“Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Today’s topic At the Well is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Today we are talking about marriage. We are actually going to look at a different aspect of marriage.
Chelsey asks these questions: What does commitment in marriage mean? What kind of wife are we called to be to our husbands? What are ways that we can Biblically stand for our marriage?
This morning I am spending some time At the Well. This is new for me, but it is just another step in the journey I’m already taking. Neat how God does that…
This obviously affects every aspect of my life. Including my marriage. MY attitude, MY behavior, MY words, MY walk with God – those are the things for which I am responsible and accountable. And My obedience to God and submission to my husband are not conditional upon Roy. If I am not submitting myself to the Lord in every way, than my ability to be the kind of wife He desires me to be is impossible (Ephesians 5:22).
My commitment to Roy – must be completely based on my commitment to the Lord. Being faithful and committed to my husband is part of my being a wife – but it’s not just about not cheating and not leaving – it means being SUBMITTED. UGH – the word I dreaded for so many years. This always stirs up something in me. Does “submit” actually mean “obey” as in, I have to do what my husband says, when he says it, with the right heart attitude (the common definition for obedience I’ve known all my life)? Does it mean I am a “second class citizen” who slaves at home all day – disheveled, unkempt, uneducated, unknown, disappearing into a void of nothingness, scampering about at every whim and request of my husband? That may be how the world interprets God’s call for a wife to be submissive – but is that what GOD is actually saying?
I doubt that any one word can sum up the essence of what the Scriptures mean by submission. Let me suggest several words, each of which identifies a certain element of submission. The first word is “surrender.” Submission is a voluntary act or surrendering one’s rights or will. The second word is” sacrifice.” The third is “service.” The service which is rendered those to whom we submit often involves a sacrifice. It costs us something to render service to the other person. A fourth term is “authority,” while a fifth is “obedience.” When we submit to one who has authority over us, we should evidence this submission, in part, by our obedience. Conversely, when we submit to those under our authority, we evidence this with sacrificial service. I final term is “priority.” Those to who we submit have, in some manner, priority over us, our rights, our pleasure, or our will.
I believe that the difficulty we find in defining submission is due, in part, to the fact that while submission is the same in its essence, it may differ greatly in its expression, depending on the context it is found. A wife’s submission to her husband is manifested differently than a child’s submission to its parents, or a slave’s submission to his master. One’s submission to a person in authority over him is expressed differently from his submission toward one who is under his authority. A wife’s submission to her husband is modeled after the church’s submission to Christ, while her husband’s submission is to be modeled after Christ’s headship over the church.
After reading this, I understand what it means when I’ve heard someone say, “It takes great strength to be submissive and to follow someone else’s lead.” Once again, this is about VOLUNTARILY putting someone else’s – Roy’s – needs, desires, wants, requests above my own. This is about me being selfless. Philippians 2:3 – Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. That is what Scripture says. It doesn’t say I am not to have a mind or hobbies or that I am less valuable than Roy. Nowhere in Scripture, from God’s point of view, is a wife’s value less than that of a husband’s value.
Submission is simply part of the ORDER that God wants in our lives – in our relationship with him, and in our relationship with each other. If Roy & I are teamed up together but we are both struggling to go different directions, we will get nowhere. Someone has to take the lead. God ordained that the husband is to stand up and do that. And even if he does not, my role as the wife is to be submissive to my husband, AS UNTO THE LORD.
So to sum it up – this calling to be a submissive wife, and that’s what it is – A CALLING – is about my heart and attitude being aligned with and fully surrendered to the Heart of God. Sometimes Uncomfortable. Always Challenging. No room for compromise. For me, for now – this is something to chew on every day. It’s something I have to practice every day if I’m doing to be any good at it. It’s not something I can fake – or just half-heartedly attempt. And believe me, I cry about it more often than not. But in the end,
I Peter 1:6-7 says “For a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”