The Trouble With Submission

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Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

Ephesians 5:21-24 (NLT)
21  And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22  For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23  For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24  As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

In this Sunday’s message we are continuing our look at Love and Marriage from a Christian perspective. In doing so we need to deal with the issue of submission. Unfortunately this is a topic that is most often misunderstood both outside and inside the church. The following story gives one of those misunderstandings. Jill Briscoe had this to share about what submission is not. “Stuart and I brought our families and religious heritages to our marriage. My father, a quiet, gentle man, considered himself head of his home: protector, defender, and provider. My mom was a sweet, Scottish- born Presbyterian. She believed in the sovereignty of God and her husband. My father adored my mother, put his considerable business assets into her name, and looked to her to raise the children. When my sister came of age, my father supported her when she became an excellent car mechanic and raced cars. Eventually she took her place at his side as partner in his successful car business. Stuart’s family was strict, conservative evangelical. His father was an elder in a small local assembly of believers, and he took seriously his responsibility to rule the household well. He considered himself the authority in his family, while his wife, a bright, articulate, efficient lady, considered herself in subjection to her husband in everything, carrying those convictions to her dress, her hair style, and silence in the presence of men at the church.

Newly converted at a college in Cambridge and having just been introduced to Stuart’s family, I remember wondering greatly about this amazing mode of doing things. I sensed an unconscious frustration of unexplored desires and frustrated gifts in my mother-in-law. It was as if those gifts sat meekly inside her heart with eyes downcast and wearing a hat. In that moment as a new believer, I believe I stumbled on an important truth of what submission isn’t. Submission isn’t sitting down on the outside while you’re standing up on the inside” (What Submission Isn’t,” Jill Briscoe, “Hilarious Hupotasso,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 117). Something that we should notice about what Paul wrote to the Ephesian Church. He says we should “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We need to submit to one another because submission has to do with mutual respect and not keeping some under our thumb. It’s not about lording it over someone; rather it is about showing the proper respect to one another because of our reverence for Christ and his Word. Once we figure that out we begin to submit out of love and not out of force.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

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