Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God– Ephesians 5:21
In the very same sentence in which Paul has just admonished us to be filled with the Spirit (v.18), he then gives the striking command to submit to each other in the fear of God.
The demand is remarkable because of the image it instantly brings to mind — a never-ending battle for the bottom rung. If one person submits him or herself to another in the body of Christ, but then that person is likewise seeking to serve the person who is submitting to them, there is an inevitable battle to be on the bottom.
The ideal circumstance in the church then, according to Paul, is a condition in which each member is seeking to out-serve the other. While one person submits his or her preferences to the will of other members in the body, another person is seeking to serve the very one who has just resolved to be the lowest in the kingdom.
It is a beautiful picture, is it not? As the Spirit fills each individual in the church, a reverent fear of God so overtakes them that they immediately begin to see themselves as the least worthy, least commendable, least important member of the body. As every member is mutually convicted of their own smallness, they seek to out-serve one another to the glory of the great God whom they mutually admire.
Are you so filled with the Spirit that you have been emptied of yourself? Are you seeking others who will submit to your whims, or are you seeking others to whom you may submit yourself in God-honoring service?