The word SUBMIT tends to ruffle feathers. Anyone who has been under domination or experienced tyranny bristles at the idea of ever feeling powerless again. We often counter these feelings by adopting a “control freak” philosophy. This lifestyle manifests in secret and not so secret places- our homes, our families, our cars, our bank accounts, and even our physical appearances. Somehow we have bought into the fallacy that being in control will avoid, eliminate, or stabilize chaos. Truth be told, control creates and maintains mayhem. Noah Webster defines the word SUBMIT as to yield, resign, or surrender to the power, will or authority of another. Mr. Webster’s view does not bring much comfort to our souls. Our instinctual understanding of the word may include the description of a doormat, weakling, pathetic, or abused individual. Fortunately, the Bible gives us the most accurate picture of submission; when understood, will smooth every ruffled feather and create peace in pandemonium.
To SUBMIT is the Greek word hupotasso used in two different contexts. It can be a military term referring to arranging troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader. In non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden. For our purposes, we will address the non-military meaning. Voluntary. No demands from others, but an attitude change from within. Many of us are familiar with the Scripture in Ephesians chapter five verse twenty-two calling for wives to SUBMIT to their husbands. However; the preceding verse Ephesians 5:21 says, “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Job 22:21 NLT states, “SUBMIT to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.” James 4:7 NKJV reads, Therefore SUBMIT to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Hebrews 13:17 ESV gives us another perspective, “Obey your leaders and SUBMIT to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Each of theses Scriptures carry a benefit involving everyone who carries out the submission. Wives are to SUBMIT to their husbands, Believers in Jesus Christ should SUBMIT to one another, all persons need to SUBMIT to leaders, and ultimately one and all should choose to SUBMIT to God; resulting in protection, unity, peace, and advantages.
A few years ago I witnessed a picture of submission that helped me understand the beauty of it instead of the negative repercussions from my past. I was walking in the country and gazed at a farm where I observed a farmer driving a pickup truck leading a sheepdog, who in turn led several goats. The sheepdog was attentive and purposeful. The goats ran behind the sheepdog leaping with joy. What I observed modeled a Godly marriage. The farmer represented the Lord. As master, he knew the destination ahead that included a great reward. The sheepdog represented the husband. He intently followed the farmer without waiver, taking his charge seriously as he trusted the faithful master. The goats constituted the wife. Although they were different than the sheepdog, they were neither inferior, nor did they behave as such. Because they were confident in the sheepdog’s love and devotion to the farmer and his love and leadership to them, they joyfully leapt in submission. Domination and oppression were absent. Ephesians 5:22-27 in the Message gloriously paraphrases this as it says, “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does the church, not by domineering, but by cherishing. So just as the church SUBMITS to Christ as He exercises leadership, wives should likewise SUBMIT to their husbands. Husbands, go all out in love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything He does and says is designed to bring out the best in her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness, and that is how husbands ought to love their wives.”
We, husbands and wives and singles, are loved extravagantly by Christ Jesus. It it a privilege to SUBMIT, voluntarily aligning our attitudes in cooperation with God. Nothing in God’s design renders us as doormats, weaklings, pathetic, or abused. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit, living in unity with great advantages. Anything less is a counterfeit of the enemy. Let the word SUBMIT be a solace as a blanket, covering and comforting us when we rest, instead of a trigger of unpleasantness. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. Release control as the pathway to peace, and SUBMIT in conviction countering the chaos that proliferates in its nonexistence.