by Tony Nester

Committed & Submitted
Tony Nester
Ephesians 5:21-33

When Bob Dole, one of the most powerful U. S. Senators we've ever had, was running for President an article about Bob and Elizabeth Dole appeared in a magazine. It included a picture of Bob and Elizabeth making the bed together. A male reader of the magazine wrote to Bob Dole and expressed his disappointment that Bob Dole would allow himself to be photographed in such a "compromising" position, making the bed with his wife. Senator Dole wrote back to the man, saying, "You don't know the half of it; the only reason Elizabeth was helping at all was because the photographer was in the room."

There are a lot of jokes about who holds the power in marriage. And a lot of smirks about Paul's teaching on submission in Ephesians 5. But today I'd like you to go beyond a reactionary and prejudiced view of submission, and hear what this scripture has to say about the mystery of marriage.

The context of Paul's words about submission is set by Ephesians 5:18. There Paul says, "Be filled with the Spirit." Paul then moves on to identify specific ways by which we allow the Spirit to express the fullness of the Spirit in our lives:
* Be filled with the Spirit -- as you sing psalms and hymns ........ (verse 19).
* Be filled with the Spirit -- by singing ... to the Lord in your hearts (verse 19).
* Be filled with the Spirit – as you give thanks to God the Father (verse 20).
* And then, be filled with the Spirit -- by submitting to one another (verse 21).

Note that in verse 21 submission is mutual and that it applies to all believers, both men and women. Note also from the context of verses 18 through 20 that submission is a Spirit-led experience. Submission has nothing to do with power plays, coercion, or subjugation. This is why Paul never tells husbands to "take control" and subjugate their wives.

It's also why when Paul talks to wives about submission he asks them to do so voluntarily. Just ...

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