It’s a word we do not like to hear. We don’t even really like to say it. This word has been twisted and misconstrued, abused and misused, and in its place we’re left with a shell of truth, hollow and difficult to grasp.
We cringe when we hear a woman speak of submission. We’ve defined it as weakness, as being steamrolled, disregarded, unheard or less important. But what would it look like if we were to step back from what society has told us of submission, and we were to look at what God tells us of submission?
What is biblical submission?
Let’s start by coming to an understanding of what submission is not. Submission is not weakness. Submission is not allowing someone to control or rule over you. Those are not biblical examples of submission, and I am in no way condoning or promoting that kind of marriage.
When Paul urged the wives in Ephesus to submit to their husbands, he commanded that they do so as to the Lord. He then went on to make it clear to the men that they were to submit to Christ, so that they could be free to lead their families. What is so often overlooked when we quote this verse in Ephesians is the fact that the command for wives to submit to their husbands is one short verse.
The command that God gives to the men? It is 9 verses long.
As I pray over my future daughters in law, I pray they will have an understanding of what true, biblical submission looks like. I pray that they won’t be afraid of the word or the concept, but that they will be able to grasp the freedom that comes with letting their husbands do the leading.
As for my sons, I have several methods for teaching and training them to be strong leaders so that one day they will have the confidence to step into the role of authority in their homes:
- Each day, I do my very best to model submission to my children. I try hard to speak respectfully to their father, even when I disagree with him. I let them see their dad make decisions, and I ask for his input in front of them. I don’t always do this well, and I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is my daily goal to let them see their father lead.
- I point my children to their father. I point them to him for spiritual guidance, for instruction, and for encouragement. Naturally, I offer all of those things as well. My husband travels often, so I am home alone with my children more than he is. But when he is home, he is in charge. He answers the questions. He reads the scriptures. He does the disciplining, and he showers them with attention.
- As our first born gets older, we give him more opportunity to serve, both inside the home and outside. We are working to teach our boys that leadership is service, and with authority comes responsibility.
- I pray for them every day. I pray that they would know and believe that the calling God has given them as men is hard, but that God has equipped them with all they need to be able to one day love their wives as Christ loved the church.
Lord, give us the wisdom and grace to help point our boys to you so that they will grow into authentic, godly men who love their wives just as you love the church.
LOVE this explanation! When we do premarital counseling we always start with the “what it’s not.” It’s so hard (for me) to explain the idea that when you’re following a great, Jesus loving husband, you WANT to submit to them.
Thanks, Meg. It’s SO difficult to have a reasonable discussion when using this word, and I was truly nervous to even write about it, but you’re so right. Submission is NOT anything at all like what society has told us, and if we could get beyond the idea of submission being seen as weakness (and I don’t for a second let the Church off the hook for helping perpetuate that myth through the years), and truly see it as empowerment, I think we’d see a lot more freedom and strength in our roles as wives, and in the ways that our husbands lead!
Absolutely! When you know that your husband is looking out for the best interests of you and your children, it is quite easy to follow 🙂
OK…this was really excellent! Kinda hit me where i needed it. :)Thank you so much. well said! I”ll be sharing!
Thanks for reading and sharing! 🙂