The Spirit-filled person is characterized by love and justice and submission in their relationships. “Submit!” is the great mark of the Spirit-filled life. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (v.21).
The word submit comes from a military background – it is what is supposed to happen when the sergeant says, “fall-in;” everyone gets to their assigned place in formation. Back in Paul’s day, learning to march and fight in formation was vitally important – you came together as a cohesive group, you fought as one. If you were out of position, you and your squad mates were sunk.
So, there is a proper place and role in the various relationships we have, beginning with the Church.
So, there is a proper place and role in the various relationships we have, beginning with the Church. We are called on to submit to one another in the fear of Christ. Honouring the Lord Jesus, we take our assigned places and functions for His glory. To use the biblical analogy of the body, the big toe doesn’t say upon our waking that today it will take the place of our right ear, that it believes it can handle the role and function of the ear. No, there is the proper place and function. Nor would it do for the ear and toe to swap places.
We are called upon in other places in the Word to consider one another more important than ourselves. (see Philippians 2:3) To fill our places and roles that Christ has assigned for us with the gifts and graces He has given. Sadly, you don’t see a lot of that in churches. People must get their own way, and if they don’t, they quit. The Spirit-filled man is constantly willing to submit his own interests to those of others, if the Word of God isn’t violated. Paul is constantly calling us back to the Lord who was filled with the Spirit. Jesus didn’t look on the things of himself but the things of others. He made himself nothing, because he put others before himself.
What of you?