In every part of society there must be submission for the orderly conduct of life. In nations, the local assemblies of God’s people, or in families, there is unhappiness, disorder, and chaos, unless submission to authority is intact. Those who submit, voluntarily cooperate with others out of respect. For believers, that love and respect is for God first, and then for those who have authority.
Examples of Submission
The Lord and holy women (1Peter 2:13-3:7)
Submitting to unbelieving husbands may be difficult, but can be an effective strategy in soul winning (1Peter 3:1). One-sided submission requires tremendous strength. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to do this.
The Lord Jesus submitted even when it led to His suffering and death and He gives us the greatest possible example of Biblical submission. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands.” Sarah’s submission to Abraham allowed her to share God’s promises with her husband while learning dependence on God, thankfulness to God, and the power of living by faith.
Principles to remember: We submit “for the Lord’s sake,” without guile, with the inner self. Without words, the evidence of reality is seen. The faithful, trusting woman, is like her Lord Who, with His meek and quiet spirit, has won the hearts of millions (Isa 53:7-9).
Rules of Submission
Instruction for Christian homes (Col 3:17-4:1)
When a husband displays submission to Christ by showing Christlike love, he will find himself married to a wife who can respect him and affirm his leadership. Her submission makes his job easy as she supports him in his role and does not compete for leadership. She is completely free to love, not out of compulsion or fear. The “arranging in rank” of equals does not indicate inferiority of women or the superiority of men. The Father and Son are equals. The orderly fellowship of the Godhead is that on which the well-being of the universe depends. This holy fellowship should be reflected in the relationship between the husband and wife. The man has the God-appointed responsibility of leadership in the home. The wife has the unique privilege of showing submission to the Lord by submitting to her husband. Both are submitting to the Lord and to each other (Eph 5:21).
Principles to remember: Holy women were recognized for their beauty by trusting in God, submitting to their husbands, and accepting their role “in the Name of the Lord,” “as it is fit in the Lord,” and “as unto the Lord.”
Reality of Submission
Practices for Christian homes (Eph 5:21-6:9)
The incentive for submission is reverence for Christ. It is recognizing the mind of Christ and is directly associated with the filling of the Spirit. A man who loves his wife puts aside his own interests. He is in charge of and responsible for her well-being in the same way the Lord Jesus Christ is in charge of and responsible for the Church. No wife need ever fear submitting to a man who treats her in this way. He cares for her as he cares for his own body, and as a wise, Christ-honoring wife, she will not undermine his leadership.
Submission involves a willingness to obey God’s command. The Lord has a godly woman’s supreme loyalty. She is willing to live under authority. Everyone is under someone’s authority even though it is against our nature to “give in” to another. Submission to authority enables us to live joyfully as we obey the Lord. Submission between equals is by choice, not by force. The man submits by taking the responsibility of leadership, servant-leadership, as patterned by the Lord. We learn first to submit to our Lord and then find that submission may be the hardest but most productive thing a woman can do. By following the pattern of the Church’s submission to Christ, the woman submits to the authority of the man by following his leadership. Thus the honor and glory go to the Lord.
Principles to remember: Men and women have been created by God with unique and complementary characteristics. Submission is to be reciprocal, natural, voluntary, and personal, as opposed to rude, haughty, and selfish preference for one’s own opinions. We honor Christ by being submissive. He is our supreme example.
Test of Submission
Imitating Christ’s humility (Phil 2:1-11)
The attitude of the Lord Jesus Christ is thinking of others rather than Himself. Submissive persons prefer one another (Rom 12:10); edify one another (1Thes 5:11); bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2); do not judge one another (Rom 14:13); and are willing to admonish one another (Rom 15:14). True submission produces sacrifice. Sacrifice brings joy and likeness to Christ. Phoebe was a servant of the church. Priscilla, with her husband, was able to expound the way of God and serve others. Mary bestowed much labor on the Christians in Rome. Persis labored much, “in the Lord” (subjection to authority). Euodias and Syntyche labored in the gospel.
Principles to remember: “Sarah’s daughters do well” when they are in respectful submission, are pure and upright in life, and are faithful in their duties as women of faith. Such women are faithful in their fidelity to God and their husbands. They are firm in their principles of integrity to God and His Word. They are not turned aside by terror, trials, or threats, but are unbending in virtue.
Whether single or married, be faithful in your devotional life and walk with God. If married to one who is not a Christian, love, honor, and respect him – trusting God. Win him without words. If married to a Christian who does not live like a Christian, pray that God would act upon him, pray for another man to help him, pray for changes you need to make. If married to a busy Christian, allow him time to spend with God. Communicate any changes you feel are needed to be made for you and your children.
God gives the enabling grace we need to fulfill what He expects.