Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God

This is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives as Christians (Eph. 5:18). He uses our fellow Christians to teach us humility, to provide us away to serve God by serving our fellow men (Col. 3:22), to hold us accountable in every area of our lives to the Spirit’s workings (Heb. 13:17), as well as to our obedience to the law (I Cor. 6:1-3). This injunction of submitting ourselves does not specify “to his pastor,“ but “to one another,” calling to mind Pro. 27:17. This teaches us to also submit ourselves to our peers for help and guidance. For we do not submit ourselves to them because they are our betters, but we submit to and serve them as a way to submit ourselves to and serve Christ (Col. 3:22-23).

Just as every leader must first learn to be able to truly serve before he can truly lead (Luke 14:8-11, John 14:13-15), so it is that when each one is serving one another selflessly, it becomes natural for, not only also for them to submit to each other for accountability, but for each to provide accountability to whoever asks it of him. By selfless serving, leaders are made. By each serving each selflessly an atmosphere of mutual accountability is created. An atmosphere of trust and loyalty is also generated by such magnanimous generosity, and accountability and submission thrives in such an atmosphere.

Luke 2:51a And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them:

Even Christ, when He was young, even though he knew who He was, submitted Himself to His mother, who was earthly. How much more should I, imperfect, sinful, depraved, young and inexperienced, obey and submit myself unto those wiser than me as well as to God’s teaching?

I Corinthians 16:15-16 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and [that] they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with [us,] and laboureth.

We ought to serve those that serve, especially those that serve wholly in the work of God. Those elders who rule well are therefore worthy of double honor (I Tim. 5:17, Rom. 13:5, I Pet. 5:5).

I Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

We must respect and obey those who have more experience and knowledge than us: we are subject unto them. Also, we have a responsibility to those younger than us (i.e. our siblings) to show them a good example. Also, we must humbly remember that everyone is “older” than us in some area: therefore we must be humble and be in subjection to all.

Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
11 And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He made Himself of no reputation (greek#2758 = to make empty; to make of none effect; to abase); He took on Him the form of a servant; He was made in the likeness of men (the infinite God became finite man); He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. And the outcome: God has exalted Him above all others, so that at the last day, every knee will bow to Him and confess His Lordship. Christ placed God first in His life continually and perfectly, and God’s glory was therefore manifest in Him and made Him Lord of all.

Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Submit to suffering

Christ suffered for us infinitely. What an immeasurable debt for us! Christ was perfectly sinless, and suffered ultimately, yet He had no thought or vestige of anger or revenge in His heart. How can we, deserving of hell, say that any discomfort we feel is undeserved compared to His sacrifice? He, for us, bore our penalty, and thereby reaped immeasurable glory. All He asks in return is for us to cast aside our broken cisterns, drink His living water (Jer. 2:143), and follow in His perfect way and footsteps by obeying His Word. How can any sacrifice we do equal His? So how can we complain at any injustice? How can we refuse to submit ourselves to any suffering for His name?

God the Father, greatest of all fathers. The perfection of Justice, Love, and Wisdom. How can we doubt His power, His omnipotence, or His Love? So how can we not trust ourselves to His everlasting arms as Jesus, who hazarded most on the foreknowledge, power, and love of His eternal Father, did? Who would know better than He? He knows that suffering is but a tool in God’s hand, and naught would befall Him but what the Lord desired for Him. How can we with our imperfect minds and knowledge doubt but that a perfectly loving and caring God who also knows everything and can do anything, can and will perfect for us a perfect way and will in our absolute best interest?

I hope that this short study in submission will help you. Study the verses and apply them to your life. Submission is a crucial attitude to battling sin, but it must be practiced in every area of life. Seek conviction and take action.

With love and prayer in Christ,
Jay Lauser


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