It’s a dirty word but someone has to say it.  Let’s define it first.

7 dictionary results for: submit Unabridged (v 1.1) – Cite This Source – Share This
sub·mit /səbˈmɪt/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[suhb-mit] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -mit·ted, -mit·ting.
–verb (used with object)
1. to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).
2. to subject to some kind of treatment or influence.
3. to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others: to submit a plan; to submit an application.
4. to state or urge with deference; suggest or propose (usually fol. by a clause): I submit that full proof should be required.
–verb (used without object)
5. to yield oneself to the power or authority of another: to submit to a conqueror.
6. to allow oneself to be subjected to some kind of treatment: to submit to chemotherapy.
7. to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.: I submit to your superior judgment.
[Origin: 1325–75; ME submitten < L submittere to lower, reduce, yield, equiv. to sub- sub- + mittere to send]

Notice that it is a voluntary choice?  It’s a deferring?  Notice that it is done by one towards another?  Notice that it cannot be compelled or that would be cooersion?    Submission is often treated like a dirty word because it seems to imply a lording over by one to another.  It seems to indicate that one is beneath another in worth.  Implications, however, are not truth.

I’m sick of the lack of truth surrounding submission.  It isn’t demeaning or ugly.  If it is submission, it’s beautiful.  True submission is voluntary, respectful, and a gift.  It cannot be extorted or it’s coercion.  It cannot be threatened or it’s dominance.

However, most of us know that.  We’ve read it, studied it, and many of us embrace it as somethting the Lord has chosen for our good will and His glory.  This is a good thing!

What I keep seeing, however, is the constant use of it in situations that are not ‘submission’ oriented.

A wife serves her husband his favorite pie after dinner.  That’s not submission unless she didn’t want to do it, requested amnesty from evil pie baking, and her husband made it clear that while he understood her revulsion to pie baking, he’d really like that pie.  Notice husband isn’t demanding the pie, he’s asking her to die to self and bake him the stinkin’ pie.  He’d probably do it himself but his crust breaks teeth and he can’t afford a dental trip.  She thinks pies are bad for you and a waste of time, money, other resources- besides, the crust is hard to get how she likes it but if he really wants her to waste her time this way, she’ll do it.

At this point, it’s still not submission.  At this point, she has decided to either “obey” or acquiesce to his desires.  Until her heart decides to yield to his choice for the dessert of the night, it’s simply not submission.  Submission flows from the heart to the actions.  Obedience can be done with a heart that is cold and rebellious.  Submission can’t

What if she wants pie too?  What if he says, “Oh man, I’d love your blueberry pie!” and she thinks, “Well, I had other plans today, but that sounds good.”  That’s not submission.  Thats agreement.  She agrees that her pie is a great idea for dinner!  There’s no submission here.   She didn’t have to subject her will, willingly, to another. Hers was the same as  his.  There was no yielding!

What if she is sitting around and tired… not really wanting to do anything and remembers that he mentioned he missed her pies.  She doesn’t want to make a pie.  She’d rather read a book.  But, she wants to please her husband, show appreciation for all he does for her, so she bakes him the pie.  She dies to self, yields her will… sounds like submission right?  But she’s yielding her will to herself.  It’s still her idea.  He didn’t ask her to do something specific.  He didn’t indicate in any way that he EXPECTED a pie.  He just mentioned a preference and she decided to honor that preference in how she spent her time.

That’s called service.  It’s not submission.  It’s not submission until you have to choose to forgo your will in deference to the will of another.  It has to be a willing choice to do what you don’t want to do in favor of another.

I fear we’re complicating submission in our desire to be ‘holy as He is holy.’   I fear we’re redefining Biblical terms to fit our methods of applying them.  This is dangerous ground.  Let the principle stand on its own two feet.  Scripture doesn’t need our help to make us ‘more godly.’  Jesus finished that at Calvary.

8 thoughts on “Submission~

  1. Amen. Thanks for the dissection of a term thrown around so frequently in Christian circles that it has all but become meaningless… or fraught with misunderstanding.

  2. I see it as when even though she thinks it’s a bad idea and fruit salad would be better (the pie loads up the fruit with sugar don’tcha know), she decides to give up her will (fruit salad) for his (pie) even though she doesn’t want to or agree.

    If she agrees or chooses to do it to bless him, it’s either agreement or service.

  3. Thanks, C! And I’m guessing that if she seethes with unbridled hostility while making said pie instead of fruit salad, the submission factor goes out the window. :0

  4. I found your blog through Dell’s Taming the Chaos. Remember me from the WS? 🙂 I LOVE your boot camp for moms posts. I’m planning on printing those out and going back and catching up on your blog. Thanks so much!!

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