Submission to Authority

Discipleship for Teachers

Text: Ephesians 5:21-6:9; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 2:13-24


  • Is submission an indication of weakness? Why or why not?
  • What is the opposite of submission? (resistance, pride, unyieldingness, defiance, rebellion)
  • Describe the benefits of having a submissive spirit.
  • How can we develop a submissive spirit?
  • Under what circumstances is submission easy? Under what circumstances is it difficult?
  • What is submission? How will it be observable in a person’s life?
  • Name some attitudes or character traits that are closely related to submission. (Meekness, humility, peacemaking)
  • Give examples of Bible characters who displayed a submissive spirit toward those in a position of authority over them
  • How do we see submissiveness exemplified in the earthly life of Christ?
  • What role might submission play in: a) building a marriage, b) promoting teamwork on a committee, and c) resolving conflict?
  • Are we truly submitted to God if we are not submitted to others? Explain your answer.
  • Give some examples of opportunities for submission that occur at home, on the job, and at church.

Possible Opener:

Use Scripture James 4:7. Bring a sponge, a paper towel and a dishcloth. These are all used to soak up water. When we sit in church, we can soak up the Word of God, but we must be squeezable like the sponge. When we are “squeezed” we are able to absorb more. If we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, God can use us.


Everyone, the first submission is to God (James 4:7)

Wives, submit to your husbands (Col. 3:18)

Husbands, love your wives and don’t be harsh with them (Col. 3:19)

Children, obey your parents (Col. 3:20)

Parents, don’t embitter your children so that they become discouraged (Col. 3:21)

Employees, work hard for and obey your employers (Col. 3:22)

Employers, be just and fair toward your employees (Col. 4:1)

Body of Christ/Christians, respect and follow your church leaders (Hebrews13:17)

Church leaders, lead in love, remembering you will give an account toGod (1 Peter 5:3)

The New Testament includes many instructions concerning relationships. Most people read these instructions for the other person and ignore the ones that apply to themselves. But you can’t control another person’s behavior, only your own. Start by following your own instructions and not insisting on the obedience of others first.

Submission is:

Functional--a distinguishing of our roles and the work we are called to do

Relational--a loving acknowledgment of another’s value as a person

Reciprocal -- a mutual, humble cooperation with one another

Universal--an acknowledgment by the church of the all-encompassing lordship of Jesus Christ

Submission is voluntarily cooperating with anyone out of love and respect for God first, and then secondly, out of love and respect for that person. Submitting to nonbelievers is difficult, but it is a vital part of leading them toJesus Christ. We are not called to submit to nonbelievers to the point that we compromise our relationship with God, but we must look for every opportunity to humbly serve in the power of God’s Spirit.


Lack of connection to God is not because we are frustrated or because of circumstances. Lack of connection to God because something is not submitted.

Frustration is because of the lack of connection (from the lack of submission).

When we are submitted completely, we can rest in knowing God allows all circumstances in our lives.