Defined simply submission is “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or the will or authority of another person.” This is where many have difficulty grasping the notion of yielding because they focus on the idea that says: “If I’m submitting, it suggests I’m inferior to another.” Wrong! Let’s look at this issue through the Word of God and understand submission through Heaven’s perspective as it relates to marriage:
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” – Philippians 2:4-5.
Before Christ came to Earth, even as a member of the Godhead, Holy Trinity, He had to first submit. Jesus models submission by yielding to the will of God by stepping fully into His role as the Savior for all of humanity. But notice the Scripture says, “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.”
Husbands and wives are equals, partners, and both created in the image of God. Submission from this perspective, never demonstrates inferiority, it is instead an act of humility that put aside equality in order to accomplish something greater and to maintain harmony.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord….Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her ” – Ephesians 5:22, 25.
Okay here we’re looking at channels of authority. Yes the Bible tells wives directly to submit to their husbands and it would seem that husbands get off the hook but there is a paradox at work. In order for a husband to love his wife and model Christ in giving “himself up for her,” he must practice submission also.
Honoring authority is a powerful principle in the Kingdom of God because if a wife practices submission and is in alignment with God, The Lord then fights for her and protects her interests. God goes as far as warning husbands that if they do not dwell with their wives with love and understanding, their prayers can be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). Submission, love, and understanding are Kingdom heart checks that ensure both husband and wife are submitted to God.
“And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” – Ephesians 5:21.
God is a God of order. He loves organization and method. Study Genesis to see how God meticulously created the Earth following a pattern. In this same way, God knows harmony and balance are maintained when power is orderly. Submission is a protection for balancing power and has nothing to do with our identity, self-concept, or self-worth.
It’s not about superiority vs. inferiority. We are the righteousness of God through Christ but God knows absolute power would ruin us that’s why it’s always buffered and distributed through different channels of authority. Jesus Himself submitted to the Roman authorities of His day, knowing ultimately God was the overarching authority governing the moment telling Pontius Pilate, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above."
Both wives and husbands are subject to one another: the wife submits as unto The Lord, and the husband is called to model Christ and give himself up for her. Neither of these are easy calls but both model submission ultimately to Almighty God.