READ: Ephesians 5:21–6:9
THINK: Submission isn’t easy. Most people like to feel in charge–especially of their own lives. But when the Bible says that we are to submit to one another, God isn’t giving anyone a license to control others. In every situation–whether you’re in charge or not–you never lose the power to choose how you’ll respond to God and to others. This is particularly true in regard to your attitudes. That’s one of the reasons submission is so important. It’s the opposite of selfishness, which is spiritually devastating. But submission is also God’s way of allowing you to help others in your life to fulfill their God-given roles of both leadership and service.
RESPOND: What does it mean to “submit to one another”? (See 5:21 note.) In what way does humble submission to others show reverence for Christ? What is the ultimate goal of mutual submission among Christians? (See 5:21 note.) What does it mean that wives are to submit to their husbands? (See 5:22 note.) In what way is the husband the head of the wife, and how is he to exercise his leadership? (See 5:23 note.) In what way are husbands to be servant-leaders? What are the implications of husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church? (See 5:25 note.) In what ways is the union between a husband and wife like the relationship of Christ with His church (cf. v. 32)? What is significant about God’s command for children to “honor your father and mother”? (See 6:1 note; cf. vv. 2-3.) What cautious instruction does God give to fathers in this passage (v. 4)? How should those who fill the role of a servant carry out their duties? What are they to keep in mind so as to serve with the best attitude? (See vv. 7-8.) (See Titus 2:9-10 note and Philemon 1:12-16 notes for comments related to slavery and the relationships involved.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you serve and submit to others in the appropriate ways that demonstrate Christlike character. Pray that you will fulfill your daily duties in all aspects of life as if you are doing things directly for Jesus.
ACT: Practice serving others in any way you can today. Pay particular attention to helping those in leadership or authority.