Our two oldest boys like candy. They really love the suckers that they are given at the bank. In fact, when I went online to check my account, once the picture of our local bank came on the computer screen, our toddler pointed and said “sucker.” He has already connected the bank with candy and really likes going there.

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As I am writing, my wife was getting ready to go to the new yarn shop open house and was talking about the coffee and cookies. That same little guy piped up, “coffee and treats!” If we did not restrict his diet, he would eat treats all day long.

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We don’t let him eat as much candy as he wants to. We place limits on our children. We expect them to obey those limits.

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Of course they would love to have their candy limit lifted, but are learning that Mom and Dad have to be obeyed even if that is not what they want. It is a good lesson, because some day they will have to obey others besides us. Once they get a job, they will have to obey their boss. Once they make money from that job, they will have to obey the government and pay taxes. There are many other laws that they will have to obey as well.

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As independent Americans, it is easy to forget that the Bible teaches that we must submit to those who are in authority. I Peter 2:13-18 instructs believers about submitting to the rules of government and those we work for. Youth are to submit to their elders (I Peter 5:5), wives to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22), believers to church leaders (Hebrews 13:17), children to parents (Ephesians 6:1), and all to God (James 4:7).

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Our submission to God must be the ruling authority for all other submission. What if an employer asks his employee to embezzle? What if a parent asks a child to lie? What if a husbands tells his wife she is not allowed to pray? What if a government orders a citizen to kill the innocent? What if a church leader uses authority to take advantage of a child or orders his followers to commit suicide? In these things and others like them, we ought to answer like the apostles: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

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Submission should never become an excuse for sin, but the teaching of submission must not be ignored either. We must realize that without submission there would be chaos. Romans 13:3-4 shows how submission brings stability.

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Some have balked at the idea of submission because they figure they are just as important as the person they are told they should submit to. The issue of submission is not an issue of worth. I see great worth in my little boys even though I expect them to obey. As I consider worth, no man who ever walked this earth was worth as much as the Lord Jesus Christ, yet even He submitted to His earthly parents (Luke 2:51).

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Submission is not an issue of worth, but of humility. Christ set the example of humility when He being God came to earth as a man (Philippians 2:3-8). Will we be humble enough to submit to others so that we might obey God and live a life of stability or will we be too proud to obey?