WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 15, 2022
TOPIC: SUBMIT TO ONE ANOTHER
BY T. O. BANSO
“Submit yourselves one to another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21 Montgomery’s New Testament).
Most times when Christians talk about submission, especially with regard to the teaching of the apostle Paul, the emphasis is on the submission of wives to their husbands. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24 New King James Version).
Paul also balanced the command to wives to submit with a command to husbands to love their wives. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones” (verses 25-30 New King James Version).
Just as Paul talked about the relationship between husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22-30), he later talked about the relationships between children and parents (Ephesians 6:1-4) and servants and masters (Ephesians 6:5-9).
But before talking about the obligation of wives to their husbands and vice versa, Paul had talked about being filled with the Spirit – the Holy Spirit – as against being drunk with wine. He stated what would happen when one is filled with the Spirit.
Paul said, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:18-21 New King James Version).
Instead of the dissipation or destruction of life associated with being drunk with wine, when believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, they will be speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their heart to the Lord. They will also submit to one another.
The submission of Christians – men and women, husbands and wives, children and adults – to one another is the focus of this devotional, not the submission of wives to their husbands. As seen in Ephesians 5:18-21, one of the things that will happen when believers are filled with the Spirit is that they will submit to one another.
Paul said, “Submit yourselves one to another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21 Montgomery’s New Testament). The New Living Translation says, “And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The Revised Standard Version puts it this way: “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
This verse is unambiguous. God wants His children to submit to one another, which is a manifestation of being filled with the Holy Spirit. The verse tells us that this submission is “out of reverence for Christ.” The New King James Version says, “in the fear of God.” Do you have reverence for Christ? If yes, submit to other believers.
What does it mean to submit to one another? The English word “submit” is hupotasso in Greek. It means (1) to arrange under, to subordinate (2) to subject, put in subjection (3) to subject one’s self, obey (4) to submit to one’s control (5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice (6) to obey, be subject (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
When Paul said believers should submit to one another, he wasn’t talking about someone being dominated or subjected. Rather he was talking about voluntary subordination of self because one is filled with the Spirit of God and has reverence for Christ. He is talking about mutual submission, not a situation where someone who is submitting feels inferior while the person being submitted to feels superior. No believer should abuse the submission of other believers or be domineering. Their submission is not because of him but because of Christ – out of reverence for Christ.
The submission Paul talked about is consistent with the teaching of Jesus on humility. A proud person cannot submit to others. Jesus warned that whoever exalted himself would be humbled, and whoever humbled himself would be exalted (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14b). Humility! He told His disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15 New King James Version). Humility!
Jesus taught His followers not to behave like the rulers of the Gentiles who lorded it over them and the great who exercised authority over them. He said whoever desired to become great among them must be their servant and whoever desired to be first among them must be their slave (Matthew 20:25-27). Humility!
Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (New King James Version).
Mutual submission by believers is a sign that we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is not talking about submission that leads to compromising the Word of God. It is talking about submission that will facilitate peaceful and harmonious relationships in the church and among believers. Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (New King James Version).
Where there is no submission in the church and among believers, there will be a lack of cooperation. There will be self-centredness, resistance, and disunity as everyone wants to have his way. There will be competition instead of complementing one another. Everybody will believe that his idea, suggestion, etc. is the best. Nobody will concede to the other. And where someone’s idea, suggestion, etc. is adopted, the rest could feel they’re losers and withdraw their support. They might not publicly oppose the decision taken but they may not work for its success just to prove they are right. This is the flesh at work, not the Holy Spirit. This should not be heard among believers.
We must not be like Ahithophel who went and hanged himself just because his counsel was rejected! (2 Samuel 17:23). That was a bad attitude although his counsel was right. Things must not be done in your own way every time. We are brothers and sisters; we have the same Father, God, whom we are serving. We should not look only for our individual interests but the interests of others. We should put others first. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (New King James Version).
If you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you will submit to other believers out of reverence for Christ. You will not insist you must lead every time but follow when others lead; you will obey them as long as it doesn’t lead to disobeying God. 1 Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble’” (New King James Version). If you want God to lift you, humble yourself (James 4:10). Before honour, comes humility (Proverbs 15:33b; 18:12b)
Subordinate yourself to other believers. Don’t be egocentric. Consider the admonition or advice of other believers, especially spiritually mature believers. Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Submit to the leadership of other believers. Don’t be rebellious. Obey them. If you don’t submit to the leadership of other believers, you’re not a good follower and you can’t be a good leader.
Don’t be like Diotrephes whose desire was always to have first place among the believers and refused to cooperate with the apostle John and his fellow-labourers and spoke evil of them. Hear what John said about him: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church” (3 John 1:9-10 New King James Version). Would you say this brother was filled with the Spirit?
Immediately after talking about Diotrephes, John said, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (verse 11 New King James Version). Diotrephes was and is not a good example to imitate. But apparently, in the same church, another believer was commended. “Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true” (verse 12 New King James Version)
Without submitting to one another, believers will give room to the devil. There will be evil and selfish ambition. And as James 3:16 says, where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I repent of pride and self-centredness which do not allow me to submit to other believers. I will yield myself to the control of the Holy Spirit and submit to other believers out of reverence for Christ. Father, let your children be delivered from envy and selfishness, which cause confusion and every evil thing. Let them not do anything out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, esteeming each other better. Henceforth, let each person look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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