By Guest Writer
It should come as no surprise that the concept of submission is unpopular. For many of us, submission is synonymous with defeat. It conjures up images of the strong-minded trampling the weak-willed. Today’s culture asks, Why would anyone willingly give away their power to someone else? However, this perception of submission is antithetical to the biblical witness. The Scriptures are clear: submission is at the very center of the character of the triune God, where Father, Son, and Spirit all mutually honor and defer to one another in love.
When Jesus submitted to the Father’s will on the night before His death, praying those unforgettable words, “Not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42), it was not due to any weakness on Christ’s part. No, as the Son had done from before the foundations of the world, He glorified the Father by pursuing the Father’s interests above His own. This is how Father, Son, and Spirit relate to one another—in love, mutually submitting to one another’s desires and seeking the other’s good. When Scripture calls for believers to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21), we’re being invited into relationships that reflect the life and love of the Trinity!
It is only with this understanding of submission that we can wrap our minds around Paul’s radical challenge in his letter to the Philippians. He instructs Christians to look to their neighbor’s interests before their own, going so far as to urge them to humility, to “consider others as more important than [themselves]” (Philippians 2:3). This was the attitude of Christ, which means this is the attitude of God Himself. If submission is at the center of God’s existence, it makes perfect sense that He’d desire it to be at the center of ours as well.
One of the ways I’ve tried to cultivate a life of submission is by placing myself under the tutelage of mentors. Throughout my life, I’ve sought out godly men with admirable faith to speak into my life, hold me accountable, and encourage and instruct me in the faith. It’s rarely easy to give someone this level of authority over your life’s direction, but relationships like these help remind me that following Jesus means surrendering my will to God’s kingdom agenda. I give these men authority to guide me in the ways of Christ, and they have been some of the most meaningful relationships I’ve ever had.
But the practice of submission can enter our lives in a myriad of ways, as we seek to put the interests of others ahead of our own. Rather than squeezing in time to help those in need whenever it’s most convenient for us, let’s put acts of service on the calendar first, before filling our days with our own activities. Same goes for giving: set aside money to give away first, before budgeting out the rest. These are small ways we can build the principal of submission into our lives as we follow Christ’s example.
Written by Collin Ross