It is a Sunday evening. Thoughts have been stirring in my heart since this morning’s church service. Our pastor has been preaching for quite some while through the book of Matthew. Today we arrived at Matthew 19, where the Pharisees approached Jesus to test Him with the controversial subject of marriage and divorce. Of course, Jesus, in all His wisdom, could never be trapped in their deceptive questions. Instead, He returned to God’s original design in the creation of marriage.
Our pastor proceeded to preach on God’s intent in marriage. Now, I need to say that the subject of marriage is not new to me. For many years, I have studied what Scripture says, have written studies, have taught classes, and have spoken to ladies’ groups on this very subject. So what was it in today’s message that grabbed my heart and thoughts so strongly?
Simply put, our pastor emphasized how selfishness causes problems in every marriage, and specifically in every troubled marriage. He explained that we focus on our spouse’s faults and our wants/needs. But then, he described how when we get closer to the Lord and He works in our hearts, we begin to see our faults and our spouse’s needs. How profound! …. And I know that is exactly how the Lord worked in my own marriage.
But here is where my thoughts traveled today. Through many years I have walked beside Christian women struggling in marriage … struggling to be the wife that the Lord designed and desires them to be. I myself have struggled there many times. But today, I thought of what a fine line (but with a dramatic difference in result) there is between a focus on ME being a good wife or on MY HUSBAND and the needs that he has. Focusing on HIS NEEDS completely takes my focus off MYSELF!
We know that in this life, we are called to deny our self and follow Christ. We also know that when we walk in the truth of loving one another, it is a sacrificial love, doing what is truly good for the other, no matter the cost, expecting nothing in return.
Now, let’s take this truth into the marriage. Let us not keep our focus on what kind of wives WE ARE. We may end up downcast and discouraged, or worse, we may end up in pride, thinking we are a much better spouse than others, even better than our husbands are to us!
Rather, may we look first to the Lord and His perfect word and way. And then focus on the man that we call husband … and his needs, rather than our own!
Lord, You said,
It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a help meet for him.
So … Lord, please … help me focus on truth … on “for him” … on his needs … not on his faults …and not on my self!
To God be the glory!
Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ,
so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Submission – oh that word! Submission – I don’t know if there is any other word that will cause such a reaction in women, even Christian women! Raised eyebrows, rolling eyes, ruffled feathers, and sometimes even verbal arguments – these are common reactions to that word submission. Why is this so?
Surely, a large part of the reason is the fallen human nature of the woman. We can recall that part of the consequences of the woman’s sin was that she would desire to overtake the man, and he would rule over her. Therefore, it is easy to understand these attitudes in the unbelieving woman. It is her natural response.
But why is there often objection to submission in many Christian women? It seems that when a woman is redeemed by the Lord and brought back into a relationship with Him, and He begins to restore relationships around her that these objections would change. As the believing woman looks into the Word of God and discovers truth about Christian marriage, it seems that her desire to glorify the Lord would bring her to these very truths. Sadly, the truth about submission is both misunderstood and misapplied, and therefore, dismissed or rejected.
However, submission is a supremely important building block for the wise woman as she builds her house. So, let us seek to understand the teaching of Scripture regarding this precious word!
First, it is important to understand that submission is one of the most obvious qualities of all Christians – both men and women!
- All Christians are to submit to God (James 4:7).
- Servants are to submit to masters (Ephesian 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Peter 2:18).
- Younger people are to submit to elders (1 Peter 5:5).
- Citizens are to submit to government (Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14).
- Wives are to submit to their own husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1, Titus 2:5).
- The church (believers) is to submit to Christ (Ephesians 5:24).
So, we can easily see that submission is a key mark of the Christian. In truth, submission is the proper response to all authority, for it is God who ordains authority.
What exactly does the word submission mean? Submission means: to place in a certain order under another; to arrange in an orderly manner under; to assign or appoint a place under.
Take time to look back at the previous list of areas where submission should be evident in the lives of believers. Can you see how this definition would apply? Can you see how the believer would be placing herself and arranging herself under another?
Now, let us recall that we previously considered that the wife is to respect her husband. The reason that respect was so important was because of the position that the Lord had given the husband. It is the Lord Who said that the husband is the head of the wife. Remember? Respect is the heart attitude that the wife must see that she has toward her husband. Willing submission is the outflow of that respectful heart, as she arranges herself under her husband’s authority as her God-ordained head.
But right at this point is where misunderstanding about submission so often enters. Submission is not a harsh, dictatorial headship mistreating a submissive wife. It is not a master-slave relationship. And it not a constant asking for permission, much as a parent-child relationship would be.
