use your abilities and gifts, not to lord it over others, but to serve them. It’s an attitude that says ‘it’s not about me, it’s about them! It’s not about my honour, but how I can honour others!’ How well do you submit to others? Is this an area you need to confess your pride? How can you grow in a submissive attitude?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I often struggle to submit myself before You, let alone before others. Lord, protect me from pride and instead make me humble. Lord, may I not look for people to submit themselves to me, but instead help me to submit myself to them. Lord, may I be like Jesus who did not think equality was something to be grasped but instead made himself nothing and became a servant. Lord, as his service changed my eternal destiny, may my service to others bless them also. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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