Submission, Total and Complete



Submission; nothing seems to strike animosity or resistance in the hearts of women more than this one subject. Yet, if we read the New Testament even part way through, we’ll quickly see that submission is not just for women but for ALL believers. That’s why today we are going to do a complete study on submission according to the Bible. Hopefully when we are finished, this will not be such a painful or threatening subject for most people.

Submission to our Heavenly Father

The foundation for which total and complete submission lies is the understanding that God is in complete control because God is sovereign. “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17) Because God is Sovereign there is nothing that we receive in our lives that does not come from Him. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.” (John 3:27) If a believer understands that nothing can happen to them that has not been given to them from their loving Father, it will help them to face any and all obstacles with a renewed confidence that they are in the Lord’s hands. The steps of a man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand. (Psalm 37:23,24) Just knowing that your steps are ordered by God and that He will uphold you with His hand should be of great comfort.

Knowing that God is in complete control our lives is the reason we can obey the Apostle Paul’s exhortation for us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) When we can fully understand that it is God who is the one in control of what we are going through and that it is not just the devil coming against us, we will then be able to completely submit to God first and then to the situation at hand. Without this understanding of God being in complete control, you will be blaming the devil or other people for your problems and never be in complete and total submission to your Father who created you.

God is in control of everything!
Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10) Job did not sin by attributing God as the author of all the hardship and evil he went through. Yes, that evil may have come through the hand of the devil but Job understood it was God who was in charge and that “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (John 3:27). So as we begin understanding that God is the one responsible for both good and what WE perceive as bad in our lives… we have to ask ourselves, “Why would a loving Father want bad things to happen to His children?” The answer is because God loves us and we are His children. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:5,6)

With this understanding of God’s power is how we will look at our study on submission. We will look at it from eyes which see that everything we receive in life is coming from God, everything! We will look through eyes that understand that God is in the process of teaching us and training us up to walk in the steps of Jesus. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)

Submission to the Will of God in Suffering and Persecution

Jesus said it best. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) This is our Christian walk, that in the world you will have trials and you will have tribulation. Can you submit to this for your life? It is after all a promise throughout the Scriptures. Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). How many Christians really understand that in order to enter the kingdom of God, they will have to suffer and go through tribulation? Yet in the Scripture above, Jesus said, “In me you may have peace”. This is the only way we can endure the storms of life and have this peace that Jesus speaks about. Jesus has overcome the world and if He is in you there will be peace in your life, even in the midst of the storm. Being in Him means being in submission to God’s will and to Jesus (the Word). Only then will you have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Could it really be God’s will that we suffer? Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:19) We must learn to submit to God and see that the trials which come about in our lives are really tests in which God is in control of… it is His will to teach us to be more Christ-like. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing. (1 Peter 4:12,13) Are you seeing your fiery ordeal as a test for you to become more Christ-like? Rejoice and submit to God because we are promised that after we have suffered a little while we will be strengthened by the very hand in which that fiery ordeal came from. And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. (1 Peter 5:10) You will be strengthened after your suffering but only if you passed your test which you just went trough.

The problem most people have is that they seem to continually go through the same trials in life over and over and over. They continually go through the sufferings and the tribulations without submitting to the will of God and learning how they should act according the Bible. When trials come they know they should turn the other cheek, they know they should not be offended but they are. When others come against them they know they should just pray and bless those who curse them and despitefully use them but they do not. They do get offended, they hold bitterness, and rarely turn the other cheek. Because of this they are like the Israelite children who came out of Egypt and turned an 11 day journey to the Promised Land into a 40 YEAR excursion. Most did not submit to God and never made it to the Promised Land. Has this been your journey in life?

Submission to God’s Word

Each and every Christian, if they are truly a Christian by actions and not just in name only, will immediately enter into submission to the Lord when they give their life to Jesus. That is why Jesus expects us to obey Him and asks why people call Him their Lord (which means master) when they do not obey Him. “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) It is only the ones who do what Jesus says in His word who are in submission to God. The Greek word for submission is “hupotasso” (hoop-ot-as'-so) which means to obey, be under obedience (obedient), put under, be put in subjection to, submit self unto. Early in the Bible God speaks to one of the first prophets, Samuel, and declares, “To obey is better sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15:22)

So the very first action as a believer, male or female, is complete submission to a new Lord and a new Savior. Instead of serving ourselves and our selfish needs, we are now called to serve the Lord. We do this by submitting to the Word of God and whatever it says. We obey the Word (which is Jesus – see John 1:1) no matter where it leads us. By submitting to the Lord and obeying His Word, we will naturally start to die to our old selfish needs and will die as the Bible commands us to. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:25) Losing our life is not a one time thing but a continual process of dying daily to ourselves and living the life of Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, I die daily because he was in complete submission to Jesus daily! But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27) The Apostle Paul knew the importance of bringing his body into submission to the Word of God and we as believers must also be in complete submission to what we see in the Word of God. We must be in total and complete submission to Jesus Christ and His Word each and every day. Are you reading His word everyday so this can happen?