The husband-wife relationship is the most unique human relationship on the earth. It is the closest, most intimate relationship that two people can have. It is a one-flesh relationship! The husband and wife are one! God created the woman for the man. He placed her alongside the man to be with him as his companion in life. And He created her to be a help to him. The man would be the head, and she would be by his side as his help. For any person to truly be a good help to another, she must arrange herself under the leadership of the other. She cannot overtake nor go in her own direction, lest she fail in her calling as a help and companion!
Submission is a total arrangement of a woman’s life alongside her own husband. Her life is ordered around his, under his headship. Isn’t that exactly the way the church is to order her life around the Lord, under His Headship? It is when a woman walks in this place that she brings much glory to the Lord.
What is a wife’s submission? It is the beautiful picture of Christ and the church. It is the wife willingly giving her life to be a companion to her own husband (for it is not good for him to be alone), and humbly serving her Lord as the help He created her to be, by the side of the man to which she was joined in marriage.
What is submission? It is a sound building block that the wise woman will securely set in place right next to the building block respect!
Why did we entitle this entry: Submission – More Than Permission? When I first came across the truth of headship and submission, I was one of those women who had a misunderstanding of the concept of submission. I totally missed the beauty and magnitude of what God intended! I took the word submission and made a rather legalistic concept out of it. And I tried to appear submissive.
I had somewhat of a mental image, almost as if David was seated on a throne. I felt like I had to take everything that I wanted to do and ask permission as to whether I could do that thing or not. I treated his headship very formally and almost like a parent/child relationship, rather than what God intended as a husband/wife relationship.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I really didn’t want David “telling me what to do”, but I was “trying” to be obedient to what I thought the Word of God was saying for the wife to do. I also was quite good at convincing him to say yes to my requests, so, essentially, I was doing what I wanted to do. I was just attempting to get him to “rubber stamp” it, so I could say that David said I could do it, and thereby, I was being a submissive wife, right????? No, no, no, I was so wrong. God wanted so much more in our lives. He wanted us to truly live as one flesh, all to His glory!
These are some of the things that began to change. David did not like it when I asked him every little thing, and he actually asked me not to do that. Hmmm! How would I know if I didn’t ask? What I discovered was that the Lord didn’t want me to be always asking permission and manipulating to get my way. He wanted me to give my life to David! He wanted me to arrange myself alongside him, and be a companion in life to him, not concerned with me at all!
He taught me how to listen to David. I found that husbands have usually commented on things that they like or did not like when a wife does them. If I thought about it, I already knew what he would want me to do, or not do, in almost any given situation. The problem was it usually didn’t line up with what I wanted to do. I was so good at making excuses and going my own way.
But what I had to learn was that God created me to be with “my own husband” in this life. He had called me alongside him in the most intimate relationship on earth. I needed to learn to listen, really listen, to him and trust that the Lord would guide his heart. There are countless times that I have witnessed that very thing. There are also times that I thought David was wrong, and later discovered that he had made the right decision. I had to remember that it was Eve who was deceived, and not be so sure that my way was wiser. God had given David to me as my head. I had to trust the Lord Himself, as I arranged myself under David, and that was not always easy.
I will share this encouragement. The longer that you walk in a one flesh relationship, as a companion to your husband, arranging yourself under his headship, the easier it becomes. You see the blessings in it. You become aware of the safety in it, and you experience a deeper and deeper marriage relationship. You learn for yourself of God’s goodness – that ALL His ways are good!
Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ,
so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
So, Until Next Time:
Spend time in prayer.
Allow the Lord to show you ways that He wants to grow you in this truth.
Go back and study the definition of submission.
Allow the Lord to show you even more of the goodness of His ways.
What/who is your life arranged around?
Do you have any authority in your life?
Do you resist your husband’s authority and leadership?
Do you attempt to manipulate him?
You may not have a spiritual husband, but you can still submit to his leadership. We will talk about that next time!
Don’t allow earthly situations to tell you that God’s truth cannot be true in your life.
Submission – it is so much more than permission!
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
… And let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase: see to it? What did they mean when they said to see to something? Perhaps that is an unfamiliar phrase to some, but the phrase means: to be careful or certain to do something.
Our Lord commands the wife to see to it (to be careful or certain) that she respects her husband. Respect – will be our next building block for the wise woman who builds her house.
What exactly does the word respect mean? Respect is an intangible word and is not easily defined. Webster’s dictionary defines respect as: esteem, honor, or high regard for a person or their position; deference to another’s position; proper acceptance, courtesy, or acknowledgement of another’s position.
