Friday, June 27, 2008

Submission in a new light. . . at least for me.

Elaine and I were doing a bible study together the other night, it was one of those "married people" bible studies. The topic that night was submission and what it means for a wife to submit to her husband. The specific passage of scripture was from Ephesians 5. It began in verse 21, which is the verse that tells us to submit to one another. Later, it talks about wife's submitting to your husbands as to Christ, and men loving their wives as Christ loves the church. Love your wife as your own body. Like Christ, the head, loves the church, the body.

So I'm thinking about this word, submit. What does it mean? There are two kinds of submit, one means to place yourself under as to an authority. I submit to the Senior Pastor. I submit to the police. The other means to give something for the approval and often integration. You submit an article to be published, or a paper or test to become part of your grade. Let's put those things together.

In the church, we submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. We submit to the head, which is Christ. In marriage, we submit to one another, but the wife submits to the husband, who is the head. The connection of both of these is we submit ourselves to be part of the hole, and then submit under than whole. The marriage unit is a whole, it's one part, one flesh, one family. My wife and I, we are Mr and Mrs Barnes, together. God has joined us, and we live and love and plan and serve in a united front. God calls me to lead, and she comes with me, she submits to the leading of her husband. The alternative is a fracture. If you head goes one way and your body goes another, both end up in the morgue. Division and separation of the head and body always, without exception ends in death. The mind is separated from the heart, and the two cannot function without the other.

In the church, we are a bigger unit that a marriage. Pastors, deacons, teachers, leaders, helpers, workers, members. Different body parts, but one body. We go with the body, my hand or foot or eye doesn't go off on it's own. If it does, that part dies and the body suffers. For the body to stay healthy, it must stay together. It must yield to each other and it must ultimately follow the head, who is Christ.

We submit ourselves to one another, and then we submit ourselves under one another, ultimately, we submit ourselves for one another. In the church, in a marriage, it's no longer about just you, but about the whole. It may be a case of the sum of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

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