This is not the frightening proposition some women make it out to be. As I said before, submission is not subjugation; and it is not destructive to your personhood. It is a summons to relate properly to the different kinds of authority in your life, from the civil government to church leadership to your spouse.
In the ancient world, the word "submission" was a military term that referred to the ordering of soldiers in rank--the strategic placement of soldiers not only for marching but for going into battle. The soldiers were positioned in such a way that they were able to protect one another so that the likelihood of success was increased. It wasn't an issue of titles, or who was more important, but an issue of meeting the objective--victory.
That's the way it is with the military today. Individuals are positioned, both in practice maneuvers and in a real war, to best serve the overall purpose of winning. Each one keeps his place because he understands the need for order and the mutual benefit of the soldiers' covering one another.
A Woman's Place So being in submission really means knowing and keeping one's place. But what is a woman's place?
It is not the rigid, chauvinistic, stay-in-the-background, keep-your-mouth-shut place sometimes offered her by the church. It is not the liberal, insist-on-your-own-rights place carved out by modern feminists. And it is not the rebellious, do-your-own-thing place defined by her flesh. It is the place of being obedient to the Word of God and allowing that Word to become incarnate in her by the work of the Holy Spirit so that Jesus happens in her.
How does a woman reach this place? Not by falling prey to the enticements of the culture around her. Not by seizing authority from her husband. And not by getting out of order. She attains it by relating rightly to all the authorities in her life, submitting in serenity and allowing the gifts of God to make room for her--knowing that as she obeys, God will cause the power of Jesus Christ to work in her situation so she can fulfill her destiny.
Jack Hayford is the founding pastor of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California.
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