I’m re-reading The Problem with the Problem with Women in Ministry Leadership. I’ve been particularly intrigued by the exploration of submission and husbands’/mens’ authority over wives/women (spoiler alert: the Bible doesn’t talk about women’s submission to men, but wives’ submission to husbands).
Here’s something that resonated with me: the biblical use and understanding of submission is best understood as “come under” or “fit in with.” We (men and women) experience the most blessing and trade natural authority for spiritual authority when we “come under” and “fit in with” a range of authorities in our life. It’s our submission to appropriate heads-of- (church, state, work, school, etc.) that releases us into the fullest measure of Kingdom authority for our ministry.
In its essence, submission literally means to place others above ourselves. But in order to do that, we have to place ourselves under them. It’s a posture of honor and respect, not subservience and passivity.
It seems that submission and humility are quite similar. And I intuitively recognize that the best, most effective leaders are humble…and therefore submitted…to the authorities over them. So it’s easy to understand why those with spiritual authority are humble and honor the authorities over them — spiritually, governmentally, maritally, etc. Because that’s how Jesus was.