Does the word ‘submission’ come to you as something offensive? degrading or intimidating?
To me, sometimes it does, and it started when I entered teenage life. From then on, it seemed that the ‘S’ word has become a bit spicy, hard to swallow, something that stings. Let’s face it. The moment we turned 13 or up, we had this subtle notion that we know what we are doing, that we can make decisions on our own, and that nobody can just dictate us what to do or what not to do (even our own parents).
That’s in a general context. When we tackled this in our girls’ bible study last week using the material, Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes, we dug deeper and discovered why it is hard for women to submit, and what we need to do, or rather, what character do we need to develop in order for us to submit totally to the Lord. Here’s what we found out (Part 1).
For women, this crisis can be traced a long way back in the 1800s, when feminism began its movement for equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. Taking from that point, it’s apparent that feminism might have had caused the offensiveness of the word ‘submission’. Of course, when we talk about submission, it’s given that there is someone who is above you, someone ruling, someone domineering, someone who has the authority. And when we talk about equality, we can only think of things or situations that oppose the idea of submission. This was when the seed of resistance was planted on women.
In churches today, Hughes said that there’s no doubt why the ‘S’ subject is being hardly touched. The virtue has been watered down. Sadly, it affects the attitude of today’s Christians (not only women) toward submitting to God’s plans and orders. We sometimes want to feel how to be on an equal footing with God. We think we know where we are going or what we are doing. We think we know the future. We want to snatch the steering wheel from God and drive ourselves without exactly knowing the right direction.
This is a sad reality that happens to every Christian. In one way or another, we might have had a similar encounter. I too am guilty of this. But thank God for continually reminding me, us, to always submit to Him because He knows what is best for us. He holds the future and He controls everything (see Jeremiah 29:11)…and we do not!
In our bible study group, we have a member who specifically faces a relevant circumstance. She was just asked to resign from her current job and she doesn’t know where to go after. There’s a possible Christian-related job but doesn’t offer an equal or greater salary (noting that it’s farther compared to her previous workplace). On the other, there’s a promising vacant position in a university but she’s not assured of getting it because of the possible competition. So she asked us to pray for her, for God’s wisdom and direction. She willingly submits to whatever God has prepared for her.
In the Bible, the Lord provided us with a perfect example of submission-Jesus! How and why did Jesus submit? Isn’t he a Lord and a King?
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
Despite his status as King and Lord (which, by the way, He is fully aware of), he willingly submitted to his Father’s will – that he should die on the cross for the penalty of our sins. If you are familiar with the Covenant of Redemption, you will see how Jesus Christ showed from the very beginning how to submit to God’s plan (even it is very painful). In simpler words, the idea of the Covenant is like this: The Trinity, from the very beginning, planned for the salvation of mankind. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit knew that time will come when the Son shall go down to earth, and shall be crucified for the sin of the world. It’s like the Father telling Jesus, “Son, you have to go down one day to save the world…you must die on the cross. There, I will pour out my wrath for the world’s sins, all on you. This is to save them from all their sins so our relationship with them might be restored.”
Imagine, if you were Jesus, or an ordinary person, ordered to die for someone else’s sin (say, be detained for someone else’s crime), would you say ‘yes’? Jesus submitted to the Father’s will even he knew it was gonna be painful, because he knew that God is in control and it is for the best. It is for God’s glory and for the restoration of human. For me, it is the most beautiful plan there is.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on the cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name… – Philippians 2:8-9
Meanwhile, while we’re here on earth, God is also doing something beautiful in our lives. It might not be as grand as the ‘salvation of the world’, but it surely is something good and pleasant in His and our sight. So let us continue to submit. We see, from the very beginning, that the idea of ‘submission’ used to be something nice, and not offensive or burdensome. Let us redeem that essence of submission to the Lord.
Now we’ve seen the idea of submission. On my next post, let us see how, or what character do we need to develop in order for us to submit (It’s a hard one, I must say).
Related article: Mac: Glory…