The manner in which Christ was exalted and given all authority serves as our perfect example of submission. We will quote parts of Philippians 2:5-11, which tell what Christ did. Note that although He was equal with God, He did not consider that equality something to be held onto. Rather, He willingly submitted to a lower place, that is, taking on the form of a man, and not only that, but death of the worst sort and identification with the lowest of mankind. He went from the highest place to the lowest, to secure man's redemption. Because of this, God has highly exalted Him as Lord of all.
Our concepts in our minds are so often distorted, and they must be brought captive to Christ so we can begin to view things as God views them. The world despises the lowly servant, but God thinks otherwise. For Christ to submit to the lowly place did not change who He was. Do we think less of Jesus because He humbled Himself in this manner? On the contrary, we think more. When we consider the cross, our hearts respond in worship and adoration. Did God think less of Christ when He took the lowly place? "This is My beloved Son, hear Him" (Matthew 17:5). It did not make Him less in our eyes or God's. He submitted to the place that the Father chose for Him for a purpose. The Father lifted Him up and gave Him glory and honor. The beauty and wonder of it all leaves us bowed low in worship.
Paul says in verse 5, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." When we consider other areas of submission that touch our lives every day, we are to have the same spirit that Christ had. We cannot have the same spirit by just copying Jesus, however, but only by having the same Spirit dwell in us as dwelt in Him.
It is not normal for a person apart from Christ to be content in a place of submission. Some may seem to be able to submit more easily, due to their personality, but it will lack the true fragrance of Christ. It is not active submission, but passive indifference. Submission is active. Christ humbled Himself. It was a full act of His will to the very end. Submission that glorifies God is never forced; it is done willingly. Submission that is forced is not spiritual submission.
To know the same mind in us that was in Christ means that we need the same nature. That nature is the nature of God, and is imparted to us when we partake of His life. The life is God is a submissive life, all through. Christ was a full expression of God in human form, and He is seen as the meek and lowly servant. The life of God manifest in any other human being will exhibit the same form. Submission is not a thing we try to do, but a characteristic of the life that we receive from God. When we repent, partake of His life, and call Him Lord from a pure heart, we become submitted.
Now we have the responsibility to let that submission work out in every other relationship. The end result of responding in active submission is a character trait of humility. We want to look briefly at some of the specific relationships in which God has called us to walk, but in doing so, we must remember that no matter how many relationships we are involved in, each of us is one person and the foundation is submission to God. If we are submitted to God, we will find it easy to work out that submission in all other relationships.