submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(Ephesians 5:21 ESV)
Over the past few days we’ve learned that being filled with the Holy Spirit means we will praise God through song, we will give thanks to God in all situations, and, finally, we will submit to one another.
We live in a world where everyone demands their so-called rights. Feminists demand women’s rights. Homosexuals demand gay-rights. Some organizations, such as PETA, often demand animal rights. Whenever these rights are violated we run to an attorney in an effort to ensure we get them. None of this is biblical. God commands His children to behave in just the opposite manner.
God’s children should not promote self. We should serve one another. We can only do this when we empty ourselves of self and fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit, which is the context of this passage. When we are filled with self we will serve self. This is our human nature. But when we are filled with the Holy Spirit we will be like Jesus, who lived His life in submission to the Father’s will by serving mankind.
Jesus is the earthly name of the Son of God who existed in heaven before the world began. He left heaven to come to earth to be a living example to us. More importantly, He came to earth to pay the penalty of our sins so that we could be in heaven for eternity if we so choose.
Jesus could have, but did not, cling to or demand His rights [John 6:38; Philippians 2:5-8]. He could have stayed in heaven. But instead he obeyed His Father’s will and came to earth to serve [Matthew 20:28]. This is the example God wants us to follow.
Essentially, this means we are to live lives of humility, seeking not our own good but the good of those around us [Philippians 2:3-4]. This does not mean we are to not take care of ourselves. We have needs that must be met. But beyond that, our lives should be lived for others.
Once a person becomes a part of God’s eternal family by being “born-again” [John 1:12-13], their earthly life is of little importance. We should not be spending our time gathering wealth or power or fame as we will take none of those things into eternity. What is of importance is the salvation of others. From the moment we are saved until the day we die, our lives should be about promoting God’s kingdom so that others will want to join it too.
Notice that the motivation for mutual submission is not fear of man. We don’t serve others because they demand us to or force us to. This is important, especially in light of the upcoming verses. The reason we (God’s children) submit to each other is out of reverence for Christ.
We do it because Jesus did it and because He asks that we do it too. We do it because we want to.
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