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Missy Martens
by Missy Martens
June 17, 2024

As I sit down to write this blog post, I have so many things bouncing around in my head about Pastor Mike’s Dirty Bible Words series. You see, the word I get to tackle is submit. Yikes. Talk about drawing the short straw. Such a very big concept. Such a loaded word for our times. With government corruption, church politics, domestic abuse, it’s no wonder the word submit is not only a verb we dare not utter but also an action that we utterly oppose. And I think we like to tell ourselves that we oppose the word and the action because of the abuses of those we are to submit to. But if we’re honest with ourselves, that’s a bit of a cop-out. Yes, there are abuses, but if we really look closely at our hearts, we don’t even want to submit to the ultimate authority—our perfect God—who doesn’t abuse his power and who only ever wants what is good for us. Our sinful nature is hostile even to our good and gracious Father.

Our God is far from a tyrant. To live under him in his kingdom is to live in safety and forgiveness and abundance. And God established a beautiful system of order for our good; in his Word, he speaks of submission to our bosses, to our government, of wives to husbands, of church members to their pastors and, ultimately, of all of us to God himself. This God-given arrangement can bless us in our country, our work, our marriages, and our churches. So why is submission such a dirty word? Why do we buck the very idea? I think this heavy word and this big concept can be boiled down to a few tiny words: I/Me/Mine.

Of all the pronouns that have been thrown around these days, I think these are at the root of all the problems. We could probably all tack “I/Me/Mine” onto the bottoms of our email signatures, and it would be extremely accurate. And very accepted. And probably praised. We live in such a “me” based society—we are told to take care of ourselves and fight for ourselves and live our truths. After all, we’ve worked hard, and we deserve it. We don’t need to submit to anyone.

From our very first words, declaring that toy to be “Mine!” we come out fighting the order God put into place for our good. It is easy to spot selfishness in a child, but aren’t we all still red-faced toddlers every time we complain about our bosses or demean our government or disrespect our spouses? And although it seems we do live in a very “me first” society, we know there is nothing new under the sun.

In the Garden of Eden, the serpent hissed to Eve, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). “Live your truth, Eve. You can do anything you want, Adam. You do you,” he said. I/Me/Mine.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus fell to his knees and prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). What a stark contrast. If Jesus had an email address, the signature at the bottom would be “You/Yours.”

In an ultimate act of submission, Jesus put himself under the will of his Father and ungrudgingly went to the cross to die for our sins.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1,2 GW).

He went to the cross, not just ungrudgingly but “for the joy”! Did you read that? Joy! Was that a typo? Nope. God doesn’t make mistakes. Think about that action (which seems like inaction but was anything but), and bask in that attitude of Jesus. Joy in submission. Joy in following a path laid out for him by his Father in heaven. Joy in putting others first because of what was to come. He wanted us in heaven with him so badly that he suffered and endured the cross to bring us there. And because of this, we too can find joy in submitting . . . to God and to all those he has placed in a position of authority in our lives. Because of what is before us. Because of what is to come.

Because of what Jesus did, we can boast in a different little pronoun: His.