Jesus was in Complete Submission to His Father

Total submission to Jesus and His Word; is this too much for Jesus to ask of us? No, it really isn’t because Jesus was our perfect example. He was in complete submission to His Father in Heaven. "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me…” (John 5:30) Jesus did nothing on His own; He did not seek His own will; He sought only His Father’s will. Jesus was not concerned about Himself or His needs or His glory, Jesus came to do the will of the Father and glorify His name. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)

When seemingly bad things happened to Jesus, He did not resist, He did not blame man; He did not blame the devil. Jesus knew that nothing could happen to Him that was not His Father’s will. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19:10,11) Jesus was our perfect example of total submission to His Father and His Word. Are you willing to make Jesus your Lord and Master? If so, you will be submitting to and obeying the Word of God just as Jesus submitted to His Father’s Word. Just as Jesus suffered for righteousness and submitted to God you will have to suffer for righteousness according the will of God too. But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed… For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13,17)

Satan in Complete Submission to Jesus and the Church

When we first become a baptized “born again” believer, we enter into a new and spiritual realm. Believers are now seated with Christ in Heavenly places (see – Ephesians 2:6) and it is no longer us that live but Christ living in us! (see – Galatians 2:20) Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we now have the authority that Jesus has. He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body… (Ephesians 1:20-23) Did you know that Christ has put all things in subjection to Him and has turned around and given that authority to the church, meaning all believers? That means that Satan and his demons are in subjection to you and have to obey you! Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17) The demons are in complete submission because of the blood of Jesus. Every believer who knows his or her authority in Jesus has complete power over the enemy. (Mark 16:17) And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons… Because it is Christ who lives in you, the demons shudder in fright. (That is if you know and believe your authority in Christ the demons have to obey you.) If you don’t believe this, the devil will push you around, intimidate you and try to have you become fearful about everything in your life. That is why the Bible tells us to “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) A good analogy of our authority in Christ which we have over Satan would like a parent over their children. The parent has complete authority over their children but if that parent does not take that authority, the kids will walk all over them. The parents have the authority over their children but they gave it up and those spoiled children will wreak havoc within the house. That is how Satan operates in our lives; he will wreak havoc within our lives if we let him.

We as Christians have complete authority over the enemy, so why is it that most Christians give up their authority to the devil?
(Luke 10:18-20) And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Stop being afraid of what the devil tries to do in your life; he is in complete submission to the “Jesus in you.” Remember “there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” (I John 4:18) Jesus is our perfect love. The sooner you understand that the devil is subject to you, the sooner you will stop letting him push you around. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Submit to God, take back what you have given to the devil and make him submit to the Christ in you!

Have you ever considered that the difficult situation you are in right now is a situation that God has orchestrated in order to have you submit to His will and learn how to overcome the devil? Scripture says that the devil comes like a roaring lion to destroy those who let him.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith… (1 Peter 5:8,9) The devil will devour you if you let him so resist him by submitting to God and what His Word says. Believe it or not, God’s #1 purpose for the devil is to put our flesh to death so that we can become more and more like Christ. By submitting to God and His word and putting your flesh to death the devil will have no legal access to you and must leave you alone.

One of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs 16:7 and says, When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. God uses the devil to work in wicked man to come against us. When we have submitted to the Word of God and obeyed that Word, our ways will please God. When our ways please God, He will call off the devil and cause our enemies to be at peace with us. If our ways please the Lord the devil has no legal right to make war against us in that area of our life. Example: I used to have a problem with money and gambling. The root problem was greed. As I submitted to God and His word, pretty soon money became of little interest to me. When I put this part of my flesh to death, God caused my enemies to be at peace with me. Did God call off the devil in order to bring peace in that area of my life? Did those demons of greed still try to tempt me but since that area of my life was dead, those demons of greed had no effect? I do not know but whatever happened there was now peace in that area of my life. No more desire to gamble or to be wealthy, just contentment. Because of my submission to the Word of God in that area of my life, the devil had to submit to the Christ in me and leave me alone.

