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Submit to Who?

Last night I read Galatians 3:28 and was pleasantly surprised. I stopped and chuckled and was pulled into a memory. I remembered an old COGIC church sermon where the preacher commanded women to submit to men. I remembered a women pastor not being allowed to preach in her pulpit when the regional officer came to town, who of course was a man. It reminded me of an old and ongoing discussion that has taken place on panels, seminary roundtables, sofas, across dinner tables and everywhere in between. The conversation has spanned continents, time periods and languages. Is a woman equal to a man? Should a woman submit, in all things and at all times to her husband? What is a woman’s role in the church?

Isn’t submission always a hot topic in relationships, especially Christian relationships? Women you must submit to your man because he is your head. Women you are the weaker vessel so let him lead you. God chose the man not the woman so stay quiet. I remember hearing this growing up and believing that you had to follow your man wherever he went because he was the leader. Believing that women were just a little bit lower than men. How unfortunate and untrue were my beliefs. I understand now that the word submission in Ephesians 5:22 means adapt; it means surrender, it means prefer over yourself. It is an act of Christ character to allow ourselves to bend to serve, encourage and strengthen our husbands. The verse continues to exhort the man to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This, I believe is a tremendous responsibility for husbands. To give their lives as a perfect sacrifice for their wife. (I’m sure the sacrifice includes late night ice cream and pizza runs, diamonds and of course a slew of yes dears at the appropriate pauses) I’m so glad my husband does a wonderful job at this. I am daily amazed at the beauty and sincerity of my boo thang. He is considerably more amazing than I could have imagined. It is in the unexpected moments that I realize the depth of the warmth within his heart. How can I not bend to the ebbs and flows of his personality and how can he not love me with true sacrifice and undying devotion. I’ll take it!

Galatians 3:28 says “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal.” In the family of God we are all equal; we are all one in Christ Jesus. There is equality in Christ. The sacrifice of Christ eliminated any distinction among us. If Jews and Gentiles are equal why not man and woman?

But wait!

There are some things that we (men and women) are just different/better at. I learned this lesson serving in leadership with my husband. We both carry the same office but there are things that he is just better at. There are things that I come under his leadership and authority on. There are things that I submit to him on. Similarly there are things that I am better at and he comes lower and submits to me. It is in this understanding that my life has exponentially improved! It is understanding my place. My position, my role. It may not be static and the same for all situations but fluid and changing based on varying situations. I love knowing that my husband is my equal. I love knowing that I will follow him anywhere. I love knowing that he loves me.

While I’m waiting I’m learning how to better walk in step with my husband. How to link up with him despite my feelings. I’m learning how relationships work in real life. Taking the fake out of love and being truly, wholly, completely submitted and surrendered in love. Can I love someone above myself even when they are my equal? Can I love someone and submit even when I’m right. Can I love someone? Agape is my quest. Can it also be yours?

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