“The measure of your submission is the measure of your spirituality.”
— Rev. Ray Brown
“Mutually submit to one another out of respect for Christ.”
— Ephesians 5:21
Submit, and do so in any and every situation, and there, in that moment, is spirituality. This is because to submit is to quash every degree of pride, and pride is the antithesis of the Spirit.
But the word “submission” (Greek word, hypotasso) is not very fashionable these days. In our prideful era we don’t like the idea that we should submit to anyone, let alone each other. And somehow we haven’t discovered that such a position is the root of discontent. Such a position — to not submit readily to everyone — is unbiblical.
To submit to everyone — out of respect for Christ — not to appease them, for their sake — gives glory to God. And yet there’s a great deal of power we experience in submitting in all our relationships.
What Does a Godly Submission Look Like
When we genuinely try on this godly submission we find there’s a latent and loving power indwelt in it, for us and for the person or people we’re interacting with. The relational dynamic will be an experience of Christ’s lightness; all because one person decides they bring a gentle spirit to the conversation.
A godly submission is a listening spirit, and hence it avails to the moment patience, poise and power. Yes, that’s right — in genuine submission (out of respect for Christ) there’s power; a power because of self-control and trust in God.
The Paradoxical Power for Joy and Peace
Submission is a paradoxical power for joy and peace, because we don’t have to force our way through or defend ourselves; we find that God does that for us. When we decide that another’s needs are as important as our own, our own needs change, and we find that our needs are subsumed in the whole — everyone’s needs become important to us. When this is the case, the prayer, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” becomes answered, through us.
See how our joy and peace are linked to others’ joy and peace? The paradoxical power in submission works all the time. It’s a joy and a peace we come to live with, the more we submit to others.
Godly submission is nothing about being a doormat, yet it’s everything about the power in the glory of God. Follow me. If I can ‘submit’ within an interaction with someone sufficiently to listen properly, I help to allay their fears as I appear present with them in the moment. Their needs are as important as mine are, and godly submission is respect for that reality.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.