By Brooke Holt
“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. Bondservants, 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.” Colossians 3:18-25
If Jesus Christ is truly supreme over all things in heaven and earth, then his way must be the best. As the Creator of all things, sustainer of all things, and King above all kings, he is also infinite in wisdom, perfect in power, and sovereign over every aspect of life. Do you believe this to be true of the Lord? If so, are you willing to receive his divine instructions for life and believe those instructions to be the very best for you?
Let’s face it, most people do not believe God is sovereign, trustworthy, and true. Therefore, they certainly are not willing to align their lives to his will and ways. For those of us who believe these truths about the Lord, we are to live differently. Paul has been teaching us what that means throughout this letter. In the verses for today, Paul challenges his modern readers to consider a divine order to things.
Before you think Paul was just some patriarchal man who wanted to oppress women, you need to remember the practices of this ancient world. Jesus did more to elevate women than any teacher or person had ever done. It was unheard of that women would follow a public teacher, learn from him, and serve as his disciples. Yet, Jesus invited women to follow him, learn from him, and have a relationship with him. He showed these women love and respect. Despite much of the modern teaching, the apostle Paul also did much to elevate women. Yes, they were told to submit to their husbands but read on. Husbands were then called to love their wives. That meant treating their wives as Jesus would—to honor, care for, listen to, know, and truly love them.
Could you submit to someone like that? As Christians, that is what each of us is called to do—to submit our lives fully to Jesus. We can do that because we know he is for us, he loves us, and he has a good plan for our lives. It is much easier to submit to that kind of authority. It is still authority, but authority that leads with love. That love then trickles down from the marriage relationship to children to those who work in our homes.
Sadly, no one will lead or love perfectly, so Paul reminds the reader they are to always focus on the perfect leader and to show grace to the broken leaders. That does not mean being doormats and allowing abusive behavior. It means using godly discernment for difficult situations but also laying down our self-assertion and self-protection and entrusting ourselves first to the Lord and then to the Lord’s divine order: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Col. 3:23) The Lord sees all things and has a great reward for those who align their lives to his plan and order.
How do you view this divine order? More importantly, how do you view God’s authority in the world and in your life? Do you believe he is truly good and trustworthy? If so, how might he be calling you to submit to him and to his will today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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