Sunday, May 15, 2011
Submission has very little to do with your relationship with your husband, and EVERYTHING to do with your relationship with God.
This is the very last thing I ever wanted to write about or teach about. I guess because it has been covered so well by so many through the years, and since it is an age old issue, you can count on it being addressed pretty regularly in Christian circles. So I would rather get to other issues that I believe women have not been thorough in teaching to one another quite so much. Most of those principles, have more to do with being a Christ-follower than a wife. And here I am confronted with the truth that to be a Christ-follower as a wife this issue is one that has to not only addressed but completely exhausted. If we as women, do not do this well, everything else we do is in vain.
Interesting....this is definitely an area in which I have struggled greatly over the years. Not because I do not agree with God's word on this, but because it has been an area that I quite frankly, have had difficulty surrendering daily to be in submission to my husband. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Romans 8:13 (also please see Colossians 3)
So I am not going to approach this with out remembering that I am not "arrived"; but I am a bit of an expert in this battle....not in winning it, but in being in it, I have had some victories in this battle, but I admit there have been more times than I care to mention where I have failed miserably...I am also humbled that it would be something that I am in a position to address....as I still have a long way to go. So I will actually approach this in the manner that I am really looking into God's Word as an earnest student, not only for the benifit of others, but mostly for me.
Let us learn together.
The marriage relationship between a husband and wife, or a bride and a groom is so much more than just two people falling in love, and deciding to spend a life together, or even what we must do to begin a family together. It is a picture that God provides for the world to be able to see the relationship and structure between the bridegroom(Jesus), and the Bride of Christ (aka the Church, which is all born again believers). Selah as the Psalmist would say...which means, "stop and think about that for a moment".
What an incredible privilege and heavy responsibility!!! There is a lost world out there that will draw conclusions about the relationship God has with his children as the watch our marriage on the stage of life. But moms, future moms, grandma's, it is not only the world that will draw conclusions about Christ and His Church...what about those little eyes that are on you all of the time? Those we love the most? What conclusions will they come to based on your relationship with your husband? If they are to model their relationship to Christ after yours as a wife, how will it look? Because they WILL model their relationship to Christ after the example that you give them in your marriage.
When they come across scriptures in the Word of God regarding sins they should avoid, will they obey? What if they don't agree? Will they obey in deed, but on the outside they are bitter. Will they pout, and do it begrudgingly. Will they resent Christ and his commandments for not being what they want them to be? Will they obey them in public, but as a hypocrite, do things their own way in private?
When God reveals his plan and his will for your son/daughter, will they follow Him, and receive all the blessings that come from that? Or will they question his leading, go their own way, do their own thing?
Well, look at the last time you and your husband were not in agreement on a particular issue. How was this handled?
Imagine if your husband where Jesus, and you were the spokeswoman for the Body of Christ...how did you score?
A+ With a thankful, respectful attitude, maybe you discussed it maybe you didn't, but you allowed your husband to lead you.
F Anything else.
You see, it is a pass or fail grade. I know, it is harsh, and honestly I am not very comfortable as I write this, but would you only want me to report the comfortable truth? Or would you like me, want to be able to make decisions based on the whole truth? Either you obey the Word of God or you do not.
We have a saying in our family, that I can't take credit for making up. Whenever we would tell our kids to do something and it got a slow response, or rolling eyes, and heavy sigh, complaints or arguments, we would ask our kids this question..."What is obedience?" and they knew the answer, and recited it dutifully..."Immediately, exactly, and with the right heart attitude." You see God is not pleased with a response that is anything else!
I'm thinking of Jonah right now...first thing Jonah did when God told him to go to Nineveh was that he did the exact opposite, he went the other way.
"Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." Jonah 1:1-3
He thought this was too much for God to ask, it was too hard, so he chose to disobey the word of the Lord! Hard to believe that anyone would ever do that, huh?! Disobey the word of the Lord because it is too difficult to obey it. I wonder if any of us think that submitting to our husbands is just too difficult, so we just refuse to do it?
So what happens to Jonah? God chastises him! God sends a great fish that swallows Jonah. Jonah prays and God has mercy on him, As we know God is definitely in the business of being long-suffering with disobedient children. Jonah finds himself on a beach, (surely scarred from the 72 hours spent in stomach acid) covered in the stinky consequences of his disobedience and rebellion.
Have you, Mrs._________, ever been basking in the sun on a beach scarred and covered in the lovely stench of fish vomit? Maybe it looks more like a marriage about to split up, adultery, depression, children who do not respect either parent, who are so wounded by the arguing, do not want to serve the Lord, adult children that have turned their backs on your faith, even homosexuality. The consequences of disobeying the Lord are limitless, and how terrible when we are not the only ones who pay.
So God gives Jonah a second chance. The Bible says, "And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee." Jonah 3:1-2 So this time Jonah goes where God tells him to go and does what God tells him to do. And God saves the people of Nineveh, because they repent and turn away from their sin, so he does not destroy the city! Yea Jonah!!! Great Job! The only thing is, Jonah did not have the right heart attitude about the whole thing. He did not want what God wanted.
