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October 20, 2019 | Doug Sauder
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“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” —Ephesians 5:21 (NLT)
If you have read any of my work in the past, you probably know by now that I’m a huge comic book fan. Among my favorite characters in the DC pantheon is the Green Lantern Corps. From Hal Jordan to John Stewart, the Green Lanterns are, in many ways, like the Jedi of the comic world—a galactic peace-keeping group imbued with great power in the form of a ring. While wearing this ring, a Green Lantern can basically do anything!
When it comes to today’s verse, and the full context of the passage, we see that a healthy, thriving marriage needs to follow the Green Lantern method. I’ll explain what that means later, but first let’s examine our verse. Here, Paul is instructing husbands and wives to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Usually, people only remember that Paul told wives to submit to their husbands, but, the submission must be mutual. Consider this: Wives are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord . . . just like Jesus submitted Himself unto the Lord. And husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the Church—whom He came to serve, wash their feet, love deeply, and die for (Ephesians 5:21-27).
So, what’s Paul telling us? The idea is that both husbands and wives are to live in a spirit of humbleness and care for one another—putting their spouse first. Now, for me, as a selfish, self-centered, ego-driven person, to put anyone above myself is not natural. It’s a constant, daily struggle—actually, for me it’s more accurately a minute-to-minute struggle. How can I accomplish this? How can I submit myself to my wife? Here’s where the Green Lantern method comes into play!
If you notice, Paul begins the verse with “And further . . .” That’s because he’s furthering his thought from the previous passage where he explains how to live by the power of the Spirit. You see, when we, like the Green Lantern and his ring, live tapped into the power of the Holy Spirit—connected to Christ, through whom all things are possible—then we can live a life that shines the light of Christ and displays the love of Christ in our marriages and beyond.
When we are connected to the Spirit, in both our highest moments as well as in our “darkest day, and blackest night,” we can submit to one another and walk in humility in our marriages by Christ’s light and the Holy Spirit’s might!
DIG: Read Ephesians 5:21–33.
DISCOVER: How are you submitting to your spouse? What are some ways you can live in humility toward your spouse? How are you putting their needs before your own?
DISPLAY: If you’re married, sit with your spouse and make a promise to one another to submit and serve one another, to put each other first. If you’re single, ask the Lord to work on your heart and daily give you the spirit of humility and selflessness.