“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”1
The myth about women is that they're passive, docile beings, when in fact women are doers; women do. They get things done. As wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, women are involved in the doing of all aspects of life. Here Paul gives wives something to do: submit to your husband as you submit to the Lord. The same attitude of submission you have toward Christ is the attitude you must have toward your husband. To honor and obey Christ will be demonstrated in a wife's ability to honor her husband in her commitment to submit. Paul doesn’t initiate this instruction to the wives first. Instead, he instructs both husband and wife to submit to one another as they submit their lives to God (Ephesians 5:21). Submission is a cooperative act by both husband and wife.
Because of sin, the world views submission as something distasteful, subservient, and humiliating rather than the honor God bestows on us to obey. We profess our love for the God whom we've never seen, yet fail to love and submit to those we see daily. We declare our submission to Christ, yet we fail to submit to our spouse. A wife who seeks her husband to represent Christ in the marriage will submit to him, the husband who seeks his wife to represent the church will love and submit to her. To do otherwise would dishonor Christ and the church He established. Submitting to her husband requires a wife to be a doer. While some may find it demeaning to agree with this passage of scripture, it is there for a reason; I believe all scripture is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16), and therefore it establishes genuine biblical doctrine, corrects error, and instructs one in living right before God.
A wife may ask of God, “What will I get in return for submitting to my husband?” The answer is supplied by her husband's love and submission abundantly directed to her.
As a Christian, I am a walking, breathing, living representation of Christ on earth; when people see me, they should see a reflection of Jesus Christ. Through my life, others should see what is meant by the words, joy of Your salvation (Psalm 51:12), and in Him we live and move and exist (Acts 17:28). When they do see it, my life accurately, actively and purposely demonstrates who Jesus Christ is.
We proclaim that we’re followers of Christ, but then as we begin to live out the Christian experience, we pick and choose what we will and what we won’t obey; as though it will have no consequences. I am finally learning what it means to love my wife as Christ loves the church. Many of the wives who left comments shared the need to be loved for who they are; flawed women in need of love, forgiveness and grace. Some men are unwilling to love a woman in this unconditional way. He wants her to be something else; he wants her to lose her identity and be conformed into an idolatrous image of something he has conjured up to worship.
I was watching a movie recently and there was a scene about human sacrifice to appease the gods, and it occurred to me that no person with a sound mind would willingly give their life up for a thing; they must be deceived, coerced, or forced.
A wife isn’t a thing to be offered up in worship of her husband's idolatrous beliefs; she is a woman to be totally and unconditionally loved by her husband.
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Many husbands will say, “My wife isn’t obeying scripture”, but what he really means is that she’s not obeying me. At the same time, my wife sees the reflection of my life and the image is not one of Christ.
No wife with a sound mind would willingly give her life up for a thing; she must be deceived, coerced, or forced by her husband.
Ask any ten Christian women, what it means to be subject to Christ and you’ll no doubt receive a reply regarding the unquestioned authority of God, faith, and submission that is consistently identical to the other nine answers. Ask those same ten women, what it means to be subject to your own husband and you likely get ten different answers. Just as many husbands have a problem loving their wife; many wives have a problem being subject to their own husband. They will say how flawed their husband may be, how unspiritual he is, and that’s why the marriage is bad.
If he were more like Christ, then I would gladly be subject to him.
The skeptic always asks, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
I will conclude this topic next week.
You created us in Your image and likeness, but sin distorted our ability to truly reflect You. Now through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have been given the gift of redemption and salvation. We have new life, that proclaims, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Your word commands us to submit to one another as we would submit our lives to You. You command husbands to love their wife, and that wives submit to their husbands. Correct the confusion we have over Your word. Teach us to obey, to love, and to submit.
I pray Lord, that You heal fractured marriages. I pray for those wives who feel hopelessly trapped, and unloved by their husband. I pray for husbands who feel utterly confused about how to love their wife. Set things right dear Lord. Let their be fertile ground in that marrige, that will produce fruit in abundance. May they discover truth and purpose together. In the name that covenants all who believe, sealed by His shed blood, the name that is above every name, Jesus Christ. Amen.
|Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).|
- Ephesians 5:21-22, KJV
- Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
- Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
- The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
- The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
- King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
- The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
- The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
- The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896
- Matthew Henry's Commentary, McDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia 22101, ISBN 0-917006-21-6