Can you see areas in your life where the devil has had to submit to the Christ in you? Where God worked in you and your ways pleased the Lord so that you are no longer in continual battle in a particular sin?
When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7)

Submission of Your Flesh to the Spirit

Probably the biggest part of our growth as a Christian is submitting our flesh to the Spirit of God. (Romans 8:7,8) Because the carnal mind is enmity (hatred) against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. If we are in the flesh with the way we think and the way we act, then we cannot please God. In fact our old carnal mind is hatred against God (see also James 4:4). That’s why it is so important to read the Word of God and renew our mind with the thinking of Christ. (Romans 12:2) Be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. We can only renew our mind to have the mind of Christ, if we submit to the Word of God. Remember the mind controls our body and the actions we take. That’s why the Apostle Paul said, “I discipline my body and keep it under control (submission), lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul’s submission of his body started with his thoughts.

The biggest challenge we have in submitting to the Spirit is the way we think. There is a constant war between our ears. A constant war of what our flesh “feels” is right and what the Spirit says is right according the Word. That’s why the Bible says that we should be
“casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). If we are continually casting down thoughts and imaginations that are contrary to the Bible, then we are submitting to the Spirit and the Word.

An example of submitting your flesh to the Spirit and bringing your thoughts into captivity would be you deciding NOT to get angry or take revenge even though in the flesh you may be justified. Bringing your thoughts into captivity in total submission to the Spirit of God would be you choosing not to be offended when someone offends you. Instead of you seeing the person doing the offending, you see the hand of God behind everything… But all things are of God (2 Cor 5:18). You know what the Bible says; you hear that still small voice of calm and forgiveness. You also hear your flesh which wants to give this person a piece of your mind. You choose to ignore your flesh and calmly submit to the Spirit and choose to love rather than to be angry. That is being in submission to the Spirit of God. You can see the hand of God teaching you through this trial instead of the devil just coming up against you. That is total and complete submission to God; you are putting to death your old fleshly nature and submitting to Christ. (Galatians 5:24) And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. This crucifixion of your flesh creates Christ in you. You are putting to death the old you so that the new you, which is “Christ in you” can grow.
(Colossians 3:9) Seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Total and complete submission is an everyday process for the true Christian. But if you’re a “Christian” who is submitting to your flesh, the Bible says you will die! For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13) If you are a son or daughter of God, Scripture confirms that you will be led by the Spirit of God which really means total and complete submission to God’s Spirit. Those who are not in submission to the Spirit are being led by the flesh, proving they are in submission to the devil, who is in control of the flesh. We have a choice: we can sow to the flesh or sow to the spirit. “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8)

Are you starting to see how a loving Father who is in complete control, is orchestrating events, trials and tribulations in your life in order that you overcome them? Even when man does evil things against you, God meant it for good in your life. But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good… (Genesis 50:20) No matter what the situation, God is in control and wants you to overcome by trusting in Him to save you. The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and on them he has set the world. (1 Samuel 2:6-8) Cannot the Lord who brings us down low in the first place, also be trusted to lift us back up? By us submitting to Him and His Spirit we will overcome any obstacle which comes our way. Just remember that is only the over-comers who will inherit the kingdom of God. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God… (Revelation 3:11,12) Jesus is coming quickly, is anybody taking your crown? If so repent and start submitting your flesh to the Spirit of God so that you may become an over-comer and sit with Jesus in the temple of God.

Submission of Believers to Other Believers

The Bible speaks at length about the submission of believers to other believers. It is the proving ground for us to practice being in submission to the Spirit. Being in submission to other believers is done by being like-minded in Christ, having the same love for one another, being of one accord and of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:2-4). What if all Christians practiced putting others first and esteeming others better than themselves? They would be in compete and total submission to the Word of God by submitting to one another. (Ephesians 5:21) Submitting to one another in the fear of God. We would not only submit to one another out of reverent fear of the Lord, but we would work hard to lift others up who are weak in the faith. (Romans 15:1) We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (2) Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (3) For Christ did not please himself... Once again, we see Christ as our example, not pleasing himself but building others up. We who are strong have an obligation to lift up those who are failing and are weak.

