Submission is NOT a Dirty Word
Watchmen Nee, the renowned Chinese pastor, author, and Kingdom pioneer wrote this concerning submission, “Authority and submission is a very overlooked and often abused issue in Christianity today. Too often we see one extreme or the other. We see authoritarian rule—leaders abusing their God-given authority or either lack of submission and rebellion!”
It is a sad commentary that in the 21stcentury church most believers cringe when they hear the word submission. Most often, we associate the word submission with marriage and regulate it to the covenant between husbands and wives. While the God-kind of submission is a vital part of every successful marriage it must not be limited to the bounds of matrimony. In truth, the revelation of submission is for everyone in every area and aspect of our lives. Whether in marriage, the Kingdom of God, in school, at work, or in the community God has established an order for us to follow. We must remember that rebellion against God’s authority was the devil’s downfall. We cannot afford to follow the demonic path to self-destruction. No matter who you are, at some point in this journey called life, you must submit to someone. In order to live a victorious life in Christ, there must be a constant submission to God.
According to Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, “submission requires a yielding to a superior force or to the authority of another person.” Simply put, submission is willfully flowing with the ordained authority in our lives. For some, submission comes more easily than others. On the other hand, for most of us, it is a challenge that requires the Holy Spirit to lead us into godly submission. When our forefather Adam fell in the garden we all received the seed of rebellion in our DNA. Our natural posture to is to be insubordinate to authority. We inherently hate to relinquish our own power over ourselves. Yet, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ taught that the first step for those who would follow Him was to deny themselves. It is essential in this hour that we identify areas of struggle that caused us to be defeated in certain areas. We have to take inventory where we are in our spiritual journey. Ask yourself, are you being hindered in your walk and delayed in your victory because you have not fully submitted yourself to the Lord? Is the enemy able to take advantage of you through the open door of rebellion in some area of your life? The Word teaches in James 4:7“Submit yourselves therefore unto God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
God teaches us the grace of submission throughout our lives from the time of our childhood until we progress into adults. As children, we are admonished by God to honor our fathers and mothers. We teach children and expect them to respect and respond appropriately to authority. However, as a parent of four, I can honestly say that the resistance to submission can begin at the earliest stages of life. People often take it lightly and think it is cute when a baby’s first word is “NO”. We often smile and laugh and allow him/her to continue saying “No.” Even after they fully understand that they are being defiant. It is best to teach even our children to respect and submit to those in authority. This will help them as they grow and develop throughout their lives, preparing them for their personal walk with God, relationships with teachers, bosses, and even their future spouses.
As a woman who was raised in a single parent household with a strong black woman as a mother and primary example, I thought dominance, power, and authority was my default position. I grew up as the oldest of three children in our home. Therefore lots of responsibility fell upon me. Being in control of me and others (my siblings) was honorable and ultimately required. The word submission was merely something that was thrown around only when watching wrestling on Monday or Saturday nights…lol. I was taught clearly to be respectful to everyone in authority. However, respect is different than submission. Respect is understanding the importance of a person and giving them high regard but submission is surrendering to that person in authority. God wants us not only to submit to Him but to one another. In Ephesians 5:21, the Bible says, “Submitting yourselves one to another, in the fear of God.” God does not want us to be quarrelsome with one another. He wants us to readily yield even to our sisters and brothers in Christ.
I’ll be honest and say that submission didn’t come into play in my own life until I was married. For the first 10 years of my marriage, I honored and respected my husband, but did not submit to his authority in my life. I failed to see the value and the necessity for my husband to be in control. Secretly, I wanted him to take charge and lead me and our home. Yet, every time he tried I fought against his ability to guide. As I reflect, this relationship dynamic mirrored the one I had with the Lord. I would want God to lead me but I was unwilling to truly relinquish my own power. As my relationship with the Lord grew and changed so has my relationship with my husband. According to Ephesians 5:22 -24 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. I can honestly say that in this stage in marriage, I love submitting to my husband. It honors God, it pleases my husband, and it proves as a good biblical model for my own children.
I believe that Ephesians 5:22-24 can be applied by everyone. Marriage is a natural picture of a spiritual principle. Everyone is required to submit to the set authority in our lives. If you are unwilling to submit, I question if you are truly submitted to God. I encourage you today to search yourself and evaluate your level of submission. If you know that you’re not where you should be, ask God to help you to surrender control, first to Him, than to those who have been set in authority over you. I will leave you with this, Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Submission is not a dirty word.
Submitted by, Earlene Hicks