To submit is not a popular thought. For most, it brings up ideas of subjugation and conquest, the rule of power exerted over the will of others. Submittance means I am no longer in control of my own future. For a nation that prides itself on freedoms and rights, submission seems counterintuitive. What concept should we have of submission?
We need to see that first we should be in submission to the will of God. “Submit therefore to God” (Jas. 4:7a). “Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Rom. 8:7). Submittance looks like obedience, feels like love (John 14:15) and is losing oneself (Gal. 2:20). My will is no longer my own. All my desires are superseded by the desires of my Lord.
We are commanded to submit to governing authorities. This is a struggle. It is one thing to submit to God, who loves us (John 3:16). It is another thing to submit to a governing authority that at best doesn’t care and in some cases is openly hostile toward you. Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. Yet the Lord has said, “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Rom. 13:1-2). Here in lies the dilemma. How far do we submit? It is clear that we are to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Paul used the laws of the land to his advantage for the furtherance of the kingdom (Acts 16:37-39). It was clear that the early church suffered at the hand of the government. They “gladly” lost property and suffered ill treatment but looked forward to the eternal reward (Heb. 10:32-34).
We are to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21). Christ is the greatest example of this, and this is highlighted in the letter the Philippian church (Phil. 2:3-4). In the context of submission to one another, Paul writes about wives being in submission to husbands (Eph. 5:22-33). This means the husband has the ultimate responsibility of maintaining a godly home. Likewise, we are to submit to the elders so that the task that the Lord has given them will be done with joy (Heb. 13:17).
Even though submission is not a popular thought, it is something that we are commanded to do. Hopefully, this will help: Submission to God for our betterment. Submission to government even to our detriment. Submission to one another for our encouragement. Submission to our spouses that are heaven-sent. Submission to the elders for their enjoyment.