Let’s all strive to look at other believers and see what it means to
“bear with the failings of the weak and not please ourselves”. All believers do not grow into being “Christ like” at the same pace and that is why we need to bear with their failings until they come into the maturity of Christ. A new believer may say something that offends you or is very insensitive and we must continually turn the other cheek and pray for that person. Another believer may tend to be lazy and they want to be served more than to serve. Well even Jesus came not to be served but to serve (see Mark 10:45). Why not be like Jesus? More and more I am convinced that actions speak much louder than our words. If we all showed what Christ looked like by our actions every day, weaker and immature believers would follow our example and become mature believers in total submission to God.

(Luke 9:23) And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. If believers are truly following Jesus, they are denying themselves and are in submission to others and what their needs are; they are bearing the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Are we bearing these fruits of the spirit? If this fruit is blossoming in our lives we should look more and more like Christ.

Submission to Older Believers

Younger believers are commanded to submit themselves to their elders. Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility…(1 Peter 5:5) Elders along with all others should each be submissive to one another but the younger should especially be subject to their elders. This is our calling, total and complete submission to one another; everyone in humility and no one thinking themselves better than the other.

Submission to Those in the Ministry

Believers are called to submit to those who are teaching, preaching and laboring in the Lord because, “they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us” (1 Corinthians 16:15,16). Obeying and submitting to those who are working hard for you in the Lord should come natural for all believers. Remember them that had the rule over you, men that spake unto you the word of God; and considering the issue of their life, imitate their faith... Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls... (Hebrews 13:7,17) Although we are in complete and total submission to our religious leaders we must make sure that we don’t make them our “head”. Jesus Christ is head of the church and not man. He put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church. (Ephesians 1:22) Believers are to obey their church leaders as long as they’re preaching and teaching the Word of God as the Bible states. Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17) More honor is to be given to the elders or overseers of the Body of Christ. Yet, if their church leaders teach contrary from what Jesus teaches us in His Word, the believer must obey Christ; He is your head and not man. Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Ephesians 5:23) To sum it up, we as believers should obey and submit to our church leaders but we must not let them usurp the authority of Christ as our head. If you have godly leadership who is teaching and preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ, you’ll have good reason to submit to them completely.

Submission in the Work Place

Submission doesn’t stop with your spiritual leaders; our submission should go into the work place. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: (1 Peter 2:18-21) This shows us that even if we have a boss who is unfair or harsh with us, as believers we must still submit and have a good attitude towards our boss or employer. Scripture says it is good if we suffer because Jesus left us that example we should follow and our reward will be in heaven. Remember what we have been learning about God being the one in control of the situation we are in. God is testing you with that boss who may be unfair or harsh. Are you passing your test? Are seeing your test as a gift from God for you to overcome just like Jesus overcame?

(Titus 2:9) Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back. Whether we are a servant or an employee, according to the Word of God, we are to be obedient and not talk back. After all, would you talk back to God if He were your boss? Well He is and He is testing you through your worldly boss. If you cannot submit to your worldly boss, how can you submit to your Heavenly Boss?

We are supposed to work as if we are working for the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. (Colossians 3:23) You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ not just your employer. We must all ask ourselves if we are in submission to our employer as we are unto the Lord. There will be a reward one day if you pass your test. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings.” (Proverbs 22:29)

Submission to Governing Authorities

Next for the believer comes total and complete submission to the governing authorities. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1,2) Do you understand that all governmental authorities are appointed by God? No matter how corrupt our government and rulers are, believers are called to submit to them completely. Scripture says if we resist the rulers we resist God. I don’t think any believer wants to fight against God but that’s exactly what they are doing by resisting the government. Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:1,2) How many who call themselves Christians speak evil of our President and other leaders within government? Is this what we are supposed to do when it was God who put each of them in office for His purpose? The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men. (Daniel 4:17) We are often times very immature in our spiritual understanding of how God operates but Scripture confirms that those whom God raises up to be in office He also directs what they do in office. The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. (Proverbs 21:1) If we just submit to God we would submit to those whom God raises up to be our leaders. Can you see that fighting against them is just like fighting against God?

Christians are called to obey every ordinance and law that man makes. Paying taxes, state and Federal laws; whatever law that doesn’t go against God’s law we are commanded to obey. (1 Peter 2:13) Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, (14) or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. God sends wicked rulers to punish those doing evil and those who need judgment. If we are not in submission to God through our rulers you will be punished.

