19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:19–21, NKJV)
The apostle commands three actions of faith in our passage: 1) Singing, 2) Thanking, and 3) Submitting. The Lord arranged singing as a worshipful way to praise Him while also speaking to fellow worshipers (“teaching and admonishing one another,” Col. 3:16). Not only through song, but always and for all things, we give thanks to God the Father. Our full thanksgiving is due to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, by faith in whom we are sons of God (Gal. 3:26-29). Just as children should be thankful to their parents, even so we give thanks to our Father. While worldly wisdom seeks to dominate others, we submit to one another in holy reverence. Humble, submissive service, not high-handedness, defines our relationship to our brothers and sisters in Christ. So, let us sing rich praises to the Lord, with thankfulness for everything, yielding ourselves to one another as we walk in godly fear. These are among the marks of faith that define the children of God.
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:5–7, NKJV)
Humility shows itself through submission. It is the proud of heart who always knows better, does better and is better than everyone else (or at least, in his or her own eyes). We will not show proper humility toward others until we are first humble toward God. We must submit ourselves to His power, to His time and trust His constant care for us. It takes humble faith to trust the Lord’s way instead of our own. Submit your will to the Almighty and clothe yourself with humility. God will exalt the humble one, whose submissive life readily serves God and others.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22–24)
There is no greater expression of love than Christ’s love for His church. His sacrificial death on the cross is the model for how husbands must love their wives (Eph. 5:25). At the same time, the church’s loving devotion and submission to the Savior is the wife’s model for yielding to the leadership of her husband. The church’s role is not to lead Christ, but to follow His leadership. There must be a leader in a marriage, and God has given that role to the husband. Wives are to yield to the leadership of their husbands just like the church does to Christ. Marriage thrive when husbands are servant-leaders (like Christ). Marriages flourish when wives are devoted helpers who respect their husbands and yield to their leadership (Eph. 5:33). God’s plan for a successful marriage works!