“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
As we all know, the word “obey” can at times seem to be burdensome.
The fallen nature within us has a tendency to rebel and move in the opposite direction that God would have us go. But thanks to His Fatherly Love, He never leaves His Children without a faithful under-shepherd, who is quick to point us in the right direction, in spite of our inconsistent submission.
In the closing benediction to the Hebrew people, the writer insists on obedience to those whom God has placed over us. His intentions are positive, as always; that we learn some principles within our spiritual walk with Jesus. As we choose to yield to the obedience of the Holy Spirit, we will grow in the direction that God has willed for our lives. The end will be an abundant life in the Kingdom, filled with the joy and peace that the Holy Spirit will give.
These principles are essential to our learning in every area of our lives; within our homes, as well as in our churches.
The first principle is the Principle of Order. In the text verse, the writer states that we are to obey them who have the rule over us. This signifies that in God’s Kingdom, He has an order which He has established for the purpose of the spiritual maturity of the Children of God. This Kingdom Order can be likened unto the Biblical example of the home. In Ephesians 6:1, the Word of God reads:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
In this verse, as well as many other passages, we see that in the home, God has established an order. This order must be followed for the purpose of the testimony of God’s Design. When the order is perverted, or rebelled against, the consequences will be heartbreaking, and the results will be chaotic. We must remember that “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Secondly, we find in the text verse the Principle of Submission. The Greek word for “submit,” in this verse, is transliterated “hupeikō.” “Hupo” means “under”; while “eikō” expresses “to yield” – hence, to yield or submit (Vine’s). This principle can also be found in the order of the home, within the marriage relationship of a husband and wife. In Ephesians 5:22, the Word of God reads:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”
As the children are in submission to the parents, so must the wife be in submission unto her own husband in everything. This submission within the Biblical Pattern for the home will be a shining testimony of the Church. It will point our society in the direction God has intended, and will revive a hope that we see fading in our culture. As the families of our churches teach these principles within the homes; obedience and submission to church order will be more understandable, and through much prayer, will be restored.
Finally, we see the Principle of Humility being the evidence of submission to God’s order.
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
When we choose to yield our hearts in submission to God’s ordained order within our homes and churches, we can expect nothing but blessings. His Spirit will fill our hearts with joy and peace that only obedience can bring.
As we continually humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we are given a promise of exaltation in due time. When that time comes, our hearts will be molded into the servants God has called us to be. And we will then become the leaders of such principles, teaching God’s Kingdom Truths – Scripturally, experientially, and faithfully.