Everyday on TV we watch people demonstrating on the streets demanding their rights and wanting everybody, including the police officers to submit to their demands. Our children are growing up with a king and queen mentality. They want to be in control, and, unfortunately not only the parents but the whole society is feeding this attitude. They believe that they are entitled to have everything and that everyone should do what they want.
This should be enough to show us how foreign this commandment sounds to our generation: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21.” The word means just that: “Submit: To put in subjection, subject, subordinate; (pass.) to submit, be subject to.” It is the opposite of what we are learning and we are encouraged to do. But it is not just that. The reason for doing that sounds worse: “out of reverence for Christ.” This translation masks a deeper and more politically incorrect definition. The word reverence means: “(to be put in fear); alarm or fright: — be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.” The word in Greek is “fobos”, from which we get the word phobia.
The challenge for us is that if we want to live in community, as real Christians should, we must submit to one another. To do that we must first of all understand that we are not better than anybody else. This is what Paul wrote to the Romans: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16.” In the same letter Paul remind us that we are part of the body of Christ and we belong to each other. “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5.”
The other attitude that should be present in our lives is humility. This is what Paul wrote to the Philippians: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3.” Paul is saying to that church and to us that we should consider others better or superior to ourselves. We Christian should develop the attitude of lifting people upward and not pressing downward. To the Romans, Paul will write: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10.” The word above is the key in this text. Peter goes in the same direction when he writes this: “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5.” Humility will make us move to the end of the line and make us put our brothers and sisters ahead of us.
The biggest question is: How? How will we overcome our egos, put the brakes on our selfishness, and stop our thirst for power? The answer is in the sentence: “out of reverence for Christ.” When we look at Christ and realize who He really is, we will be able to submit not only to Him, but to our brothers and sisters. Jesus is not our buddy. He is not our waiter. He is not our heavenly butler. He is the LORD, the MASTER, and He is GOD, with all authority in heaven and earth. Every time the apostles saw Him, they bow down. Even after walking with Him for three and a half years. Even after Jesus called them His friends. When we see Jesus as He is, we will be able to see our brothers and sisters in a different way.
Have a blessed week,