As created beings, submission is a non-negotiable reality. We are, all of us, subordinate creatures in an intricate series of relationships which come with obligations to either the exercise of authority or the response of obedience.
Throughout Peter’s first epistle we are given a handful of relationships in which submission is commanded. Citizens to their governing authorities. Servants to their masters. Wives to their husbands. Christians to their elders. Elsewhere in Scripture we know that children are to render obedience to their parents.
A culture which tries to live without submission is like a spider trying to build a web without spinning any silk. In other words, it will––in the end––build nothing and catch nothing. You are either in submission or you are in rebellion. But rebels haven’t escaped the obligation to submit. They’ve simply chosen to submit themselves to a rival authority, and have pledged loyalty to a rival allegiance. This is why, at the end of 1 Peter, we’re told to resist the devil.
Nonconformists always start looking and sounding like each other. They’ve fooled themselves into thinking they’ve gotten out from under the thumb of authority, when they’ve only crawled under the sledgehammer of rebellion.
Submission is love in action. So ask yourself, “Who am I in authority over? Who am I to submit to?” Submission isn’t a dirty word, it is the demonstration of love’s loyalty. Where have you been stubborn and slow to obey? If you haven’t been obedient to the authorities which God has placed over you, it means you have been obedient to false authorities (i.e. yourself, the world, the devil).
But at the root of submitting to the earthly authorities which we are placed under, is the call to submit ourselves––body and soul––to God. He made you. He redeemed you. His commands are not grievous, but are life, and health, and peace.