Just look at Jesus and His disciples, they were under an oppressive government, yet they submitted to the rulers and did not fight back. They even paid taxes to the wicked Roman government (see Matthew 22:17-21 & Romans 13:7). Some Christians may justify themselves not paying taxes to the Government’s support of abortion and many other things that we consider wicked. Yet Paul wrote,
“Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:5-7) We are not excused from being in submission to even a corrupt government.

The only exception of not obeying the rulers was when they gave the Apostles a command that broke God’s word, and here was their answer. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, "We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men”. (Act 5:27-29) Christ is our head and we will submit to Christ by submitting to the authorities unless it contradicts with God’s Word, then we must obey Him.

Submission for Single, Divorced and Widowed

Before we look at submission within the family structure, we will look at single believers and who the Bible commands them to be subject too. By single we will look at single never been married, divorced, and widowed women. First we’ll look single, never been married individuals. Obviously if you are single and under your parents roof, you are to submit to them as they are your head. Once you’re out from under your parent’s roof, you must still honor and obey them as the commandment says, but Christ is now your head and you must submit to Him. You are to obey the Lord and what His Word says in all things. As long as you are single and unmarried, Christ is your head.

For men, whether they are single, divorced or widowed, Jesus is their head and they are subject to Jesus in all things.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:3) Because Jesus is always the head for men, I’ll address women next as it is not as clear cut for single women as it is for men. We will cover women who are widowed and divorced. According to Scripture, a woman’s head or authority over her is her husband. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3) Everyone has someone who has authority over them and for women it is the man and she is only released from her husband by only two ways. First, a woman can be released by her husband’s death. For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. (Romans 7:2,3) The wife cannot just walk away and marry another; she is bound to the husband as long as he lives. When the husband dies she is released from her husband and is now a widow. Secondly, the other way a woman is released from the husband is by infidelity on his part. (Matthew 19:9) And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery." From what I understand in the Scriptures, not just men but both men and women are released from their spouses in cases of sexual immorality. If you are a woman divorced because of infidelity on the part of your husband, you are now released from him.

I believe that in God’s eyes, women who are widowed or divorced are the same. Divorcees and widows are freed from their earthly head (their husbands) and are now supposed to serve God. In fact, we see the Apostle Paul encouraging all unmarried to stay that way so they can submit to the Lord fully. But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife... The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) Unmarried individuals don’t realize the gift they possess with the freedom they have to fully serve the Lord without distractions. Paul even warns against the single women serving themselves and her pleasures instead of serving God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. (1Titus 5:5,6) Single women, I would encourage you to use your freedom wisely in complete submission to the Lord, for He is your Head. No man, no pastor, but Jesus Christ alone is your head; serve Him faithfully!


Our heavenly Father has set out in the Scriptures an order to family life. It starts with the children being in complete submission to the parents. That mother and father are who the Bible calls the children’s head, after the children comes the wife who is to be in complete submission to the Husband. Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife… (Ephesians 5:22) The head of the wife is the husband, not God and not Jesus but the husband; he is the head of the wife. After the wife comes the husband who is to be in complete submission to Christ. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:3) Jesus Christ is the head of the man, not his wife, not his pastor, Jesus Christ is his head and he must submit and obey Him only. Finally we have Jesus who is in complete submission to the Father, “the head of Christ is God”. Yes, God the Father is the head over Jesus Christ. Total and complete submission is required from Jesus down to the husband, then to the wife and finally to the children. No one gets by without submitting to somebody, we all have a head which we must obey. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

Submission of Children to Their Parents

Next we’ll look at the family and what total and complete submission means for each family member. Submission starts as a child, if you raise your children to be respectful and obedient, they will always be respectful and obedient. Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Children are called to be obedient to their parents no matter what. Even if the child thinks they are right and the parents wrong they must obey their parent; it is one of the Ten Commandments. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12) Children have no authority to question or disobey their parent’s will. That child’s mother and father love them and have their children’s best interests in mind. The children may not understand the reasons dad is telling them to do something but they should know their father loves them and has their best at heart. The child’s submission should be a mirror image of Jesus to His Father. Jesus did not question, complain or think that He knew better than His Father and neither should our children. (Colossians 3:20) Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

We see in Scripture that Jesus was subject to both His Father in heaven and also His earthly parents. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them... (Luke 2:48-51) Even though He was the Son of God, Jesus was obedient in all ways to His parents. The relationship your children have with their parents should mirror the relationship Jesus had with His Father. If children cannot be obedient and in submission to the parents, they can never obey God later in life.

