November 10 - Submission

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 10 - Submission - 1 Peter 2:13-17

Submission. That's a word that strikes fear and fury into many a strong-willed woman's heart. We know full well that the Bible speaks to this and we should learn to live under submission to our husbands ... on and on and on. For many of us - male or female, it's difficult to even consider being in submission to anyone, much less an unseen Lord.

My mother was a strong-willed wife, not unlike her daughters. However, as any good Christian woman might, she became concerned with the Bible's teaching on becoming a good wife. She began an experiment in our home. She would be completely submissive, in all areas, to my father. Now, poor Dad didn't know that this was going to happen. He came home for lunch and discovered a mouse where his wife had been. She acquiesced to his every desire and withdrew from the decision making in the household. She ensured that the home was neat and clean, meals were ready when he arrived, we three children were presented as perfectly as possible to him. He was getting what every man thinks he desires - free reign in his home.

She didn't just do this for a day, she ensured that this happened for over a week. I'm certain that Dad began to enjoy himself more than any man should, but by the time she was ready to leave her skin, he was actually going a bit stir crazy himself. There was no joy in this for either of them. It all came down to their interpretation of the word.

The letter of the law, rather than the spirit of it was translated into our homelife. While it seemed like a good idea on the outside, there was no possible way it was going to work. She tried to transform her basic personality and called that submission. She was miserable during that entire period and it began to affect their relationship. Both of them knew that it couldn't work.

Peter isn't talking about submission for the sake of submission either in these verses. If you read 1 Peter 2:15, you will find that he begins to explain the reason for this teaching. That we 'should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.'

He is also not speaking of unlawful or tyrannical authorities. In Acts 4:19, we find Peter speaking to the Sanhedrin and refusing to abide by their command to not speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Their reply was "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God."

No, Peter clearly states at the beginning of this passage that we are to obey authority for the Lord's sake. And by the time we get to 1 Peter 2:15, he is also clear that we are within God's will. If we suffer at the hand of an authority, it should be because we are a Christian, not because we have committed another offense.

Ignorant and foolish talk is more than likely a form of slander that was used to persecute these early Christians. Even today - our 'right' behavior will silence those who make fun of or slander us. Only when we allow ourselves to be drawn into the behaviors of the world and make our Christian lives hypocritical, can they gain a foothold against us.

1 Peter 2:17 offers up two pairs of commands. Show respect to everyone, love other Christians. Fear God, honor the King.

There is a distinct difference between how we are to treat people in the world and how we treat those in the fellowship of Christ. We show one group respect, but we are to sincerely love our Christian family.

While we may honor (again - show respect) the authorities, we are to give God reverence.

We are taking holiness out into the world.


nebelle said...

Had a pastor teach on this several times. Here is a summation of what BlueLetterBible has:

This word was a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden"