Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:15-21
“Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
Paul is instructing us how to apply the gospel to the most basic relationships we have: husbands and wives (5:22-33, parents and children (6:1-4) and work relationships (6:5-9). He begins this section by laying out two fundamental commands: be filled with the Spirit (5:18) and be subject to one another (5:21). When we are filled with the Spirit, we will be able to “walk in love” (5:2) and thus be able to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
When we are filled with the Spirit, Christ’s love compels us to treat others the way Jesus treated others. We develop the mind of Christ and begin to turn from our selfish desires and actions. Jesus though He was a King chose to become a servant. Following His example, we humble ourselves and then we are able to “count others more significant than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
We must realize that submissiveness in an attitude of the heart. We must first submit to Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we do so, we see ourselves for who we are — unworthy sinners who desperately need a Savior. Then we can submit ourselves to others. We develop love and concern for others. W are able to be patient with them and to understand them. We develop compassion for people as we begin to see them through the eyes of Christ. We are able to be loving and forgiving. He are able to be sensitive to their needs and struggles.
As we are filled with the Spirit, we also develop self-control. We learn not to react, but rather to act with humility, gentleness and patience toward them. We don’t seek our own. but we look out for the interest of others (Philippians 2:4). We learn to yield our rights and to be sensitive to the needs of others.
Let me be very clear — we cannot do these things in our own strength. We must relay upon the indwelling Christ to enable us to be submissive to others — “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live the in the flesh I live by faith int he Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). We are able to submit as we yield to Christ and seek to submit to others out of our reverence for Him.
Lord Jesus, You have called me to a life of humility and submissiveness. I know that I cannot be submissive to others in my own strength; but by faith I pray that I will yield to Your presence in me. When I do so, I get Your mind and am able to humble myself, yield my rights, and be subject to others out of reverence for You.
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