Friday, April 20, 2007


We have already seen that the natural, fallen person is unable to submit to God. If he cannot submit to God then he will not be able to do what Paul is saying here. He will not be able to submit to others in the body of Christ. Just because we have become Christians does not mean that all of our old attitudes have fallen away. We find it is not easy to submit to others. We discover we still have a number of attitudes and behaviors that fight against submitting. It will help us if we can identify these things because then we can work at putting them away and make progress toward submitting to one another.

It is our natural instinct to think automatically of ourselves before we think of anybody else. Who else does a non-Christian have to look out for him? It’s perfectly natural to think about oneself. It’s a matter of survival. But the Christian has the body of Christ. He is part of something huge. He has a whole world of brothers and sisters who are supposed to be looking out for him. But our selfishness is something that keeps us from submitting. When we think it is all about us we have no reason to look out for anyone else.

One of the characteristics Americans have always admired is rugged individualism. We honor and respect the man who can take care of himself without depending on anyone else. I’m reminded of the Simon and Garfunkle song that has the lyrics, “I am a rock. I am an island. And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.” When we value individualism it is impossible for us to submit to other people. Of course Christians are still individuals. We don’t give up our individuality when we come to Christ. But we can no longer think of ourselves as individuals who never touch anyone else or who never allow other people to touch us!

Another thing that keeps us from submitting is our insistence on our rights. We have all known people who seem to be completely taken up with making sure they get their rights, with making sure they don’t get cheated out of anything. They are the people who are always saying things like, “I know my rights!” or “I’ve got rights you know!” Such people are completely taken up with themselves. They want to make sure they get everything they can get and everything they want. Such self-promotion prevents us from submitting to one another.

When a person is too sure of himself he finds it impossible to submit to others. This is a person who thinks he is always right. Why should he submit to other people when he is the one who is always right? But he can certainly understand that others should submit to him! This person tends to be very authoritarian. He has to be in control of every decision. He can’t accept any kind of criticism. If someone disagrees with him then that person is bad and divisive. Everyone should listen to him and do what they are told. This person really has problems when it comes to submitting.

These attitudes make it hard for us to submit. We have to deal with them. Gratefully we have the teaching of the Scriptures to help us deal with our wrong attitudes and develop attitudes that will help us submit.


At 7:41 AM, Blogger Doulos Christou said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Doulos Christou said...


You raise a very important question, and your suggestions are right on the mark. Your comment about our having "a whole world of brothers and sisters who are supposed to be looking out for [us]" is very helpful... and somewhat discouraging. Without shifting responsibility from us to "them," its easy to see how this tendency towards individualism and insistence on our rights goes unchecked in an environment where genuine, Biblical community is lacking.

Reminds me of Proverbs 12:15 "The way of of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice."

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Did the author of the deleted comment remove his own comment? I didn't do it! Now you've got me wondering...?

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Gojira said...


A grand series, brother.


Post a Comment

<< Home