“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us, and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
We must always remember that Jesus was only able to fulfill His ministry because of one thing – He surrendered. He was in constant and absolute submission to God – “…not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Submission may be a scary thing for some. Submission was an absolutely terrifying thought for me. What do you mean that I do not get to control every detail of that which I am involved in? What do you mean I do not get to lead in every aspect? What do you mean let go? Yup, I definitely struggled with submission. But the Lord has been faithful, and has been teaching me lessons I have needed to learn in this regard. This actually shaped one of the recent encounters I had and wrote about.
But what we often fail to realize is that, it takes just as much strength to lead as it takes to follow. Now, I am not talking about following aimlessly, or following blindly. Unfortunately, we often try to do that. But instead, I am talking about following with purpose, with a goal to attain. Not every leader leads from the front. So what does this have to do with Ephesians 5?
In partnerships, friendships, work relationships, and marriages (just to name a few of the relationships we encounter daily), we are to be imitators of Christ in all we do. No, I am not talking about living with an holier-than-thou attitude, but living as Christ did – with a servant heart. Ready to work with, help, teach, share Himself with all those who were around Him. Open and welcoming. Knowing when to take a stand, and knowing when to just sit and listen – doing it all with a heart of compassion and unconditional love.
In all that we do, we are meant to be imitators of Christ
Especially in the area of relationship. Now personally, this is an area I am very nervous to talk about as I have never been great at relationships. Scroll up to my initial thought about submission, and I think you will somewhat understand my attitude towards all things relational. However, I needed to learn what relationship is all about.
Not to scare anyone, or turn anyone away, but when I talk about submission, it comes from both sides of the relationship aisle. Now in case we may not remember, Christ gave up His life for the church even before the church chose to be with Christ. Added to that, Christ is at the right side of the Father pleading (interceding) for the church – His bride. Christ loved/loves the church selflessly & unconditionally. This is what relationship is meant to be. Selfless, unconditional, intentional.
When looking at a marriage relationship, submission does not mean doing everything my husband says just because he says so, and loving does not mean my husband will do everything I want just because I asked for it. Instead, it means that we both have the BEST INTEREST of each other at heart, and we submit to Christ, look to Christ, allow Christ to lead our interactions, our decisions, our desires in the way to go & grow. I am to trust my husband enough to submit to him, knowing that Christ is using him to shower more of His love on me, and as I do so, I uplift, encourage, and support my husband. My husband is to seek to love me so much that he unquestionably reflects his love of Christ in all that he does towards me. That unconditional, has no limits, selfless love.
The Ephesian 5 man is focused on Christ, steadily walking with Him even if unsure of where the road may lead. The Ephesians 5 woman is focused on Christ, steadily learning the strength there is in surrender. The Ephesians 5 guide enables us all to walk in love, imitating Christ, and in turn fulfilling our purpose in the relationships we have been or will be placed in.
There is just as much power in submitting - if not more- as there is in leading
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, 2001.