Respect is a heart attitude toward another that honors his position. If the heart attitude is respectful, then respectful behaviors will follow. Respectful words will be spoken, and respectful actions will flow from the heart. Through our words and actions, we will esteem our husband, honor him, and highly regard him. We will defer with a proper acceptance and acknowledgment of his position and interact with courtesy and graciousness toward him.
Now, let us return to our scripture in Ephesians 5. Let the wife see that she respects her husband. This respect for our husband is something that we should be careful to maintain. Why does the Word of God give this strong command to the wife?
We can recall in Genesis 2 that the purpose for the creation of the woman was to be a help/companion to the man. He was created first, and she was created for him as his helper. Now look at the beginning of the Ephesians passage to which we are referring. In verse 23, we find the truth: For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church … In truth, there is one reason, and one reason alone, that a wife is to see to it that she respects her husband. That reason is the Lord. He designed, created, ordained, and commanded it to be so. Our Lord is the Ultimate Authority over all, and it is He Who has delegated authority to the husband. Respect will be necessary for the wife to be a proper help and companion to the husband.
We usually stumble at this truth for one of two reasons (or perhaps both). We view our marriage with earthly eyes and think too little of our husband (disrespect) or too much of ourselves (pride). You see, God doesn’t list all the husband’s strengths and weaknesses to see if he qualifies to be the head and deserves our respect. He doesn’t say that the husband must earn our respect. He commands the wife to respect him because He has created the husband to be the head, and therefore, the husband’s position as head is to be respected. We all have a fallen human nature, including our husbands, but we cannot allow our earthly view to cause us to dismiss the truth of the Word of God.
Headship is also discussed in 1 Corinthians 11:3:
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ,
the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Every wise woman will grab hold of this truth and not let go! The husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the Head of the husband. Our husband has a Head, and he has a Perfect Head! AND, through prayer, the wife has the privilege of directly communicating with her husband’s Head. Anytime we have difficulty respecting our husband’s position as our head, in the final analysis, we are having trouble trusting God to work good for us through our head (our husband). We are actually questioning the goodness of God! Remember, the question is not whether, according to our evaluation, our husband deserves to be the head. It is our Loving, Faithful, All-Wise, Heavenly Father Who has appointed our husband to that position.
One further consideration:
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church.
Christ and the church serve as our example of how a marriage is to be lived out, AND when we live according to these truths, we reflect the picture of Christ and the church, and our Lord is glorified!
Now, I already know what many wives may be thinking. Thoughts like: You don’t know my husband! Or But my husband doesn’t love me like Christ loves the church! This is where faith comes in. Our responsibility is to see to it that we respect our own husband as our God-given head, in humble obedience to the Lord Himself. It is the Lord’s responsibility to work in the life of our husband. Even if a husband is an unbeliever or an unspiritual man, our only responsibility is to respect his position as the church would respect he Lord. Will our husbands ever achieve the perfection of the Lord? No, not in this life, and the Lord knew that when He set this truth in order. But He also knows that a wife who will walk in this truth will reflect much glory to Him! You may also ask: Am I honoring and respecting my husband instead of the Lord? The answer is: No, you are honoring and respecting your husband because of the Lord.
Truly, God’s ways are far above ours! Our fleshly thoughts and ways can never attain to such a high calling. But God, through His Spirit, can and will work these truths in us.
What a strong building block for the wise woman:
Every wise woman will see to it (to be careful or certain)
to respect (esteem, highly regard, honor) her husband as her head.
Not long after I became a Christian, the Lord drew me into His Word to study marriage. (That is because I needed it so badly!) I came across the truth that the husband is to be the head. Like most Christian wives, I did want my husband to be the head of our home. I wanted him to be the head of our son, and to discipline him when needed. I wanted him to handle the finances and things like insurance. I wanted him to handle problems that would arise, but what I discovered in the Word of God was that I had missed the most important part of this truth. What the Lord showed me was that the husband is the head of the WIFE! What I saw was that I wanted my husband to be the head of our home, but I did not want him to be the head of ME!
Through much prayer and meditation on these truths, what I discovered was that I honestly didn’t think I needed a head. I was a mature, intelligent woman. I really didn’t need a head – or so I thought! I could see that our son needed a head. I had taught school for several years and could see that my students needed a head. I could see that citizens need a governing head, and I could certainly see that my husband needed a head. Why was I so blind to the fact that I needed a head? Oh, this fallen human nature!
