One of our historic problems is that our translation of hupetasso (submit) has huge negative connotations. We need to wrestle with this—for it is the necessary fruit of the Spirit filling both men and women. The Spirit of Christ is a submitting Spirit.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:1-11)
The submission that Paul talks about is a character trait of God Himself. This is what God does! God is a hupetasso-ing God. The Trinity is a mutually submissive fellowship of co-equals. No dishonoring, no lording-over. It is a celestial dance.
If you haven’t already done it, check out our online curriculum called “The Dance” (www.the-dance.org). It was created to remind Christians, both men and women, of the music that we all heard once.
When 4th century church leaders wanted to explain what the Trinity was all about, they landed upon the metaphor, perichoresis—or ‘dance around.’ They imagined the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit in an eternal ‘dance-around’. The dance is glorious, joyful, honoring, mutually submissive without any loss of worth or status.
At a certain point in time, the dance circle opened up, a hand reached down and drew you into the celestial dance-around. You heard that music once. You felt the rhythm of the dance once. But this world just sucks it out of us.
So we created the on-line journey, The Dance, to remind Christians of who they are. It only takes a couple of hours and has a slight fee. But so worth it. Check it out. It is a great image of what Divine submission looks and feels like—unlike the caricature of the world.
Ideally, each of us, men and woman alike, willingly submits. Empowered by the Spirit, we begin to freely and willingly submit more, laying aside our rights, glory and our control for the sake of a higher love.
Biblical submission is not done because one is of lesser substance, less power, or authority. Submission is not forced but willingly entered into. This is the fruit of the Spirit.
Doesn’t this ring true? Aren’t well over half of the issues related to men related to their indifference and relational cowardice? Aren’t well over half typical women issues related to a desire to determine their fate, maintain an illusion of security and order, to maintain control over disorder and all of life’s contingencies?
Don’t get me wrong. Women also struggle with indifference and relational neglect. Men certainly also struggle with wanting control. After 30 years of being a pastor, it seems that there is a pattern.
I will say more next time. Take heart child of God.