I am not designed to come second or third. I am designed to win. — Ayrton Senna, Formula One Champion (died in first place during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix)

Does choosing to lose come naturally to us? No way! Most of us struggle. We love to win, and we go to great lengths to avoid second place.

Think about it: 

  • Who wants to be second chair trumpet when there is a first chair? If you’re going to devote your life to music, you might as well go for first.
  • The Miss America Pageant has gotten creative with second place; they call it “first runner-up.” We all know it’s a euphemism for second.
  • How about first in line for the throne? Read some history books and see what happens to that guy. Second in line takes him out.

For most of us, second place isn’t easy because it means we are second to someone who beat us. Biblical love, choosing to be second, isn’t the default setting for many of us.

Consider all the debate surrounding Ephesians 5:22, which has been translated, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Did you know the word submit isn’t in the original Greek translation of Ephesians 5:22? It actually reads, “Wives, to your husbands as to the Lord.”

In fact, you have to back up a verse in the Greek in order to locate it. Ephesians 5:21 reads, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Husbands, submit to your wives. Wives, submit to your husbands out of reverence for Jesus.

What exactly does it mean to submit? Hupotasso is the Greek word. Upo means “under.” Taso means “place.” Its voice indicates a voluntary action. So quite literally, this passage explains how husbands and wives can voluntarily place themselves second inside their marriage.

It’s a different way. A powerful way. It’s the secret to make your marriage grow for a lifetime.

Lord, to submit in this way is empowering! Freeing! I can say with all honesty that as of today, I desire to be a loser in my marriage. Holy Spirit, empower me to choose second place. Amen.