Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Why is “submission” such a difficult word?

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Our sunday school elective began a 6 week work book based on the movie “Fireproof”, and this morning the discussion was great, but it kept coming back to several of the women mentioning how they struggle with the word “submit” and the concept of “submitting” to their husbands.  Perhaps I have been married too long or perhaps the submission issue was something that I have found peace with because I thought  “that is interesting – why do they struggle so much?” 

So the word that causes some of our generation to shudder should be investigated.  What does God’s Word say about submission?  What does the greek word actually mean, and what are the lessons we can take away and apply to our lives?

Submission Greek hypotassō (pronounced hü-po-tä’s-sō) 

This word was a Greek military term meaning “to arrange [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”.  Here are several usages  in scripture:

  1. to arrange under, to subordinate
  2.  to subject, put in subjection
  3. to subject one’s self, obey
  4. to submit to one’s control
  5. to yield to one’s admonition or advice
  6. to obey, be subject

Jesus assumed his role of leader, having everything put in order under his authority:

And [Jesus] hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church,  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.          –  Ephesians 1:22-23

For he [Jesus] hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.                         -1 Corinthians 15:27-28

Reflect on the life of Christ, and his primary mission – it was to submit to his father’s will, and die on a cross to pay for our sins.  This was the plan to redeem mankind from sin, and to crush the sting of death.  Thanks be to God that Jesus was sinless and obeyed, and went to the cross.

Submission conveys the idea of losing or letting go of control or surrendering control to someone else.  At the heart of our modern struggle with this word is an inherent need to be in control whether it is of simple or complex aspects of our life.  And in this fast paced life we are less and less likely to know each other, or develop trust in one another.  Perhaps it may be even deeper, the idea that we cannot trust ourselves with our lives, how can we trust someone else with control.  But faith is not seeing but believing.  And there is a refreshing freedom that washes over us when we know that we cannot control or change anything about our lives however yielding everything to Jesus we know he will work it out. 

Submission involves learning and faith.  AS we grow in our knowlege of the Character of God, we are given new insight into his love and watchcare for us.  Just like a marriage, we learn each other’s character, and strengths.  We begin to learn how God works and by faith we grow stronger as our life is yielded to him.   Implied in this idea is the development of trust.  As we see God intervene we know that we can rest on his word and his promises for our lives. 

Submission is a word that can be challenging, and bring anxiety to our lives.  Lord, look upon my life, and reassure me that anything yielded to your authority is safe, and that you hold all things in control.  Thank you that you have ordered us with a purpose and given us destinct roles in marriage.  Help me to remain resolved to submit to my husband’s authority and in so doing, honor you.  And thank you that you have provided a chain of command, an ordered structure for the family.  May we be living examples of your grace in this wicked and perverse generation.

And help those who struggle with submission.  Show them your character, and your grace. Grant that the fear, apprehension and negative context associated with this word is removed, and freedom is given to honor you all our days. Amen.

 

 

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Written by Barbara Bloom

February 1, 2009 at 1:01 PM

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