I also struggled with the need of a human head. I thought: Why can’t the Lord just be my Head? Why should this man be my head? What the Lord showed me was that all human beings (including me) need authority, and it was He (not my husband) Who had designated this order. He also showed me that He would use my husband for my good. And, oh my, how this has proven to be true through the years. The one truth that I resisted so strongly has turned out to be one of the greatest blessings of my life.
I can assure you that respecting a husband as the head of the wife does not come naturally. The Lord must do the work in the wife. Yet, He commands her to see to it that she respects her husband.
In my life, I had to take that truth to the Lord in prayer and allow Him to change my heart. I also had to refuse the lies of the enemy that said that other people had it “easier”, and that this would never work in my marriage. What a transformation the Lord brought to my marriage through this truth, and in years to come, what a transformation he made in my husband!
God’s Word is always truth, and His way is always from His goodness! Oh, that we could learn to bow our hearts to Him!
So, Until Next Time:
Spend time with the Lord on these truths.
Allow the Lord to examine your heart.
Perhaps these questions will prove helpful as we examine together.
What is our heart’s attitude toward our own husband?
We will experience much frustration (and failure) if we attempt to be respectful to our husband on the outside and do not respect him from the heart.
What can we tell about our heart toward our husband by the way that we speak to him?
How do we respond to his requests?
How to do we speak about him to others?
How do we speak to and about him in front of the children?
Are our private thoughts about our own husband respectful ones?
From the heart, do we respect him as the Lord calls us to do?
This is not an easy task.
Ask the Lord to help.
Faithful is he Who calls you, Who also will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
The wise woman builds her house. With the proper foundation laid, where will this wise woman begin? Since the Lord created the woman to be a help and companion to her husband, the appropriate place for her to begin will be in her relationship to him. Remembering that wisdom is from God Himself, found in His Word, what truths can we find that will help us build?
A very simple, but profound, truth can be found in Proverbs 31. In describing an excellent wife (a strong, virtuous wife), the Scripture says: She does him (her husband) good. Think on that truth for a few moments. She does him good – and not evil!
Can you recall that God said it was not good that the man should be alone? His remedy for that problem was to make a help/companion for him. God intended for her to be a good thing for him.
Now, listen to Proverbs 18:22:
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.
There we see the exact truth. The wife is to be a good thing for the husband. Therefore, she does him good. She does him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. Doing her husband good is her lifestyle. She begins her marriage doing him good. She restrains from doing him evil, and this is the pattern of her life – for all her life.
I love the result this goodness produces in her husband. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. He trusts her. He can depend on her. He knows that she is on his team, that she is faithfully by his side. He knows, with certainty, that she will do him good. How can he be so sure? It is because she has faithfully done good to him all the days of her life! Therefore, he doesn’t need anything else! What a wife!
Now, lest you think, that your husband doesn’t deserve you to be good to him, may I remind you that we did not deserve the goodness that the Lord poured out on us. Scripture says: He is kind to the unthankful and evil and instructs us to be merciful just as our Father is merciful (Luke 6:35-36). Romans 5:8 proclaims: But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. You can also recall that goodness is fruit that is produced by the Spirit in the life of the believer (Galatians 5:22).
So here is our first building block:
The wise woman will faithfully and consistently do good
(and not evil) to her husband!
I sat in the home of an elderly widow, helping her sort items and listening to her reminisce about her life. She pulled out a beautiful vintage marriage certificate with the specifics of her and her husband’s marriage carefully written in calligraphy. She read portions of the certificate aloud and concluded with the Scripture embossed at the bottom: She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
We talked about that verse for a few moments and then discussed how a single verse carries profound truth and can transform a life if it is truly lived out before the Lord. Then, the elderly widow made a very wise statement: It is very good if a woman enters a marriage knowing this truth, but if she still knows it at the end of her marriage, it is a far greater thing!
I pondered on that statement for days. I thought about what hardships, disagreements, arguments, selfishness, and sin do in a marriage. I thought about how these things clutter a heart with resentment and bitterness, and how easy it is, through unforgiveness, to lose truth that you might have once known. She was right – If a wife goes through her lifetime and is still doing her husband good at the end, that is truly a great thing and brings much glory to the Lord! This truth – doing a husband good (and not evil) – is important no matter how long you have been married. And it is never too late to build.
So, Until Next Time:
Allow the Lord to examine your heart.
If there are thoughts in there toward your husband that are not good thoughts, sincerely ask the Lord to change them.
Scripture teaches that everything that we say and do comes from our heart.
Wrong thoughts must be dealt with, so that right words and actions can flow from the heart.
Ask the Lord to show you ways that you can do good to your own husband.
Ask the Lord to restrain you when you would do evil.
