“Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1
Let’s face it…we don’t always want to submit, do we? No matter how old you are there are moments that really try us; as Christians, as parents, as employees, to name a few, and the struggle with submitting is a real one. We especially see this struggle with our little (and older) ones. Submitting, or obeying, God (or mom and dad) with all our hearts can seem impossible!
What comes to mind when you think of a lack of submissiveness? Your toddler or teenager? Maybe someone who works for or under you? What about yourself? Any circumstances in which you personally have had trouble yielding or giving up resistance? To an employer? To God?
Here are some different relationships that we can all identify with that demonstrate these roles in which we are either 1) the one submitting or 2) the one in authority:
|· God / Us
· Husbands / Wives (as understood in Scripture)
· Employer / Employee
· Coach / Player
|· Church / Members
· Parents / Child
· Teacher / Student
· Government / Citizen
CALL TO ACTION
The wonderful news is that God equips us through His Word to tackle the hard things. Throughout Scripture God reveals to us how to approach the issue of submission (the yielding or surrendering to the authority of someone else). Also, parents, you are the first authority your children will ever know and learn to submit to! It is through these formative years that children learn to yield their wants to what their parents know is best for them.
If you are in a role of authority:
First of all, it’s important to remember that the Bible talks about the great responsibility that accompanies blessings of any sort “to whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48) and this certainly includes positions of authority. So what is required? Start with the Fruits of the Spirit – do you consistently seek to demonstrate these in your role of authority?
|· Love||· Joy||· Peace|
|· Forbearance||· Kindness||· Goodness|
|· Faithfulness||· Gentleness||· Self-Control|
Secondly, is there anything that you are currently doing that is hypocritical? One of the fastest ways to lose respect as a leader/authoritative figure is to “talk the talk” rather than “walk the walk”. This requires a great deal of humility!
Thirdly, if you have abused or manipulated someone who is under your authority, confess, right the wrong and repair the relationship! Roles of authority should actively seek to respect, honor, and protect all of those under their authority. If you aren’t doing that, you are not building up the trust that is needed to fully carry out your responsibilities!
If you are in a role that is under someone’s authority:
Respect the role! This doesn’t mean that you will always agree with every single decision or that you will always be treated the way you should be but taking the time to respect the role may enable you to yield when it isn’t easy. (And as a sidenote, respecting the role doesn’t mean putting up with abuse or manipulation – that is a line that shouldn’t be crossed and when it is, appropriate action should be taken.)
Stay humble! It takes a lot of humility to respectfully yield. Proverbs compares a contentious wife to a dripping faucet…and the dripping faucet is the better deal! Are you a contentious employee that is relentless when it comes to murmuring about decisions you disagree with? Or maybe you have been an offended church member when someone in authority tried to hold you accountable?
Check the heart! When you find yourself frustrated and unable to submit, revisit the Fruits of the Spirit. Is there one you are struggling with and why? What is standing in the way and preventing you from submitting? Do you have a grudge that needs to be confessed? If you have been offended, have you let the offender know? Do you willingly pray for those in authority over you?
There will never be a time in our lives in which we are not actively in one role or another. Whether we are submitting to an authority or in a position of authority, we have the opportunity to model for our children what Godly submissiveness looks like (in both roles). We can begin with our submission to God, our surrendering to the Him as our Ultimate Authority, and when we do that, we will be able to honor Him with hearts that are able to both lead and yield.