This is a post I wrote for Esther, check out more writing and articles here, and don’t forget to like the page.
I haven’t really got my head around thiswhole submission thing. What does it really mean? If we look at the example of Jesus & His disciples, Jesus submitted to the Father & His disciples to Him, but there was still a sense of equality. After all it’s the same Jesus that washed all their feet, He wasn’t forceful or demanding with His authority, in fact the disciples respected Him out of choice. I kind of feel that’s what submission is about, it’s not forced on a person, nobody has to do it, but it’s done out of love & respect for that person, right?
Let’s take another example, the prophetess Deborah. She held one of the highest spiritual & (at the time) social positions you could hold, she was God’s spokesperson. No doubt, for someone to be used in such a position they’d need to be able to submit to God, & the people would submit to them. Again, all of this was a choice, the people didn’t need to submit to Deborah, they could’ve done their own thing. But because of their respect for God (I’m assuming) & their respect for Deborah they believed her when she told them “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” (Judges 4:14)
In the context of marriage, the husband is supposed to submit to God & the wife to the husband, but does that mean follow blindly without question? In 1 Peter 3, wives are called to submit to their husbands even if they do not obey the word because the behaviour of the wives (i.e. the respect they have regardless) could change the behaviour of the husbands. First thing I want to note is that this is a message to wives, not girlfriends, not single women, so the idea isn’t to go for someone you can already see isn’t following God’s word & hope to change them. Now initially this was a bit tricky for me to understand because I was using obedience &submission interchangeably. So I was thinking that if he is doing wrong, or he is trying to make me do wrong, I’m just supposed to go along with it but that’s not what Peter is saying. He’s basically saying understand that your husband is the authority figure. This is what I’m really trying to get my head around, the husband being the authority & what that means. There are quite a few instances in the Bible where women have had positions of authority (Esther,Deborah, Huldah, Pricislla, etc.) so I know that’s not to say that women can’t hold positions of authority, and Peter is speaking to wives, but is there a man we always have to submit to?
I mean in Genesis, part of Eve’s “punishment”is that she will always want after her husband but that’s in a very specific context of husband & wife, that I don’t personally think can/should be appropriated to single people.
What I’m finding is that submission is done purely out of love and respect, the authority figure doesn’t need to demand it or enforce their authority (& they shouldn’t) because the submission will happen naturally.