July 08, 2017


Ephesians 5:21-30

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

—  Ephesians 5:21

“Why don’t you throw away those old pants?” my wife said. “They’re stained and frayed around the cuffs. They make you look sloppy.” I bristled at her suggestion. It pushed my “contrary button,” as we say in our family. I dug in my heels and got stubborn: “Yeah, but they’re my most comfortable pants. Who cares how they look?”

I’ve found that a lot of people have a “contrary button.” If we don’t like someone’s idea, even if their suggestion is reasonably, politely, and mildly expressed, rebelliousness stirs in our heart. Submission calls for humility, but we will often choose to be stubborn rather than submit. Psalm 32:9 counsels us, “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle.”

Why does Paul say, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”? Surely it is because Christ, though being fully God, “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7). He served his disciples by washing their feet (John 13). And he died the death of a criminal—for us.

If our Lord humbled himself and submitted to death on a cross, why do I feel I should be boss all the time, always in control and getting my way? Let’s learn submissiveness from him.

Lord Jesus, you are the head of the church. We know it cost you your life. Take from us any desire to lord it over anyone. Give us submissive hearts toward you and others. For your sake, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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