I have been receiving some wonderful Bible studies via email from a friend of my daughter named Karen Zeitler. I shall pass this one along to you:
This word seems to be the theme for the week. Four days ago I was awakened at midnight to get up and pray. It was not a pleasant conversation with God as the main word I heard was submission and I got told everyone that I was not submitting to. It seems that I not only have a problem with submitting to God, but others that God has put in authority over me. I heard more at midnight that night than I might hear over weeks from God during my morning prayer time.
When I look up the word submission in the dictionary, I read: submitting or surrendering; obedience, resignation; to yield to the control or power of another. Even without looking the word up in the dictionary, I have a fairly good idea of what it means. I can assure you that I was not too happy with my message of submission. I have been tested in this area all week, including being woken up in the middle of the night to pray for four nights in a row. God*s guarantee of me getting up to pray is to make sure I cannot go back to sleep until I get up to pray. Because of that, I am tired and crabby. I am a little upset with God right now. When will the testing end?
In my Biblical research on submission, I came up with four areas of submission:
Submission of Wives to Husbands
Before men reading this get too excited, please read Ephesians 5: 22-33. In this passage, Paul spends twice as much time telling husbands to love their wives than he does telling wives to submit to their husbands. Paul tells husbands to love their wives in several ways: 1) His love should be sacrificial 2) His wife*s well being should be his priority 3) He should care for his wife as much as he cares for his own body. If husbands would do these things, than there would be no reason for a wife to not submit to her husband. In the real world, how many husbands truly submit to God in this manner? This is where the difficulty comes in. Husbands are not perfect. So often, men take this submission and give it a meaning of their own. To many, it means obedience to them whether they are right or wrong. God makes it clear that we are not to submit to human authority when that authority calls us to do something that is contrary to God*s Word. It must be remembered also, that husbands must also submit to God. They are accountable to a higher power. They cannot just throw around their authority for their own selfish reasons without being made accountable for it. When men use this authority that God has given them as a means to control someone else, that behavior will be held in accountability. That type of behavior stifles God*s plans and makes both a husband and wife ineffective for Christ.
Submission to Authorities/Leaders
Romans 12: 1-5 says: Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God*s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God*s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
God is telling us that we are not only to submit to leadership within the church, but to our civil leaders at a local, state, and national level. Submission is cooperating voluntarily with anyone out of love and respect for God primarily, and then secondly, out of love and respect for that person. What happens when we disagree with those in authority, especially civil leaders? Whether we agree or disagree with our leaders, we should always pray for them. God has the wisdom to deal with leaders in a way that only He can.
Submission to One Another
Ephesians 5: 21 tells us to do this. When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey the command to submit to others. That means we are to subordinate our rights to others or that we just give up our rights all together. This means putting others above ourselves. It means that our ideas and opinions are not as important as others. Even though we may not agree with what someone else says, rather than argue or try to prove our point, we give it up to God in prayer. It means doing more listening than talking.
Submission to God
James 4:7 says: Submit yourselves, then, to God. This is the most difficult of all and without this one, the others will never occur. We must submit to God first before we can really submit to anyone else. Let me be honest. Submitting to God is very difficult, but it is very necessary. We must submit to God and be obedient for His plan to unfold in our lives. While many of us want to leave a legacy behind on earth long after we are gone, we can only do so when we fully submit to God, listening and being obedient to what He is telling us. It is only through obedience and submission that God can do great things through us. However, if we do not submit and be obedient to God, we will never know what God will do through us and we will not see God*s power first hand. It means we must leave our will behind and solely focus on God*s will for our lives.
Bible Verse of the Day: Hebrews 12:9 -- Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!