See, have you ever tried this submissive thing out? Just to prove that it just is not going to work!?! "Ok, fine I will do what he says...I will sit down and let my husband tell me what our new budget looks like and then if he thinks he can handle the finances, I am just going to let him do that...." Then you sit back and wait for him to make a mistake. Or you obey your husband in word or in deed, but in your heart you resent him for his position as leader, or head, since you know you could do just as good of a job, if not better...after all he doesn't even read his Bible every day!
Look how Jonah responds to God getting what he wanted, a whole city turned to the Lord and he saved them all!
"But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?"
First Jonah disobeyed and he was chastised, then he obeyed, but he had the wrong attitude. Instead of obeying out of love for an awesome God, and in turn loving that which God loves. Jonah obeyed begrudgingly. It did not please the Lord. So when we read the word of the Lord, and it tells us to submit ourselves unto our own husbands, or that we are to be subject to our husband in every thing. Does it please God when we do it out of duty, and in our hearts we resent doing it?
Obedience is immediately, exactly, and with the right heart attitude.
I do realize that there are obviously times when we are closer and further than attaining our goal to live for Christ, and yes I know that no one is perfect. So back to the question about the last time you were faced with a situation where you could submit. In light of my definition of obedience, and the scriptures below, did you obey the word of the Lord or did you not? Look at what God tells us in His Word.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Did you see that? "In Every Thing"? Well, for me it has been fairly easy to see that in the big decisions for our family and household that I am to defer to my husband to hear the Lord on it and I will follow.
For example, when the time came for us to say yes or say no to the answer from my husbands employer whether we should move 1200 miles away, selling our beautiful home we just built and moved into. I knew God wanted us to move, I could just feel such a peace with it. But my husband needed to make that decision. It was difficult for him as a provider, and leader to do that. And I easily could have asserted myself in such a way that he would have relinquished his God given authority as "head of the wife" and I would have made the decision to move. But I did not, even when I thought he was going to make the wrong decision, I had to remind myself that it is better to follow my husband down the wrong road than to lead him down the right road. I knew that if my husband made a decision based on fear, or the flesh, and it was not what God had for our family, that was better than if I took over as head of our home.
You see I trust that God will redirect my husband, or God will bless me (and my family through me for my obedience to Him). Bottom line, I trust God.
Well, as I prayed for my husband to make the decision that God wanted him to make and I accepted that he might not chose the way I believed God would have him. I saw God work in him and as he was able to step out on faith and follow the Lord knowing that I, his wife, wanted God's best for him, and trusted him to lead us, he really became the Leader God wanted him to be. (and in my eyes, hotter than before!)
Again, when it was time to move to Michigan. From Texas...where I was so happy, and had seen our family flourish! I received the transfer offer in the mail. And when I read it I knew what my husbands choice would be, they do not offer the transfer, unless you request it. I didn't even know he had put in for it. So of course after that last victory, you know I responded in just the most godly way....I hid it in my sock drawer, and then threw a private 'pity party/funeral". Seriously, I was on the floor in my bedroom crying out to the Lord for 3 hours. I am so glad He is a God who hears the cry of a spoiled rotten little brat like me, and with mercy and compassion reached down and spoke right to my heart. He said..."Kelly get up and let your husband lead you, he is your head, you are the body." I knew that we would be moving again, and with a new right heart attitude, I turned over the transfer and told him I trusted him to make the right decision for our family, as long as he was committed to following Christ." I look back and I still do not know for sure that my husband did follow the Lord in the decision. But I am grateful that I did allow him to lead. It was not easy and it was not without pain and tribulation, as God did refine us in Michigan. He surely blessed me for my honoring Him through honoring my husband.
The big things, especially when I am up against the wall are kind of for me the easy ones. I don't know if anyone reading this is like me, and has much greater difficulty being in subjection...see that phrase in itself is a state of being in the grammar world, meaning it is how you are...not just for the moment, but always...
1 Peter 3:1-2
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
(1828 Webster's Dictionary definitions)
subjection-The state of being under the power, control and government of another.
conversation-General course of manners; behavior; deportment; especially as it respects morals.
1. Pure from all unlawful commerce of sexes. Applied to persons before marriage, it signifies pure from all sexual commerce, undefiled; applied to married persons, true to the marriage bed.
2. Free from obscenity.
While they behold your chaste conversation. 1 Peter 3.
3. In language, pure; genuine; uncorrupt; free from barbarous words and phrases, and from quaint, affected, extravagant expressions.
If a lost husband can be won to Christ by the conduct of a godly wife in relation to her role to be in subjection to her husband, just think what can happen for a husband who knows the Lord! Not to mention, that we truly should be obeying the Lord in this out of an attitude of thankfulness and submission to God. There is power in submission, not weakness, Ladies!
I know the world would have you think otherwise...but Gods ways are higher than our ways, are they not?
"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Ephesians 5:33
This is the one I need to tatoo to the inside of my eyelids...
Does my husband feel like I reverence him? I shutter to think how on most any given day he would answer that question. It is my job to change that. The way I can make that change is this. Pray for him, think the best about him. Do not think, or even dwell on his weaknesses, that is what the enemy wants us to do. Instead thank God for all he does, and the ways that God uses him to be a blessing to you and to others. Praise your husband, thank him for what he does for you and your family. Our relationship with him is to be a reflection of the Bride of Christ and our Savior! Is it?
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.