Brothers and sisters, submit yourselves to one another…
Now that’s something you don’t hear every day! Submit to one another?
Then that means I can’t have things my way. That means I might have to let someone else be right! That means I might have to put my needs and wants aside in order to serve and please somebody else first! Yup…we read that
right! That’s exactly what this verse from Ephesians is telling us to do. Well now isn’t that just a fine “how do you do” on a Thursday morning! Ok…but surely it doesn’t mean submit to people we don’t like very much does it?
What about people that can’t possibly “pay us back”? Holy cow…what about the grumpy person down the street…surely God didn’t mean them did He? My friends, this is one of those “live it even if it’s hard” verses from the New Testament. Donating to a charity or adopting an orphan from a third world country are beautiful acts of Christian service but this verse is asking for something bigger…something harder…something more personal. This verse is asking us to lay down our needs and wants and put someone else’s in front of our own.
I truly believe I am allergic to conflict! I will walk five miles the other way to avoid a fuss but I remember a girl in college who brought out the argument buried somewhere deep inside me. She was a strong, persistent woman who always needed to be first, right and best at everything. She wore me out! We had several Secondary Ed classes together and it seemed like we always got paired up for discussions and projects. Every time we had to work together I got a stomach ache and felt like I was trapped in the
never-ending tale of “how great am I!” Every good idea or thought from the group became hers and every bit of credit earned was due completely to her…even if there were five of us who did the work. One night we were
supposed to meet at the library to finish a project and I walked across campus toward the meeting like I had lead in my shoes and in my stomach! As I climbed the library steps a thought popped into my head that stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder something that had never occurred to me. I asked myself to think of all the possibilities that might have led her
to be so strong willed and opinioned. As I considered some of the things that could have made her so difficult to get along with at the age of 19, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that I had been created with a peaceful spirit. I decided to be peaceful and kind to her that night rather than try to
compete with her or change her. I guess you could say I decided to submit to her, although I had no idea that’s what I was doing. When everyone had arrived, I spoke up first and asked everyone in the group to tell the reason they wanted to get an A on the project. Much to my surprise she answered last and with a quiver in her voice she said, “Because I have to or my father will say I failed and he will unleash his wrath and fury. That’s just what
happens when you don’t end up on top in my family.” I winked at her and said “ok, let’s get to work; we have an A+ to earn!” She was a different person that night, in fact, we all were! Words like that are so honest, humble and raw they stick with you.
All these years later, I don’t even remember her name, but I remember the look she gave me that night across the table in the library. I try to remember it when I get too big for my britches and think I know more or can do something better than somebody else. I try to remember that look when I think someone should behave differently. I try to remember that look every time I think I have the right to judge another. Mostly I remember that look when I’m having a hard time remembering that everyone has a story and usually I know nothing about it but if I did, it just might change everything. All I need to know is God calls us to love, and the greatest way to love God is to serve one of His children. Our culture would lead us to believe submission is a sign of weakness but rather it is the greatest act of humility and Christ-like behavior possible. I don’t know about you, but I think the world would do well with a little more of that!
A Seed To Plant: Think of one or two people you could be submissive towards. Ask God to show you just how you might go about it this week.
Blessings on your day!
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