“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” – 1 Peter 2:13a KJV
When it comes to the order of the church, I often thought that obedience to authority and submission to authority is one and the same thing. I have come to realize that obedience and submission are actually two different things. Obedience implies that one simply goes along with direction or commands, whereas submission involves one’s attitude in obedience. The English dictionary explains obedience as an act of compliance to rules, whether one agrees with them or not while submission implies that one accepts and recognizes something to be correct. One can fully obey outwardly while seething with anger/resentment on the inside, and that’s not necessarily submission. Submission implies a sweet/willing spirit of cooperation that stems from one trusting the one they are subject to. You trust that the leaders have your best interest at heart, and so you go along with them. One can easily obey someone they don’t trust but submission really takes for you to trust the other party’s intentions for you. Obedience is out of duty while submission is out of character.
I think it’s important to note that obedience to authority is not enough and should be accompanied with submission. Now the issue of submission is very touchy to most Christians and this is because of their past experiences. Most people often narrate experiences where the leadership turned into dictatorship at some point in their lives and how that left them scarred. I, however do not believe that submission should be as difficult as we make it to be. Paul says imitate me as I imitate Christ (1Corinthians11:1) this means that submission to a leader should be the same as submission to GOD. There was nothing different that Paul was going to come up with on his leadership that was not already said or done by Christ Himself. When it comes to being led, I pray to always be a delight to lead because at the end of the day, my leader has to give account to GOD about me. I would really hate for my leader to always be complaining or crying to GOD because of me. GOD expects obedience and submission to authority from us and that is His order, so disobeying our leaders is disobeying the order of GOD. Disobeying the order of GOD is disobeying GOD Himself. Obedience and submission are not necessarily for the benefit of our leaders but are for us, to stay in the will of GOD. Always pray for an obedient and submissive heart.
Obedience is out of duty while submission is out of character.