I used to read the Bible with a pair of scissors in one hand and a highlighter in the other.
Ready to highlight my favourite verses about love and blessings, ready to cut out the parts that made me uncomfortable.
There is one word I specifically liked to skip over.
This word used to get me really riled up. Usually misused, often abused and frequently ignored, I think it’s about time we talk about it.
There is nothing wrong with being confused with what you read in the Bible. There is nothing wrong with questioning or doubting.
There is something wrong if our first response to this is to get out the scissors.
Let us read the Bible with the conviction that it is truth. It is when we approach the Bible ready to prove it wrong that we will fail.
Freedom in Submission
First lets deal with two words. Freedom and Submission.
For the majority of us younger humans, these two words contradict one another.
“Freedom” makes you dream of road trips, vacations and school loans paid off. Being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whoever you want.
“Submission” makes you think of doormats, dogs and anti-feminism.
While this mindset is common, we cannot allow it to continue to shape our idea of submission.
What if I told you that true freedom, the kind that sticks around no matter what your circumstances, is found in a life of submission?
I firmly believe that Jesus came to radically shift the way the world worked and to show us the beautiful freedom in living as willing servants.
If we come to the understanding that we are free to freely submit, that it is an honour rather than a burden to submit to God and others, we can approach these passages with excitement rather than dread.
No one is forcing you into submission. No one can make your heart submit the way Jesus calls us to.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise… giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:15, 20-21
All of us as Christians are to live a life of submission and humility, because of our devotion to Jesus. Not because we are less valuable, less capable or weaker than others, but because as followers of Jesus we are becoming love.
When we mutually and voluntarily submit to each other, viewing ourselves as a working unit and not a bunch of individuals we are living honourably and respectfully for Jesus. Our primary reason for a life of submission is not to be kind, or to obey the law, but because of incredible respect and love for our Saviour.
We submit for the greater good of the Christian family. We submit not in hopes that it will be mutual, but despite the fact that it might not be mutual.
Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing. Philippians 2:3-4 (TLB)
Living in submission means thinking of others first.
It means taking a searching inventory of ourselves and laying down our selfish desires and rebellious spirit.
It means being a team player rather than an individualist.
It means being excited and happy for others successes and giving up our own comforts for other’s needs.
We cannot learn how to submit by reading a book on it. We learn how to submit through a daily living out of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. By simply yielding to him our decisions and inner workings and repenting from dead works, we allow space for His work.
We will all be so much better off when we begin living our lives for others and not ourselves. Our emotions will no longer depend on how others treat us, or whether we get what we want, but simply on obedience to Christ.
Remember, often the first step towards growth is realizing that you really can’t do it on your own.
All the love!