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  • East Martin CRC


Ephesians 5:21-33

Verse 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

In our journey of looking closer at the family unit we have looked at mothers and fathers. Today we look at how they must be a team.

Submission is not a word that is widely liked. We see in our verse today that the people of the church were to submit to each other. The following verses point out how that works in marriage. Many people like to point out that Paul says that the wife is supposed to submit to the husband, but that isn’t all that Paul says. And he only says that wives should submit after the verse about saying everyone in the church should submit to each other.

So what should this wifely submission look like? Well, we can learn more about what it looks like by showing what it isn’t. To submit doesn’t mean to become a doormat or punching bag. If that were the case then Paul wouldn’t have instructed the husbands to love their wives. No, wifely submission is a deeper version of what the faith community submission is and that is to defer your desires to another’s desires. This is a fundamental principle in marriage as it is what aids the teamwork.

The husbands are instructed to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. This isn’t as easy as it may sound as it doesn’t mean loving in a way of ruling. How did Jesus love His bride, the Church? He gave Himself for Her. Just as Jesus gave up Himself for the Church, the husband gives of himself for his wife. It is a twist on the word submission. As where the wife gives her desires over to the desires of her husband, the husband gives of himself to the wife.

While the husband is the head of the relationship and the family, it is important to see that he isn’t ruling solely by himself. For the wife to give her desires over to her husband she needs to know what his desires are. Because if they are in agreement then there is no reason for her to give up her desire because his is the same. This shows that there must be communication between the marriage partners. When there isn’t agreement then the wife defers to the husband and the husband needs to seek God’s wisdom to see what would be best for his wife and family, not what he thinks is best for himself.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the way teamwork plays out in our marriages. When we are submitting to each other as we are commanded to in Scripture, there will be less dissension in our relationship. That will reflect in the lives of our children and in the life of the Church as a whole.

Making It Personal

How can submitting to God help you in the various relationships in your life? How does submission work in our relationships with others in the church family? In what way do you need to learn to submit?

Making It Personal Kids

If submitting to your parents means obeying them, how well do you do that? Why should you submit to your mom and dad? Should you submit to Jesus?

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for teaching us what it means to live as a family that pleases You. Help us learn to submit to each other as You desire us to. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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