Priscilla Shirer started somewhat of a firestorm in the African-American community when stating her position in a featured article for the New Your Times. In the article, Shirer (of whom I have a great deal of respect), briefly addresses the topic of submission and that struck a nervous chord with some women. The argument against her is that African-American women are strong, don’t need a man, and certainly don’t need to submit to anybody. Here in lies the mistaken beliefs concerning the concept of biblical submission. In one of the video clips discussing Shirer’s article, panelists could not even come to agreement concerning the definition of the word.
God requires that men and women “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21 NIV).” Christ is our best example of submission. He submitted to his heavenly father even unto the point of death so that God’s Will would be fulfilled.
How can we all submit to God like that if we do not understand what submission truly means? I’ve filtered that question through my mind on several occasions, never really coming up with an adequate response, and then Carolyn articulates a perfect definition. Submission is:
an act of strength, of sober responsibility, and of commitment to God. The voluntary taking up of a cross; the freedom to lay down your life. It is the pursuit of God’s glory and the good of another. It is becoming more like Jesus. Submission is the gospel—God’s kingdom come on earth (page 170).
From this beautifully cast vision, I see submission as a display of a surrendered human life under the power of the Holy Spirit motivated to pursue God’s ultimate good purposes for his earthly creation. Submission requires that we open our hands and hearts, to give ourselves away to be used by God. This is the gospel (review pages 163 and 166). This is how we are called to worship God with our entire lives.
What is your definition of submission? Do you find it difficult to submit? Why or why not?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
We will discuss again on the May 17—until then happy reading.
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