Ask Him to make you more like Jesus – starting with the way you treat your husband!
Every wise woman builds her house. Let’s build good things!
I am crucified with Christ; 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 for me.
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
It’s time for us to start building. We have observed the beginning of the earth and all things in it. We saw that it was all created by God Himself, according to His masterful design and mighty power. We learned that God created man by His own hand, in His own image, for His own purposes, and then created the woman from the rib of man, designed by God Himself, and again for His own purposes. And then, we discovered God’s beautiful intention for man and woman to be joined as one flesh.
However, Satan entered the garden, deceived Eve, and wreaked havoc when the man and woman fell into sin. We then discovered that there is only One Redeemer Who can forgive and restore. Through all these beginnings, we came to understand where sin, lies, deception, and broken relationships originated and why those sinful qualities remain in the human heart today.
So, with the understanding of what went wrong and the hope of restoration that comes only from the Lord, it is time for us to begin building.
Here are some very basic truths about building:
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Psalm 127:1
- All building, apart from the Lord, is vain (false, empty, worthless).
According to the grace of God which was given to me (the Apostle Paul), as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11
- All building must be on the correct foundation – the Lord Jesus Christ. There is none other.
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4
- Once the correct foundation is laid, it will take wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to build – all of which come from the Lord. We must trust Him to show us how to apply His truth to our lives and homes that they may be filled with those precious and pleasant riches.
Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine (Jesus), and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25
- A house properly built will withstand the storms of life!
The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
With these truths in mind, we will begin to build by taking God’s truth and wisdom, one magnificent truth at a time, and discover how God will lead us to place them in our lives. It is important to note that our homes and families will not be carbon copies of one another. Every husband and wife relationship is unique, and each of our children is an individual creation of God, each with his own personality, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. The husband and wife and all their children come together to form a family /household. So, we need to understand, all households will differ.
Using the analogy of a house, all houses have some basic things that must be the same. All have foundations; all have upright supports; all have walls; all have windows; all have roofs. In the same way, there are some truths that should be evident in every Christian home – truths straight from the Word of God.
In many of the other facets of our homes, God gives much freedom. Just as in our analogy of an actual house, though there are those factors that all houses have, what variety we find among them. Floor plans, paint colors, décor and style all differ. Yet, the basic components of a house remain intact. Such is the case with the Christian home. There are no carbon copies, but ALL must exhibit the truth of the Word of God. It will take much discernment and careful building so that all our building is done to the glory of God.
I am looking forward to our next writing. Our foundation is laid. Time to build!
… But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Before we proceed to building, I would like to share with you a great mistake that I made as I became a Christian. Perhaps sharing this might keep you from making the same mistake. Foolishly, I did a lot of “tearing down”.
The mistake I made, which produced terrible results, was putting my eyes on my husband rather than on the Lord. It is so easy to look at a husband’s fallen human nature and think that the truth of the Word of God will never work in MY situation. It is easy to think: You don’t know MY husband. These things will NEVER work. Those thoughts will always produce more wrong thoughts, wrong words, and wrong actions. Those thoughts are the seeds that feed “tearing down”, rather than building up!
What I had to learn was not to look at David and his faults and failures, but to look at the Lord. I had to come to His Word to learn what He said to ME! That was challenging enough! I also had to learn to FULLY leave David in the Lord’s hands. I was completely unable to change my husband’s heart. I really couldn’t even change my own. Only the Lord can change a heart!
So here is where the Lord brought my heart.
Pray for my husband.
Trust the Lord to work in him.
Love him as the Lord loved me!
Come before the Lord humbly in prayer and in the Word.
Allow the Lord to change ME!
Be obedient to what He taught me.
Thank Him and praise Him all along the way.
Then, I was on my way to becoming a builder, leaving my foolish ways behind. Of course, this change took place over time. It was not an overnight change, but what a difference it made! Building, not pulling down!
So, Until Next Time:
With the Holy Spirit as your Building Inspector, check to see if you are ready to build:
Is Jesus Christ the foundation of your life?
Is He the foundation of your home?
Are you building with God’s wisdom – understanding how to apply truth to your daily life?
Spend time in prayer.
Trust the Holy Spirit to fully guide you into all truth.
Remember, unless the Lord builds the house, all our labors are in vain.
Every wise woman builds her house.
Now unto Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,
to Him be glory in the church
by Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever,
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
1 Peter 1:18-21
We left Adam and Eve, and consequently the whole human race, in what seemed to be a hopeless state. Were there consequences for their sin? Absolutely, yes. Their sin brought death and spiritual separation from God, not only for themselves, but for every human being that would ever be born. We are all born separated from God, under His wrath, and with a keen awareness of our self and our flesh. That flesh rules everything that we do. We can’t see or understand our lost condition until God opens our eyes to see that we are actually enemies of God.
