At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. – Philippians 2:10 -11
Chapter three, Discipline of Submission. Seriously? The book we are following (The Disciplines of a Godly Woman, by Barbara Hughes) is a book written for women, so of course they HAVE to have a chapter on submission. My flesh, at times, continues to rail so fiercely against this word that I have to stop and correct myself. I have to take a breath, pray and think spiritually.
Submission is what women are taught to AVOID as soon as we are capable of learning. “You are the boss of you, be independent, don’t let anyone tell you what to do, you can’t submit to someone else and be successful.” So when women bristle at the word “submission” we could say that we are reacting to years of training (often under the guise of “Christian” teaching). HOWEVER, is this socially-accepted-feminist-indoctrination the true cause of our rebellion against submitting? NO! What is? The SIN in our own hearts.
Rebellion against submitting to authority is what SIN is all about! This chapter on the discipline of submission would fit just as well in a book written for men (okay, not the parts that pertain to women such as in marriage). Yet, ALL who are called by God are called to live a life in submission to Him. That is what the Christian walk is all about. That is what we are pursuing right now as we pursue godliness – attempting to bring our own will into submission to his. If I am railing against submission, I am railing against God himself. Now, that is a humbling thought.
Submission can be defined as, “yielding to the authority of another”. I would add the word “willingly” to it (because submission is a heart issue, not just an action issue). In the book, Barbara Hughes calls submission “The Posture of Godliness”. It is our stance before God. He, being the Authority and we, his willing subject.
Philippians 2:5-11 is one of my all-time favorite portions of Scripture (pick up your Bible and read the whole thing). I think it embodies both the example of Jesus Christ in regards to his submission (to the Father) and his Lordship over us. It begins in verse 5, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” In other words – Jesus enables us to think as he did. Having the mind of Christ is a huge gift (see 1 Cor. 2:16) – use it to overcome the sinful pride of rebellion.
It goes on to tell us about the humility of Jesus while on earth: “though he was in the form of God… emptied himself… taking the form of a servant… humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death…on a cross.” If my mighty Savior submitted this way to his Father (even though he was God and all-powerful) I am without excuse (and so are you). Are you displaying the humility of Christ to those around you? Are you living up to the name “Christ-ian”?
“Therefore God has highly exalted him…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Jesus is declared LORD, all to the glory of God.
When God calls us to submit to him (James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God,”) is this not a good and right calling? Yes, it can be no other way. Every command given by God is perfect and leads to blessing for the believer (Rom. 8:28)! The call to submit is no different. So, let go of the resistance and walk this pathway of blessing with trust and joy.
We submit to God by submitting to the authorities that he has placed in our lives as women. This will include our husbands, pastors, parents, employers and others. We do this gladly “out of reverence for Christ,” (Ephesians 5:21). We also submit to God in every action and decision we make every day. We choose to do what he wants us to do and not what we are (sinfully) inclined to do. Having a difficult time discerning God’s will in an area? Search the Scriptures, pray and seek godly counsel. There is a right answer.
Women, stanch the rebellion in your flesh and live willingly under the Lordship of God. Joyfully submit to the One who holds your heart and all the world in his gracious hands.