Parents, there is a lesson for you too. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:20,21) Just as parents expect obedience from their children, God expects obedience from the parents in not provoking their children unnecessarily. God knows when you’re being unfair to your son or daughter and it is you that will have to answer before the Lord for your actions. A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight. (Proverbs 11:1) God expects us to be balanced in our parenting, just like He is with us.

Husbands Must Obey First!

Most believers do not have a problem understanding in the Word of God that children should be in submission to the parents and man in submission to Christ, but somehow in our modern way of thinking we have an issue when the Word says that the women are to be submissive to their husbands. Part of that is because men have demanded submission of their wives without being in submission to Christ first.
Let’s take a look at the Biblical view of what total and complete submission would look like within the family structure. It first starts with the husband; if he is in submission to the Lord, then he is not seeking his own needs but those of Jesus Christ. For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:21) When the husband is seeking the things of Christ, he will not “lord” over his wife demanding this or that. Christ is our example and just as Christ came to serve and not to be served, so should the husband. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girdedSo when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. (John 13:3-5,12-15) A man that has Christ as his head will be in complete submission to the Word of God and His Word has shown us the example we should follow. Husbands if you are not in total submission to Christ than your house is out of order and you should not expect your household to follow in submission when you cannot follow yourself.

Submission for the Wife

Wives, would a husband who puts the interests of Christ ahead of his own be hard to follow and submit too as the Bible commands? Wives, submit to your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24) This is not a suggestion for the wife but a command to be subject to her husband as unto the Lord and in everything! Remember wives that if Jesus really is your Lord and your Master, you will obey His word and submit to it, no matter how loud your flesh cries out against it. Just look at Jesus once again as our example. He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:35,36) His flesh was fighting against what He knew He was to suffer on the cross but Jesus submitted to His Father’s will instead of His will. Yes, the fleshly will of Jesus was to have the Father “take this cup away from Me.” But instead of fighting against His head/authority, Jesus was in total and complete submission to His Father, “nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Wives too, must follow the example of Jesus to do the will of their husbands and not their own.

Wives ask yourselves, “how would I act if I was married to Jesus?” Would you submit to Jesus in everything; would you submit to Jesus “as unto the Lord?” Of course, the wife would submit to Jesus in everything. That same Jesus who you say that you’d submit to, commands you: “Wives , be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives— when they see your respectful and pure conduct… For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good… (1 Peter 3:1,2,5,6). Women, you are Sarah’s spiritual children “if you do good” and obey the Word.

Your husband… he has to stand or fall on his own merits. If he is unfair with you or disobedient to the word of God, he will have to answer for it. You on the other hand have a responsibility to do what the Bible says no matter how disobedient your husband is. God is in charge and this is your test to see if you will submit not just to your husband but to God. You should know that God can change the heart of your husband at any given time. We see in Scripture that God hardens hearts towards His people… And the LORD made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes. He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants. (Psalm 105:24,25) And we see that God softens hearts towards His people… Now God made Daniel to find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs. (Daniel 1:9) Please begin to see what you are going through in your marriage as God testing you to see if you will be obedient to what He expects of you.

Christians will prove their love for God by obeying what is commanded in the Word and Jesus again was our example. But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father… (John 14:31) The Bible continually equates obedience to the Word of God with loving God Himself. Wives, if you do not obey God’s Word in submitting to your husband just because he is disobedient and does not deserve it, you are proving that you really do not love God and He will now hold you responsible for your disobedience. Those who love God will obey Him no matter how hard it may seem. Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. (John 14:23,24)

Women, I encourage you to do your part in obeying the Word and submitting to your husband even if they do not deserve it. This is your test in life to see if you will be obedient to the Lord in all things. But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled. (1 Peter 3:14) Ladies if you do not have that Godly husband, who treats you the way the Bible commands, pray for him and submit to him. Wives , be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives— when they see your respectful and pure conduct… (1 Peter 3:1,2) God can and will change your husband’s heart when you have passed your tests. Remember that “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7) What do you have to lose besides your flesh? By taking up your cross and submitting, you just may win your husband over while also being eternally rewarded for your obedience.
Yes, for all your suffering and all your obedience to the Word, even when life doesn’t seem fair, you will be richly blessed in the life to come! This was your cross to bear and you passed your test. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1Peter 2:19-21)