But the wonderful news of redemption is that God does not leave mankind in that state. Bible scholars believe that the first promise of a Redeemer occurred right there in Genesis 3:15 when God cursed the serpent and promised that One would come that would bruise his head! And in verse 21 we find that the Lord God made coverings of skin and clothed Adam and Eve, an action that required the killing of an animal. An animal, very likely a lamb, was slain to provide that covering for them. And though God put them out of the garden so that they would not live forever in their sinful state, He still loved His creation, and through His great love and mercy, made provision for them.
As a Christian, we understand that these were actions that God took to symbolize what the Promised Messiah would do for His people. Indeed, Jesus Christ was the true Lamb of God, who came and lived, died, and rose again that we might be redeemed to God. We, who were separated from God, have been redeemed (bought back to God) by the precious blood of Christ. To be bought means that the price for our sin was paid by the completed work of Jesus Christ!
What happens to us when we are redeemed (bought back)?
First, we have a new birth – a spiritual birth. We become a child of God. He is now our Heavenly Father! We can trust Him with every moment and every situation of our lives. We are no longer our own. We are His! And the joy of redemption is that we can now live with Him – now and forever!
Secondly, He begins to change us from our old ways to be like Him. He gives us a new heart and gives us His Own Spirit to live inside us to teach, guide, direct, convict, and comfort us! We can now truly live in the presence of God!
Thirdly, He restores us, not only to Himself and those things for which He created us, but He also restores our relationships with others, as He always intended for them to be.
And finally, for the duration of our time on Earth, He is committed to conforming us more and more to the image of Christ! How blessed to be like Him!
Take time to read Colossians 3. You will find the qualities of our fallen nature that God tells us to put off. And then, you learn of God’s intention for the believer in verse 10: and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
Do you recall in Genesis when God said: Let us make man in our own image? For the Christian, God is now renewing that image – His own image – in us! What an amazing truth!
Now, listen to the new heart of the believer: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do Colossians 3:12-13.
Isn’t it amazing how much those heart qualities sound like God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit? And that is what He also does in the heart of the believer.
But let’s keep reading in Colossians 3. We find that God also restores relationships. Very specifically, He addresses wives, husbands, and children, as well as working relationships.
Take your mind back to God’s design for the man and the woman in the Creation account in Genesis. Something was lost in that relationship when sin entered. But give careful thought to Colossians 3:18-19:
Wives, submit to your own husbands as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
Now let’s think together.
How would a wife’s submission to her own husband relate to being created to be a help and companion to him?
How would a husband’s love (and not bitterness) for his wife relate to being created for working (providing) and guarding (protecting) her?
Can you see that when the Lord redeems us, He redeems us to Himself first, but then redeems us in the relationships surrounding us. It is interesting that the first relationship He specifically addresses is the husband and wife, then parents and children, and finally those outside the home.
Just as an encouragement, remember that we must first be brought back into a relationship with God Himself. He will then work in your heart. Look again at the old ways of the flesh addressed in Colossians 3, those that we are to put off and the new heart that God gives us to put on. But here is the encouragement. Don’t make the mistake of only applying those truths outside of your home. The Lord wants us to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do to our own husband and to our own children, and then to those outside of our homes.
So much truth for the wise woman to consider! What does it really mean to be redeemed by God?
Today, I would like to share with you the story of my personal salvation (redemption).
I came to know the Lord about 34 years ago. I was raised in a home where my mom taught us the truth of the Word of God regarding right and wrong. Because of that upbringing, I knew things that were right and wrong. Even though I had heard about Jesus all my life, I really didn’t see the need for Him as my Savior. Basically, I lived my life trying to “be good”. I tried to be a “good” child, a “good” student at school, and generally a “good” person. I actually thought that was possible.
When we graduated from college, David and I got married, and I set about to be a “good” wife. Four years into the marriage, we received a true blessing in our life. Our baby boy arrived. I had a difficult pregnancy, spent four months on total bed rest, and delivered a month early.
After ten days in the NICU, we were allowed to bring this little bundle of love and joy home. There are no words to describe how much I loved this little guy and delighted in being his mother. Perhaps all those emotions were magnified because of the difficult pregnancy and the constant possibility of losing him. But I can honestly say, he was my delight. Therefore, above all else, I wanted to be a “good” mother.
