I was single the first time I read the mandate from Paul, ‘submit to your husbands’. I laughed then pouted. I was not sure I could do it. I had embraced the “independence” I thought I had established on my own. Looking back, I believe I was stuck somewhere between seriously following God as I ought and following God as long as it was comfortable for me.
I was spiritually arrogant, prideful and selfish, as a friend pointed out to me later in life (I love her for that). In my mind, if I ever did marry, my husband would agree with me on everything so I would never have to submit to him… (laugh if you must).
As I was falling in love with my dearest friend of many years, Spencer, I remember how excited I was to just spend time with him. The hours would fill up with conversation and we would lose track of time. My idea of submission began to change. I was eager to do whatever I could to please him. I can remember filling up his Nalgene with water a few times when I noticed it was empty. If someone had asked me about submission in those days, I would have had a strong Biblical and theoretical answer with no practical knowledge or experience. Although I was eager to BEGIN submitting, I didn’t really know how.
It has only been recently that have I made the connection between submission and serving. I heard a pastor say recently, “Serving is NOT thinking about someone before you think of yourself, it means not thinking of yourself at all!” When I heard this, a light went on in my mind. This is what Jesus did! He became a servant. Not a doormat for us to walk on, but he humbled Himself and served. He became obedient to HIS father even to the point of death.
This Christ lives in me! This Jesus, who walked the earth, healed the sick and saved me from sin, dwells in me! Paul says, ‘live lives worthy of the Gospel and stand firm in one spirit, with one mind standing side by side, striving together for the gospel’. This is the same mind I need to practice toward my husband, and others. Christ in me, and Christ in him, moving forward, as with linked arms, striving together for the gospel. Our aim in submission is that our lives would reflect Christ and that others may come to know him. Not so that we have a nice, easy life at home and get along, but so that others can see Christ in our lives and come to know him!
BEFORE I was married, I did not realize the importance of practicing Biblical submission. As a single girl, I did not even know what that would look like because I had never really submitted to Christ by serving the body. I confess that I did not serve as I ought. And, I did not practice counting others more significant than myself (Phil 2). I just figured that when I got married, the ‘submission’ thing would just work out.
As I am being sanctified, God is working it out in me. I do not have this submission thing all figured out. Sometimes I have it all inside out and upside down. However, the challenge remains constant. Believers should serve and submit to other believers as Christ did. As a follower of Christ, I must submit to my husband in the same way. Together we must strive forward together for the sake of the gospel!