One of the movies I have enjoyed watching over the years is Kevin Costner in ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’! There are a few scenes in the movie where one of the characters has had to yield to another, normally after an energetic sword fight! There is humility and respect shown when this occurs. However, submitting to another is often exceedingly difficult, and to be truthful, against our human nature. So when I read Paul’s counsel in Ephesians 5: 21 my heart sinks! He teaches, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. This is a tough requirement and very difficult to live out.
One only has to look around the world today, as well as history, to see how the exploitation of others in the name of ‘submission’ has brought much tragedy, heartache and anguish to millions of people. Women, children and the working class have been at the forefront of exploitation for millennia and sadly this continues even in our present society and sometimes even within the church. Women sadly are oppressed and looked down upon in many cultures. They are considered the weaker sex and are often verbally, mentally and physically abused by what I believe are weak and abusive men. They are often directed to do menial work and are often expected to be virtual slaves of men to satisfy their every need. Then there are the children. Children have been suppressed and squashed and are required ‘to be seen and not heard’. Workers continue to be unjustly treated. They receive inadequate wages and working conditions and they find it increasingly tough to provide all that is needed for the family.
Is it any wonder that the concept of submission to authority is out of fashion today? It is at total variance with contemporary attitudes of permissiveness and freedom. Ours is an age of liberation and anything coming close to oppression is deeply resented and strongly resisted. Yet, if we love the Lord then submission must be evidenced in our lives! Today we continue on in Paul’s building a church that is radically different to everything we know. Paul targets marriage in his first practical application of the need for submission in the life of the follower of Jesus and the church!