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Obedience and Submission (Hebrews 13:17)

Introductory Thoughts

The passage may appear to directly equate obedience and submission together, but each word conveys a separate and distinct concept. Although today's passage includes both obedience and submission, it is important to recognize that these two words involve separate acts. Earlier studies noted a twofold definition of obedience: first, having an attentive ear, followed by acting upon what has been said. Dividing submission into two parts helps to better understand it too (sub + mission). The prefix sub means under (thus a submarine travels under the water), and the root word mission means to be sent out. Obedience, therefore, emphasizes the act of hearing and doing, while submission emphasizes the act of placing oneself under the authority of another.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): While Jesus was living with Joseph and Mary, the Bible says that He "was subject unto them" (Luke 2:51). Jesus was God, yet He placed Himself under the authority of His earthly parents. He is a great example of how children ought to behave.
  • (For everyone):  Submission is an act of the heart, but it also directly affects our will. If this is true, what is the root problem when we fail to submit our will to another?
  • To whom does the Lord want you to submit? Why would He want you to submit to them? Does the Lord desire for you to submit to Him? If so, why do you think this is so very important to Him?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask the Lord to help you submit to His will for your life.
  • Ask God to give you a surrendered heart.


I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go