I don’t like the idea of submission, of keeping quiet with the slightly bowed head, to honor those in authority who do not deserve it, to be gracious to those who do not give grace to me. I prefer the quick and deadly retort, the one sentence that will silence them, and the quiet rebellion, coals burning blue.
Yet submission is a huge part of my faith. To come to faith in Jesus is itself an act of submission, an act of humility. I am broken and Christ is whole. But then I read in the Bible that I need to submit constantly, not just Jesus but to people. I am called to submit to my parents, submit to my elders, submit to my employers, submit to my future husband, submit to the government. But submission seems weak. Submission seems fearful. Submission seems wrong, especially when I think of submitting to people that I disagree with or who I don’t trust. Why should I submit and honor my elders, when in reality they are living like Pharisees, modern-day hypocrites? Why should I listen and submit to my employer when she asks me to take more on, when I’m tired and I don’t have a lot of time? Why should I listen and submit to the governments (British resident/American citizen) that are supposed to represent me when I can’t vote in one or the other has no integrity that I can see so far? It sometimes seems like a value system of people and because I am young, have parents, am employed, a woman, and a citizen, I appear to be near the bottom.
Yet submission to people doesn’t mean that I don’t have a voice or I keep silent over things that are clearly wrong. It doesn’t mean that I am weak or I am of less value. I know my strengths, as well as weaknesses, and I know my value, as well as my disadvantages, for being me. This is already defined for me, in the fact that I am human and in the fact that I am loved by God. The Bible doesn’t call us to submit to others because others will treat us well or that others are better than us. Submission to God is never about who is better than whom, nor is it about conforming but it is simply obedience. He calls us to obey Him for the simple reasons that He is God, He created us, and therefore He has authority over us. He is the one who calls for our submission. He is the one who defines our submission.
If we call Jesus Lord, then our actions should reflect that by submitting to His authority, and means treating people the way He treated them, with honor and love. It is not easy. It is humbling. When I am in submission to Jesus, that is when I am my most caring, my most strong, and my most confident. In appearance, I may seem to be weaker, but I don’t feel that way. Instead I feel rooted-deep and strong.