Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Submit. That word seems loaded with explosives, these days. Nobody wants to be told to submit, because it paints images of human doormats. But this word doesn’t mean being a pushover. It doesn’t imply weakness, but rather, strength.
When we submit to one another, we place ourselves, our needs, and our rights under the people around us. We don’t do that to put ourselves down, but rather, to lift others up. Paul wasn’t saying that we should let other people abuse us. Instead, he was setting up a standard of love and respect that every person craves. We make the people around us feel important and loved and respected, simply by submitting ourselves and our own needs.
It is important to note that we are all supposed to submit to each other. Just think what a great place this would be, if we all put everyone else’s needs and desires and feelings in front of our own, and everyone else put our needs and desires and feelings in front of their own! If we were all busy looking out for everyone around us, I can’t help but think that we’d all end up feeling pretty special and loved and important.
Remember, Jesus Christ, at whom every knee will bow, willingly submitted to His Father. And as we follow His example and submit to our Heavenly Father, we are also called to lift others up. Just as a weightlifter lifts the weights above his head, we are to lift others’ needs up above our own. When Christ laid down His life for us, He placed His own wants below our needs. And He wants us to do that for other people.
Notice, this verse isn’t written as a request. It is a command. And it doesn’t matter how anybody else treats us. We are supposed to treat others with the highest love and respect, no matter what. When we do that, we provide a living, breathing example to the world of the kind of love Christ has for all people.
Dear Father, It is hard to submit to other people. Please help me to be strong enough, in You, to put others’ needs in front of my own.
I’m working on this one! I keep telling myself practice makes perfect!
Yep, this is a hard one for everyone, I think!
How timely! I really needed to hear this today and be reminded that it is a command – not a “suggestion”. Thanks my sweet Renae!
Isn’t it great how God always knows what we need, every moment?
I’m joining the others in saying this is a very timely message.
It is especially difficult to submit to those who are already walking on us… At times like that, it can be really hard to know where submitting ends and doormat begins. It should not be like this among Christians. Others should be able to look at us and know we follow Christ because of the love we have for each other. I long for the day when it will be like you described it, Renae, with each of us lifting the needs of each other above our own.
Yes, Jeanette, this is one of those “ouch” verses. It sounds nice, but it is hard to do when others aren’t doing it, as well. But then, I just think how hard it must have been for Jesus to lay down his life for people who were spitting on Him and cursing Him. It makes the little annoyances I have to put up with seem trivial.
Even so, I think this is possibly one of the hardest verses in scripture, don’t you?
Catching up after a while. Poor electricity, exhausting heat and work has slowed me down.Thank you for your daily encouragement.
Amrita, always great to see you! Praying for better electricity, and more energy for you, my friend!