However, as he grew older and developed “a mind of his own”, I began to struggle with motherhood. I often found myself angry with him and was struggling within myself because I could see that I was not the “good” mother that I had thought I would be.
Amid my struggles with being a mother (and a wife), I heard a preacher say that either Jesus Christ is Who He says He is, or He was a liar and an impostor. I cannot describe how that statement hit my heart.
I was going to church regularly and bringing my son to church, as well, but I absolutely had to find the answer to those questions: Who did Jesus say He is? Was this true, or was He, indeed, a liar and impostor? I was in a precarious place. Within my heart, I had to know the truth! I also had a determined resolve that if I found Him to be a liar and impostor, I would eliminate church from my life, and I certainly would not bring up my child in church.
So, there the search began. I had always seen my mom read her Bible with a red and blue pencil in her hand as she marked passages she read. So, I got a red pencil, a Bible, and started in the gospels. Every place that the Scriptures revealed Who Jesus was, I marked, and every place prophecy was revealed saying: It is written, I also marked.
You must remember that I was struggling with day to day life at this time, but all that I can say is that Jesus gave me a glimpse of His righteousness and my total sin! Until that time, I never really saw myself as a sinner. I always thought I was pretty “good” because I always compared myself with others. But getting that view of His righteousness, so clearly showed me just how full of sin I was! And for the first time, it was as a light came on in my heart. Jesus didn’t just “die for the sins of the world” as I had always heard. It was for me! He died for me! God had forgiven me, and it was that day when I became His child and a new creation!
Step by step, He began to change me. He brought me into His Word and used that means to begin transforming my life. He had brought me into a relationship with Himself. He began to change my heart and my thoughts, and He began to restore relationships around me.
The first place the Lord worked was in my marriage and in being a mom. After all, what I learned was that God had created me to be a wife and a mother, and He was going to redeem those areas of my life. God showed me His purpose for me was to be a wife to one man (David) and a mother to his son (I had always thought of Jim as MY son). Deep within my heart, I knew that at the end of my life there were two things I was certain to give an account for:
What kind of a wife had I been to David?
And what kind of a mother had I been to Jim?
Did these questions exclude others around me? Certainly not, but what God showed me very shortly after He redeemed me was that those relationships were priority. Yes, He had brought me back to Himself, but it was here, as a wife and mother, that I was to serve Him!
Many years have passed since that blessed day of salvation. I have made mistakes as I have attempted to walk in this calling. But I can say without hesitation that being brought into a relationship with the Lord Himself is the greatest joy that I have ever known.
And as I live my daily life, when I walk by His grace and by His Spirit, in the calling of wife and mother, He gives great joy on the journey. The Word of God also teaches that joy lies ahead when we are forever in His Presence. Oh, that we could know all the joys that He has for us!
So, Until Next Time:
Joy in the Lord.
Spend time meditating on His great redemption.
Spend time worshipping Jesus, thanking Him for all that He has done.
Let us embrace the new heart that He has given us.
Let us put off the old ways of the flesh.
And put on the new ways of the Spirit.
Thank Him that He is renewing us in His image.
May we surrender our lives to be all that He created us to be, serving Him where He has called us to serve.
Every wise woman rejoices in redemption.
In closing, I will leave you with these words from a beautiful hymn by Fanny Crosby:
Redeemed – how I live to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
His child and forever I am.
And the Lord God called to Adam and said to him: “Where are you?”
And the Lord God said to the woman: “What is this you have done?”
Take time to reread Genesis 3. We will be making several observations from this chapter which help to explain how we lost the perfection of God’s original creation, how mankind lost their perfect fellowship with God, and why we have so much conflict and difficulty in relationships.
As soon as the woman and the man ate of the fruit which God had commanded them not to eat, immediately their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. It was the first time that they had any awareness of their flesh – an awareness of their self.
They desperately tried to cover themselves, and when they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden, they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. Knowing exactly where they were and what they had done, God began to question them. He addressed the man first. Adam admitted that he was afraid because he was naked. Then God specifically asked him if he had eaten from the tree that God had commanded him not to eat. His response was one of blaming: The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.
God then turned to the woman and questioned her. Her response, too, was one of blaming: The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
Interestingly, the Lord did not question the serpent at all, but pronounced immediate judgment on him!
Note the responses that sin brings to the human heart.
The sinner tries to cover his sin.
The sinner hides from the presence of God.
The sinner blames another to justify his actions.
Aren’t we guilty of the same?
It is very important for us to see and understand that God was not influenced by their reasons, excuses, or blaming of another. He held each of them responsible for their own actions. Each one received specific consequences for their disobedient actions.
