Out of reverence to Christ
March 2, 2022, 12:18 PM

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

The apostle Paul makes a rather bold statement in his letter to the church in Ephesus. He tells this body of believers to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. What an absurd command! Why would anyone want to do such a thing? 

We can rattle off a dozen reasons why this request doesn't make sense. And, after we catch our breath, we'll share story after story of people having their humility and thoughtfulness taken advantage of by others. Those people are suckers, and we will do everything in our power not to be one. As long as we focus on the people we are being asked to submit to, our obedience will never come. A change of perspective and focus is needed. We must set our eyes on the One who set us free.  

We forgive because He forgave us. We accept because He accepted us. We serve because He served us. And, we submit to one another because Jesus submitted Himself to the Father for our sake. In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul elaborates on this absurd command and takes it a step further. Not only are we to submit ourselves to others, but we are to think of others better than ourselves.

If everyone did this, the world would be a better place. But, as you well know, everybody doesn't. So, we resist going first. In our minds, if we go first, we will get run over, taken advantage of, and not get our fair share. We'll be forever holding the door for everyone who comes along and we’ll lose our spot in line.

We don't want to display these qualities, but we sure want everyone to treat us in this way. We demand our rights, our respect, and our rank. It's as if Paul knew that he would receive pushback for the words he wrote. This is why he gives the reason for our humility, which is the life of Christ. Our encounter with Christ should influence our relationships and our view of others. Christ set the example of how we should live.

He didn't pull rank. He laid aside His rights. And, He didn't demand the respect He rightfully deserved. Jesus took the principle of submission as far as humanly possible by offering His life for us. Christ's desire to enter into a relationship with us took precedence over His rights, rank, and respect. He chose the relationship option. We should be overwhelmed by His love and blown away by the sacrifice made on our behalf. 

If Christ thought the people around us were worth submitting Himself to, we should do the same. The way we treat an individual serves as a reflection of what we think about Christ. Because others are important to Him, they must be important to us. This kind of humility speaks volumes to the outside world about the loving God we serve. Where are you most vulnerable to justify putting your needs and desires above someone else? Why are you vulnerable in this area? How is demanding your rights damaging a current relationship?

Prayer: Father God, let Your love be the lens I use to view those around me. Since You find them valuable, so do I. Since you submitted to them, let this be my response. I've been loved much, so in return, I will love extravagantly. Today, may my actions and words be guided by humility. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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