Submission is a dirty word in most peoples’ vocabulary. It carries a very negative connotation. It has the stench of oppression attached to it. The quest of every man is independence. Submission harbors the antithesis of self-existence and self-sufficiency. The natural man is not keen to submit to anyone.
Adam and Eve were lured into the prospect of a life of independence from God. They succumbed to the lie of the serpent, who received them warmly into the kingdom he stole from them. Their unwillingness to submit to God brought them into submission to Satan.
Humanity resists submission to God-ordained authority. Ordered relationships are in disorder because of a failure to submit. Children are to submit to their parents. Wives are to submit to their husbands. Husbands are to submit to God.
Forced submission is abuse, slavery, and torturous when it operates outside of justice. The element that makes submission beautiful is love. Love invites submission.
People who submit to love have beautiful relationships. Love never fails. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love always has its object’s best interest in mind. Parents who love their children wish for and work for the best communication, experience, education, and opportunities. Love sacrifices to make a better life for its objects.
Submitting to tyranny and corruption is painful. The subject demanding submission is hated. Love does not Lord over those in submission to it. Love wants its objects to be free from slavery, abuse, and tyranny. Still, when one is set free by love, its natural response is not to abuse its lover; rather, the one set free immediately submits herself, to the very love that loosed her from bondage to her former slave master. When Christ sets His people free from being slaves to sin, they become slaves of Christ.
Love is patient to wait for submission, and it will be kind, regardless of how its objects initially respond to it. Love never boasts about who is in submission to it. Pride boasts, and there is no pride in love. In a sense, love sacrifices itself for the one who submits. Love must initiate the relationship. This is the posture of humility, which makes love all the more alluring. In other words, love’s interests are not self-serving. They are concerned for those who have entrusted, or submitted, themselves.
Christians are to submit to God, who is love. Christians are to submit themselves to one another in love, even speaking truth to one another in love. In this, they are submitting to the law of love, which is the law of Christ. The command is, “love one another, even as I have loved you.”
Christ demonstrated His love toward us, that while we were un-submissive sinners, He died for us. Thus, love did not require submission, in order to act in accordance with its own nature. We love because Christ first loved us, but even if we did not respond, correctly, His love would have the fragrance of life. Fortunately, love comes to us with irresistible grace, which means our submission to love is assured. Remember, love never fails.
Sadly, because the world does not know the love of God, it cannot know the beauty of submission, which is the rapturous response to perfect love. Christ, the bridegroom, woos His bride with such allure that she wants none but Him. Perfect love produces perfect submission, and perfect submission labors in love, for the one who loved him and gave Himself for him.
As Christ loves the church, as husbands love their wives and parents their children, even employers their employees, the irresistible response can only be…a beautiful submission.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 9, 2021