Col 3:18-4:1 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing 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. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
God has given us different roles that come with different responsibilities. Instead of chafing and complaining, we should fulfill our roles as wives, husbands, children, employees and employers responsibly.
Wives are called to "submit to your husbands" because it is "fitting in the Lord." Submission is not the same as subservience and we are called to submit to our bosses, our civil and church leaders. Submission opens the ways for those in authority to protect our interests and meet our needs. The opposite of submission is rebellion--and is at the heart of sin.
On the other hand, husbands are called to "love your wives" and not to be "harsh with them." So, as heads of the household, husbands have a responsibility to love our wives and treat them gently. Headship is not lordship -- headship or leadership is a role given to protect and nurture those who are under our care, not to use or abuse them, but to love them.
Similarly in the workplaces, we have employee-employer relationship of submission and headship. On the one hand, employees are called to obey their "earthly masters" (bosses) in everything, but not by way of "eye-service" or as "people-pleasers" but "with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord." And "masters" (bosses) as heads of the company are responsible to treat their employees fairly, and not take advantage of their vulnerable position.
When we do everything "as for the Lord and not for men... serving the Lord Christ" (v.23-24), our attitude towards submission to headship changes. Even Jesus Christ submits to the Father when he decided to come down and die for sins:
- Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
If Jesus has no problem with submission, why do some Christians have a problem?
Father, thank You that You have placed us various stations in life where we have to submit to some headship. Even Christ submits to the Father and became obedient to the Cross. May You grant us the same attitude of submission because You hate rebellion. Amen.