Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Wife's Submission to Her Husband

Ephesians 5
22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23For 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.
24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
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33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Submission to Your Husband?!
Sisters, it is often asked, should a wife submit to her husband? If she wishes to follow scripture the answer is a resounding yes. The scripture is EXTREMELY clear on this point. You can follow it or not. If you are a new Christian and were unaware of the verses regarding submission, I can imagine they might be a shock to you. However, I think even some of us who have been Christian a long time still are in shock. Many Christian ladies hate or are embarrassed by these scriptures. They are proud of their faith, but don’t want others to think they are “mindless”. They will find any excuse to not obey. If you are trying to pass it off as a “cultural” requirement, do you realize you are ignoring a command of God? Either you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God or you don’t. If you do, shouldn’t you obey it?!
Yes, I admit I sound harsh here. Sisters, so many of us struggle with this issue. I would like to cover in more detail some of the reasons why.
The World
Romans 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
One of the first questions we ask ourselves is what will the everyone think? Society would think us foolish if we openly did so. As Christians we must grasp that we are NOT to be lovers of the world. We should not care what people think. We should only care what God thinks about how we live our lives.
Even those that have established that submission is required still seem to have issues with it. I have read many, many articles on this topic. Both in my journey to understanding that I needed to obey my husband, but also in the years since. They make statements like “I submit, but I am still an equal”. They make long elaborate articles on why they aren’t mindless. They state how to be submissive, but not be a doormat. They say it takes a strong woman to submit. They argue how they submit, but are not inferior. They may even say we should submit to each other.
What do these statements sound like? Ladies, they sound like 'the world' talking. They are crafted as not to offend and try to convince this world that submission isn’t what they think it is. They want it to be seen in a different softer light. They want respect.
Here is a scriptural fact though. The world will not love you, understand you, nor respect you. Why do you spin your wheels trying to get that accomplished? It isn’t going to happen unless you compromise the very word of God?! Stop trying to make the command to submission look “soft”. It is what it is. Yes it is patriarchal! Yes it is male dominant! So what?!
If that is the way God wants it I am okay with that. I love God and I trust that He knows best. If the world calls me a doormat for that, so be it.
The comment that it “takes a strong woman to submit”. Again, this is catering to the world. The Bible directly says that the woman is the WEAKER vessel. We have to accept that for what it is. We are who God made us to be, accept it with grace. Do not let your pride be your downfall.
John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

But I can’t obey MY husband
I think a major issue of fear is that many women don’t trust their husbands. They think he will never step up and be a good leader. Almost the first thing that comes up with this topic is “what if he asks me to sin?”.
Let us not trouble ourselves with foolish and endless lists of “what if” questions. Simply trust God to guide your life. Trust your husband to lead. Most of the time you have to give that trust, before anything will start to happen. Likely you might even have years ahead of your before your husband feels you are able to really accept his leadership. You can’t correct in one day, a relationship of many years. You do have to start somewhere though.
How the husband treats the wife is often made into a condition of submission. Sisters point out the passage on the requirement that a husband is to love us as Christ loved the church. They may accuse that this part is often the “forgotten” portion. Then they go into great detail of how they feel the husband should treat them. Some even argue that if the husband isn’t living right, that they don’t have to obey.
Don't Teach Him How to Do His Job
I Timothy 2: 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
The Bible says we are to submit to our husbands in EVERYTHING as UNTO THE LORD. It does not say “if” he does this, or “if” he is a Christian, there are no conditions put on it. It is a command. Period. We are also not to be teaching men nor usurping authority. Trying to define how he is supposed to “love” us is not our place. When we set conditions like that, we are taking an authority.
If we feel that our husband doesn’t really love us if he doesn’t seek our advice, we are setting standards that the Bible does not. Yes, it is nice when your husband seeks your opinion. However, HE IS NOT REQUIRED to do so. That does not mean he isn’t fulfilling his scriptural command to love us. Stop trying to define how he should carry out his duty. Let us submissively, and reverently focus on our own duty.
Our Hearts in Obedience
Obviously part of that duty is to simply obey your husband's directives. However, the most important part is carrying them out with a cheerful and submissive heart. If we obey, but our heart is not right, we are still sinning.
Examples of Godly Obedience
I have just a couple of duties that I would like to address as they are so commonly despised. One is that we are commanded to be silent in church. How many follow this command? Not many. Much time is spent trying to argue around this command as well. Again often cultural reasons are sited for not obeying. Disobedience is still disobedience.
One could even argue that when looking up the Greek definitions of the passage that even within group of men conversing that we should keep silence. Why do most women find this to be abhorrent as a concept? Culture, feminist upbringing, desire for their own say, pride, etc. There are many reasons, we often have different ones. It doesn’t matter really. What matters is are we looking at this command through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. When that is done, you like won’t find it so awful.
I Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
Sarah Obeyed Abraham calling him Lord
Finally, another issue of submission within this line of thought is, “Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him Lord”. Both men and women nearly flip their lid at the thought of a wife calling her husband Lord (or Master as an alternate translation). I don’t have to explain why people find it appalling. However, it is NOT an evil thing as many see it. It is a matter of respect and of showing due reverence to the husband. If your husband directly doesn’t want you to do that, then obey him of course. However you address him, be respectful and reverential. Remember he IS your Master/Lord. No, he is not God. No one is claiming that. It is simply title of great respect and honor. If he would desire that you call him this, don’t treat him like villain for that desire. Why not address the man you love as Master? He is the man God has put in authority over you. He is the man that God created your very life for. If it was acceptable for Sarah to do, and we are encouraged to follow her example, then we should take this to heart.
1Likewise, 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;
2While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
Conclusion
If you willingly and joyfully obey the scriptures in this, I believe you will likely find a joy (or healing) in your marriage you never dreamed possible. When we align our lives with the Word, this can happen and be such a profound blessing.
At one time, I struggled greatly too. I felt Paul was evil. He was simply a man of God of whom God chose to speak through. I do not believe he hated women. He just expected that they should keep their God given place in the headship order. (I Cor. 11)
If that is what God ordained, then should we not as daughters of a mighty God, simply be willing to accept our role, whatever it may be?! We should not struggle when the word is so clear!
Now all of this said, am I a perfect submitting wife that keeps silent in the appropriate times, and always addresses her husband as Master/Lord? No, I humbly and shamefully admit that I do not. I am still learning too, thus my passion for research on this topic. I am not a perfect example of how to be a wife. However, I am sincerely trying my utmost to be a biblically submissive wife. I do not have all the answers. I can only lean on God and my earthly Master to help guide me into the woman God created me to be.
Fortunately we have the Word of God to help guide us as well. I write this article as a plea for ladies to simply stop hating and ignoring what is so clearly commanded of us. Submit with a humble heart to your earthly Master, for the Lord has blessed you with him.
Blessings in Christ
Titus 2
3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Other thoughts to leave you with.....
These are definitions I looked up:
Meeknesstoward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luk 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23).
Lord
The to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord
a) the possessor and disposer of a thing
1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master
2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor
b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master
c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah
Honour
valuing by which the price is fixed
a) of the price itself
b) of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold
2) honour which belongs or is shown to one
a) of the honour which one has by reason of rank and state of office which he holds
b) deference, reverence