The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Submission
How God Works Through Others
The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
Submission is one of the more difficult lessons to learn, especially when we have more wisdom than the person to whom we must submit. It’s not that difficult to obey a person we admire greatly. Most of us will even obey people we don’t like if they seem to know what they are talking about. But what do you do when you don’t like the person, don’t respect him, and truly believe he doesn’t have a clue?
The temptation at that point is to become a “chattering fool.” We talk back, we argue incessantly, we filibuster, we stonewall, we make excuses for not obeying, we stage a work slowdown, we gossip, we complain-we do everything but accept the commands of those in authority over us.
“But a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Talking too much eventually gets us into trouble. We may end up losing our job or that promotion we coveted. It might mean that we irritate our superiors to the point that they take action against us.
Shouldn’t we speak out when we have valid concerns? Yes, of course. But there is a fundamental difference between expressing a concern and refusing to accept direction from others.
Behind the principle of submission stands the truth of God’s providence. If you believe that God works through the details of life, then you must also believe that He has placed you exactly where you are right now for a particular purpose. Consider Joseph. First he was Jacob’s favored son; then he found himself in a pit; then in Potiphar’s house; then in prison. Finally he became prime minister of Egypt and, as a result, was reunited with the brothers who sold him into slavery. In the end he could confidently proclaim, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20, NKJV).
When everything else is stripped away, we are to accept commands from others because we believe in God, not because we believe in the person giving commands. He (or she) may or may not be a worthy person. We may in fact be more qualified. But that has nothing to do with how we respond. If we believe that God is in charge of where we are right now, we can obey with joy (if not with happiness), because we know with certainly that by receiving commands from others, we are ultimately obeying God-who definitely has more wisdom than we do.
This has very practical ramifications for Christian wives who struggle with the issue of submission to their husbands. In the light of God’s providence, submission means believing that God is able to work through your husband to accomplish His will in your life, to protect your interests, and to meet your deepest needs. To state the matter this way does not answer every question, nor does it make submission easy, but at least it puts the matter in the proper context-not between a wife and her husband but ultimately between a woman and her God.
Submission to any human authority doesn’t come naturally to any of us. But if we believe in God and His involvement in our lives, we can find the strength to submit when we’re tempted to become chattering fools.
Lord, give me eyes to see Your invisible hand at work through those in authority over me. Amen.
At what points in your life are you most tempted to talk back instead of obey?
How do you personally define the difference between expressing valid concerns and refusing to accept direction from others?
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