Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Colossians 3:18).

Two weeks ago, my father-in-law died. My husband sat by his bed at the end.

He patiently measured the final breaths of a man who, for much of his life, had breathed out only cruelty and infidelity and heartache.

He kept watch alongside his stepmother — sitting alone with her in the dark after his dad lay silent — pouring grace on the one whom his father chose over him and his mother and his brother so many years ago.

Submission is painted in colors like these.

As followers of Christ, we are all called to it — this servant-life of our inside-out, upside-down faith — the arranging of our needs and desires and goals underneath those of another.

So the last will be first, and the first last (Matthew 20:16).

Count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two (Matthew 5:41).

Submission has become a dirty word for some. The heart pushes it aside on its quest for fairness — for equality — for a rightful place.

But there is no fairness at the cross, where the flawless Prince of Peace bled down over our endless, treacherous war against His righteousness. The scales have tipped, hard and undeservedly, in our favor.

There is no equity in grace.

Submission is how we model this startling and dazzling truth for others — in relationships, friendships, marriage. We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ’s unfathomable submission to us (Ephesians 5:21):

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8)

If we struggle with submission, we struggle against the very plan and Person who saved us. We have not yet identified with Christ. We have not yet comprehended His grace.

For submission is not a prescription, it’s a position. It’s not a script for our behavior but a state of our hearts.

And for us, wives, what greater honor and glory and beauty than to practice His grace in this way for the one we have promised to love and cherish the most?