Read: Ephesians 5:21–33

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

This may be one of the most disagreeable texts in the New Testament. In this passage, Paul encourages women to be subject to their husbands. In fact, Paul seems to indicate that the man is the head of the household just as Jesus Christ is the head of the church. However, as often happens when we are alarmed by a biblical passage, we miss out on the overarching message of a text.

Paul’s hope for families, and his hope for the church, was for people of faith to be subject to one another. Paul viewed service to others as a vital passageway toward peaceable and healthy relationships. Only when you treat others as if they were better than yourself can you truly value a person as Jesus values them. Service—or willing subjugation to others—fulfills all the relational dreams the Lord has for us. When you gladly serve others—whether a spouse, a child, a friend, a church member, or a stranger—you enter into relationships just as God intended. Respect, care, and support become the hallmarks of your interactions with those around you.

Can you subject yourself to others so that your relationships can be more careful and thoughtful?

Lord, I don’t like the idea of surrendering my authority to anyone for any reason. I prefer to engage in relationships in ways that allow me to press my rights. I want respect. I want people to treat me the way they would like to be treated. I believe I deserve to be well cared for. Those are my desires . . . and they are so often unfulfilled. Perhaps I spend more time thinking about what I want than I do about providing others what they may need. Can it be any surprise to me that so many of my relationships are not as well developed as they could be? Maybe if I was more focused on serving rather than being served, I would find the relational peace I truly desire. In Your name, I hope and pray. AMEN.