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Submit To One Another

Daily Devotional Ephesians 5: 21-32

Some may think that submission means defeat and loss of control. For example, in a match, the losing wrestler is forced into submission. It is no wonder that when we read the word submit in the Bible our defensive walls go up. We don’t like the idea of submitting to anyone or anything.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. EPHESIANS 5:21

Paul’s teaching on submission in Ephesians 5 follows his urging that we “live as children of light” (v. 9) and in ways that please the Lord (v. 10). He begins with a general statement. As Christ followers, we are to “submit to one another” (v. 21).

The word submit is typically used within a military context. For example, a private is under the rank of a general and therefore submits to the ranking member. The private shows the utmost respect, dignity, and honor to the general, but the general also bears responsibility to care for each person under his charge. Paul wants believers in a marriage to show a similar attitude of honor, respect, love, and care toward one another. Instead of wanting to be the person in control, a husband and wife are to consider the other person first. Because of their relationship under God, they both submit their personal desires and consider the needs of the other.

This type of a marriage was counter-cultural to the Ephesians, and today is still out of the ordinary. Why would a person put their spouse’s needs above their own? Isn’t it important that we are always happy? Paul says we do so out of “reverence for Christ” (v. 21). Where some cultures coerce spouses to be submissive, Paul says the reason believers willingly submit is an extension of Jesus’ new command to love one another.

>> If you are married, how can you choose to put the needs and desires of your spouse ahead of yourself? How would your childhood have been different if your parents’ marriage was one where they submitted to one another out of reverence for the Lord?

Pray with Us

Oh God, how we need You! For the righteousness we desire, for the selflessness for which we strive, for the submissive spirit that contradicts our nature. Change us, Lord, to be like You.

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