In religious contexts, submission is often taught as if it had intrinsic value — as if humility and abasement were goals unto themselves.
However, submission, like many other generic actions, has no intrinsic value — its entire value being derived from what is submitted to.
Submission to abuse is negative and evil. Submission to a brilliant team strategy is positive and good.
Collaboration and cooperation are both forms of submission that can yield positive results. And yet, it depends on what the subject of the collaboration or cooperation is, in order to determine the ultimate value of the behavior.
Cooperation is a vital skill set for success that every believer should foster and develop. And yet, if you are cooperating with the enemy or collaborating with destructive leadership, these supposedly positive behaviors yield negative results and lead to evil outcomes.
It’s the same with any form of submission. As a follower, your quality and your value are derived by what you choose to follow. And so, if you are going to use submission to achieve positive results, the entire determination of success is choosing well what you submit to.
If you submit to negative influences, dysfunctional behaviors, or fruitless strategies, the supposedly positive characteristic of humility actually becomes a weapon formed against you. On the other hand, if you submit to wise counsel, healthy behaviors, and successful strategies, then humility can be the foundation for increasing and amplifying blessings.
Knowing the difference between objectively good outcomes and objectively bad outcomes and developing the insight to discern between healthy and dysfunctional behaviors in yourself and others are at the very heart of learning to leverage submission as one of the greatest tools for success.
Knowing who and what to collaborate with, and who and what to oppose. Understanding when and how to cooperate, and when and how to resist. Standing strong and humble in the presence of goodness, and firm and resolute in the presence of evil. Rejoicing in the experience of wise submission to greatness, but avoiding the trap of enabling submission to mediocrity and defeat. Grasping the opportunity to receive God’s blessings is entirely wrapped up in the choice of who and what you will follow, and whether or not you will submit to God’s purposes, God’s promises, and God’s will — whether or not you can recognize greatness when you see it, and so submit and be elevated by the greatness available to you.
There is a principle in economics that supply and demand are intrinsically linked. No matter what your ideology or opinion, no matter your belief system or theology, no matter what you think of it, ultimately the objective interconnectedness of supply and demand are what drive markets to behave the way they do. It doesn’t matter if you are in a centrally controlled economy with price controls and government mandates, or in a free market libertarian utopia, the fact of supply and demand are incontrovertibly bound together in driving the outcomes for everyone involved in a given exchange. Every behavior that market participants engage in, even those designed to alter the supply side or the demand side of the interaction, are subject to the universal reality that supply and demand are intrinsically linked.
So, whether you use the force of government to stimulate production of goods or services that are not actually in demand by the market, or you artificially constrain access to a product to command better pricing by decreasing supply while working to increase demand, or you evangelize a new product or rebrand an older product to stimulate demand for a product you wish to supply, whatever influence you believe you can have that brings benefit or a specific outcome in the market — always underlying the transaction with the market is the fundamental reality of the integration of supply and demand. It doesn’t matter if you are in a free market or an oppressive regime, the objective truth of supply and demand still drive the market as an exchange of goods and services.
It is the same with submission, humility, cooperation, and collaboration. There is an economy of influence, very similar to the market economy of affluence, except for instead of money, the currency of influence is submission, humility, cooperation, and collaboration in response to leadership.
Similar to money in the economy of affluence, in and of themselves submission, humility, cooperation, and collaboration have no intrinsic moral or spiritual value — their entire value being in their role as a means for exchange and the facilitation of a transaction in pursuit of an outcome — the value and quality of the transaction or exchange being what conveys quality and value to these behaviors, just as the goods or services rendered characterize the money spent to acquire them in the market economy.
Just as money is considered dirty if used to defraud, deceive, or otherwise injure the party to a transaction, so submission, humility, cooperation, and collaboration are negative behaviors if the party engaging in them is being drawn into objectively negative contexts and outcomes as a result of exercising these potentially positive behaviors.
On the other hand, if wisdom, faith, vision, love, insight, and strength are at the heart of an interaction, and the purpose, pursuit, and activity are objectively positive, successful, good, and effective, then submission, humility, cooperation, and collaboration become the means to achieving and receiving goodness, greatness, abundance, peace, fulfillment, and prosperity.
Just as money is neither intrinsically good or intrinsically evil, but serves as a means to accomplish the purpose to which it is dedicated, whether good or evil — so submission, in all of its various forms, is neither intrinsically good or intrinsically evil, but serves as a means to accomplish the purpose to which it is dedicated.
Great leaders share one thing in common — they have learned what influences to submit to, and what influences to resist and oppose.
The Bible tells the story of a Roman officer, a leader of men, who came to Jesus and asked him to heal his servant,
Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! …. Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.” – Matthew 8
This is one of only two examples in the Gospel records of Jesus healing at a distance (the other being a royal official’s son in the book of John), and Jesus explains that it was possible because the Roman officer chose to fully submit to Him, understanding authority, and recognizing greatness and so opening himself up for this extraordinary blessing.
Whether you are playing team sports, working a job, building a business, developing a relationship, or any other circumstance in which you are interacting with others, you have choices to make about when to submit, when to cooperate, when to collaborate, and when not to. Understanding that being a leader and being a follower, having influence and choosing submission, providing guidance and collaborating, giving direction and cooperating, and empowering others and choosing humility all are intrinsically linked in an economy of influence, is the foundation for choosing wisely and well how to participate in the supply and demand exchange of ideas, strategies, and purposes so that by your choices you bring intrinsic value through your use of submission, humility, cooperation, and collaboration and you amplify and empower the peace, the joy, the abundance, the prosperity, and the blessings that God is offering all those who choose Him as their ultimate leader.
It’s like Jesus said, the power of submission chosen wisely is the doors it opens, the influence it accesses, the leadership it creates, and the results it empowers,
“Because you believed, it has happened.”