What is submission, really? It’s something different than obedience. It’s more complex than just that. Sure, lack of resistance is involved in submission– that’s made extremely obvious in Scripture– but even the Old Testament Jews were called to obedience. Isn’t Christianity supposed to go beyond the Law?
A quick google search gives the definition of submission as:
1. The action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.
Acceptance– that’s the key word here. One can be obedient without accepting authority. Grudging obedience doesn’t cut it for what the Bible requests. We also must accept the authority placed over us.
As in so many other things, God is concerned here with our attitude. It’s rather easy for me to yield to authority so long as I don’t have to like it. The only reason I respect it is because of the consequences that it will inflict upon me if I refuse compliance. That was my attitude towards the mandatory chapel attendance rule yesterday. I weighed the cost of attending and the likely consequences of skipping, and it came out without question in favor of skipping.
Here’s where the sticking point came: that rule is there for a purpose. I might be one of the most intelligent people on God’s planet. I might have the wisdom of someone’s who’s lived 300 years. Even if I could recite the entire Bible to you word for word or do some other ridiculously inhuman stunt of so-called spirituality, it doesn’t matter. God knows better than I.
When I choose to do my own thing rather than submit willingly and cheerfully to those put in authority over me, I’m spitting in God’s face. I’m telling the unfathomable being who created everything I’ve ever seen or known, “My way is best.” I’m telling the one who calls eternity his home, “Hey, my finite mind that you created knows better.” Guess what. That’s stupid.
So in summary: God knows best, and he controls everything, so don’t be stupid–instead of simply obeying the authorities in your life, accept them. You can even be thankful for the part they play in God’s plan for you.