The Error of Husbands who are in Submission to the Wife

In today’s society it is very common for husbands to give up their headship of the family. Husbands either share it with the wife as a “co-equal” partner or the husband will completely give up their headship and are in outright submission to their wife. This is not only wrong but men are dishonoring their head who is Jesus Christ. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head… For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (1 Corinthians 11:4,7) Yes, man is the image and glory of God while the woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. (1 Corinthians 11:8,9) If we read this entire chapter we would see that the head covering or veil was a sign of submission and the covering while praying or prophesying was a sign to the angels that she was under the authority of her husband. If we as husbands cover our head (letting our wife rule either with us or over us) then the Bible says that we are dishonoring Jesus Christ. I believe when Paul says “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head” is not only speaking only of a physical head covering but also a spiritual covering of the wife who has taken authority over the man. It's a woman who rules the house while the husband passively sits back and lets it happen.

(1 Timothy 2:11-15) I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. Men I would encourage you to get into your Bible and understand your spiritual role in the family. By you allowing your wife to exercise authority over you, you are dishonoring Christ and you are enabling your wife to blaspheme the Word of God. Your role is not to be submissive to your wife; your role is to be that spiritual leader to your family. Your role is to be a man who your wife can respect, a wife you can love and honor as a weaker vessel. Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7).

If you remember the story of King Ahab in First Kings, you will remember what an abomination King Ahab was to God. He let his wife Jezebel rule over him and kill God’s prophets. Women who like to rule over men are said to have a “Jezebel spirit.” In King Ahab’s situation, it was Jezebel who was the spiritual leader (false Baal worship); it was her that took the leading role in their family and over God’s children. Jezebel used Ahab’s emotional weakness to endear herself to him, it was this woman that drove her husband to do what she wanted him to do, and she was “ruling the roost” in every aspect. Is that a picture of your marriage? I hope not!

God punished Adam because he listened and acted upon his wife’s temptation. (Genesis 3:17) Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life… Yes, Adam was punished because he did two things; he listened to his wife which in turn led to the eating of the forbidden fruit. “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree.” Cursed ground and hard work was Adam’s punishment while this was Eve’s. (Genesis 3:16) To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” From the mouth of God Almighty He said Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Husbands, are you giving up what God commanded of you? Satan wants nothing more than a passive husband whom he can control through a Jezebel wife. Satan knows that a husband who has given up his authority to the wife can never have authority over him!

Did you know that man and all the living creatures were created from the dust of the earth, with the exception of the woman?
“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air…(Genesis 2:19). The woman was the only creature not made from the dust because she was made from man. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:20-23) Husbands, your wife is your helper and was created in the image of man. Scripture says that Jesus was the exact image of the Father; man was made in His image while the woman was made in the image of the man. “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man.” (1Corinthians 11:7) Even before Eve was deceived in the garden the women was created to be the helper for the man and not the man for the woman. Husbands, I hope you are seeing the natural order that God has instituted. The world may say one thing as to how a marriage should be, but the Bible clearly teaches another. Husbands, did you know that women really do want a strong man to lead them? So I encourage you men, to step up and do as God created you to do and that is lead.

The prophet Isaiah prophesied of a time when women would rule over the men and this was not a good thing for God’s people.
As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths.” (Isaiah 3:12) Isaiah speaks of a curse one day when the women would rule over His people. Clearly we are living in this time today.

In church leadership, you cannot even consider leading God’s people unless you know how to rule your own household. Scripture says that church overseers must be
“one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:4,5). Husbands must be able to rule their own house before they take care of the church. If husbands are letting their children or wife rule the house, how can he oversee God’s people?

The Error of Wives who are Controlling Their Husbands

Women, just as God the Father is the head of Jesus Christ, man is the head of the wife. Jesus never once thought He could be the head over God, He knew the Father was His head. If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28) Neither did Jesus think He was equal to the Father who was His Head. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8) Ladies, having authority or being equal in authority to your husband is not your calling according to the Scriptures.

Just as Jesus never tried to take authority over His Father, neither should the wife usurp authority over her head which is the husband.
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:11-15) Adam was formed first, then Eve was formed from the man and then she was deceived when she ate of the forbidden fruit.