The Woman: We can recall the purpose for which God had created the woman. She was created to be a help and companion to Adam. They were joined into marriage – a one flesh relationship. God had commanded them to be fruitful and multiply, and from the one flesh relationship, indeed, children were to be born. The woman’s body had been specifically designed by God to carry a child safely in the womb until the time of birth, and then to nourish and nurture that child, snuggled closely to her breast, as the child grew and developed.
Oh, the tragedy of her sin. Now the very purpose for which she was created would bring sorrow and pain into her life as she bore and raised children. And tragically, the perfection of the husband and wife relationship was broken. She would now desire to rule over her husband and overtake his position rather than being fulfilled by being alongside him as a help and companion. In return, the man would rule over her. The beginning of conflict in families was born.
The creative purpose of God for the woman had not changed, but now those very purposes would be filled with pain, sorrow, heartache, and conflict.
The Man: Equally as tragic was the consequence for the man’s sin. In the same way as the consequences to the woman, the very purpose for which man was created would now be difficult. He had been created to tend and keep the garden, but now thorns and thistles would spring forth. The work for which he had been created would now be done by the sweat of his brow. It would be a difficult task. And finally, death would come, and man would return to the dust from which he was taken.
The creative purpose of God for the man had not changed, but now those very purposes would be filled with difficulty, sweat, and toil. He would now find himself at odds with the woman who had been created as his help and companion, and he would be determined to rule over her.
And finally, the most tragic consequence of all – the man and woman were put out of the garden and lost the perfect fellowship with God for which they had been created.
All the consequences were true tragedies and the devastating results of sin.
It is critical for us to understand that we can, indeed, take our own actions, even if they are disobedient to the Word of God. But it is equally critical to understand that consequences are sure to come, and we do not get to choose what those consequences will be, nor how many others they will affect in the future!
In closing, we find that sin has entered the hearts and lives of the man and woman. It has separated them from God, and because God had ordained all things to reproduce after its kind, all mankind would now be born into this sinful state. What God had created perfectly was now completely broken. The man and woman truly lost the preciousness of living in the presence of God in perfect harmony with one another.
Did the Lord forsake them forever? Was there no hope? We will answer those questions in our next writing and will find how much God loves us and the means that He has given so that we may once again be restored to a life in fellowship with Him and fellowship with one another!
Guilty, guilty, guilty! I am guilty of all the sins above. Unknowingly, I was born into sin, just as every human being since the fall of Adam and Eve. The problem is that I was blind to it. I really couldn’t see it. It takes God to open ours eyes so that we see our fallen human nature. Fallen human nature is selfish. It is very aware of self, and it wants its way! It does not obey God, but goes about to fulfill its own desires, whatever they may be.
I tried to cover my sin. I hid from the presence of God, avoiding truth at every turn. And blame! Oh, I was a master at blaming someone else for my sin. I could always look around and find someone “worse” than me, and thereby make myself look good in my own eyes.
But God has a way of cutting right through our excuses and laying our hearts open before Him so that we see our self. And it is never a pretty picture! Oh, but the beauty of mercy, grace, and forgiveness! We do not readily comprehend the depth of our sin until he shows it to us. Neither do we realize the depth of His love for us until He opens our eyes to that great truth! We will talk about His redemption next time!
But here is what I would like to share with you. The two greatest struggles of my life were in being a mom and being a wife. Because I had the fallen human nature of a woman, I experienced difficulty in raising my son. And because of that same fallen nature, I struggled in my marriage. I loved my child with an incredible love, but as he grew he developed a “mind of his own”, and untold struggles arose.
And as for my relationship with my husband, I was blind to it, but I was always attempting to overtake. I always thought that my ways were best. I thought I knew better. I thought my ways were wiser! I didn’t realize that I was attempting to overtake him, but that was exactly what I was doing.
It took the Lord to open my eyes. It took the Lord to forgive me. And it took the Lord, step by step, to change me! He, and He alone, is able!
So Until the Next Time:
I will leave you with questions for thought:
Do you recognize the fallen nature of a woman in yourself?
Do you struggle in raising your children?
Do you find yourself in conflict with your husband because you think your way is better?
(Remember Eve really thought her actions were wise and would produce good results.)
Do you try to overtake your husband and rule over him?
I was guilty of all, and these are the natural reactions of the fallen woman.
It takes God Himself to redeem and restore us to all that He created us to be as a NEW CREATION!
In an honest evaluation, allow the Lord to show you your heart, and then allow Him to change it!
If you are His child, thank Him for all the love, mercy, and grace that He has already extended to you!
He Who calls you is faithful, Who also will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24