“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
At the core of every breakdown of relationships and community is selfishness, pride, and ego. When individuals are more concerned about their personal rights than they are about personal responsibility to themselves and to others, relationships and community become impossible.
The verse of the day reminds us we are called to submit to one another.
Moderns don’t like that word. It goes against much of what our culture values.
It literally means to accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.
It means – I have rights and wants just like you. But for the sake of our relationship and, most importantly for the sake of Christ – I choose to yield.
It is only when we place our responsibility to one another and to Christ above our own rights that relationship and community become possible. When individuals insist on their personal rights above all others, relationship and community become impossible.
While the ordering of the words in our text has submitting to one another first, the reality is that submitting to one another is only possible when we submit to Christ first. It is because of our reverence and desire to honor Christ that we submit to healthy relationships and community.
It was God who created us to be relational creatures. It was God who declared, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God honoring relationships and communities trumps personal rights.
If we love Jesus, we love his children, we love his church, we love one another. Our commitment to one another trumps our commitment to personal rights.