(Genesis 3:16) To the woman He said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." This is not “old fashioned” or outdated, this is the Word of God and is for all women up until this very day. God is true to His word and if women insist on ruling over their husbands they are in disobedience to His Word. Wives if you feel this is speaking to you then simply repent and obey what God commands of you and you will “be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”
What Total Submission Would Look Like in a Marriage

The Bible commands women to respect their husbands and the husbands to love their wives. As long as the wife is showing a true heart filled respect for her husband, obeying him and not arguing all the time, the fruit of that respect will produce love from the husband’s heart. The mere act of obedience on the wife’s part will be noticed by the husband and will cause a love to grow out of the husband’s heart that will truly be the love of Christ. You will see two hearts working for God as one. The wife may not always understand her husband’s commands but she would know that he has both God’s and her best interest at hand. Knowing this she would quickly fulfill what her husband asked of her. Not questioning, not reasoning with him but in obedience she would do as he asked. They would be working for the Lord as one! She would even find her husband seeking her wise council and consulting her in most decisions because of that oneness between them. Her respect would in turn breed a mutual respect within the husband for her.

Now because of this love which the wife has nurtured in her husband’s heart, you would find no self will and no selfish ambition in him. You would find a husband, who wants to serve and please first and foremost God, then love and care for his helpmate, then his children and finally his needs last. This husband would not feel that he is superior too, nor “lord” his power over the wife.
(Mark 9:35) And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Instead the husband would understand that he is to be that Christ-like servant. Both husband and wife would continually be putting the other’s needs before their own. It would be a life of give and take shared in one heart through Christ. Not a life of servitude as most women imagine but a life of mutual respect because you are both fully serving the Lord together.
Women it is up to You

Women, it all starts with you! The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1) If you are a wise woman you will build your house with a strong foundation in the Lord by submitting to your husband in all things. You will give him the love and respect he needs. You can never tear him down and must continually build him up. Remember it may take months, even years to build him back up from where you may have torn him down. He will remember the negative words you used to tear him down with and will not remember the positive, so please watch what you say.

Wives if you do these things and lay your foundation correctly, this will bring your husband alongside you to build your house together. All the things you are looking for in a husband, he will give you. Love: will come flowing freely out of his heart toward you; it is the fruit of what you put into him. You will feel that love and know that there is no one else he would rather be with than you. Understanding: Your husband will sympathize with you and want to know where you are coming from and how he can help. You are truly part of him and when you hurt he hurts. Listening and conversation: Because you both have the same interests in the Lord, your husband will actually listen and converse with you. Since you share the same heart and the same passion for the Lord, conversation will flow from him. You will connect on a spiritual level that could only be through the Spirit of God. Affection: will come so naturally because of the respect you have sowed into your husband; he will have no choice but to show you affection back. Hugs, kisses, cards and flowers will be a regular thing. He will want to spend time with you, that love must escape from him and he will find ways to show you that love and affection you desire. This is all the fruit of what a wise woman has sown into her husband: love, respect, honor and submission. This is the fruit she receives by building her house instead of tearing it down with her hands.
The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1) A foolish woman will pull down her house with her own hands by her not showing the husband honor and respect; neither will she submit to him. Instead of building him up she tears him down. She nags him, argues with him and tears him down with cutting comments and remarks. God’s Word is true, “for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Because of what she has sown into her husband she will now have to reap the husband she has created. She will crave the deeper things in a marriage that she is now missing; love, affection, understanding, conversation, listening among others. Because she is not getting these things in her marriage she pressures him even harder on why he cannot be more loving and caring and spend more time with her; never realizing that she is living with the husband she helped create; the husband she has pulled down with her own hands.

A wise woman understands a man is not complete by himself and that he needs a helpmeet to make him compete. This wise woman now takes her man with all his rough edges and smoothes them out by building him up. She helps him where he is weak and builds him through respect and submission into the man she desires. A foolish woman assumes the man she married is complete and if she does not like his weaknesses she tries to change him by controlling him and the situation only to make him worse. This foolish woman sees her husband’s rough edges and takes a hammer and chisel and starts tearing him down while she takes control of the situation. This is not submission and she will get out of her husband what she has put into him.

As we close this study on submission, I hope this has been a blessing to you and has helped you understand that submission is not such a scary or harsh word after all. For every believer the key is to be in total and complete submission to God. When this happens you will have complete peace that God is in control and nothing can happen to you that your loving Father is not in complete control of. “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6,7) When you understand God is in control, it will be much easier to submit to one another even in the most difficult of situations.

Submission is required for all who call themselves Christians, from children, to wives, to husbands and even to Christ Jesus Himself. If we cannot submit to each other, how can we ever submit to God? So be blessed everyone and remember in your journey of total submission to Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14,15).

God bless,

Mark, a servant of the Lord,
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