Tag Archive | Ephesians 5:24

Submission – More Than Permission

Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ,

so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Ephesians 5:24

 

Discovering Truth:

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!

  1. All Christians are to submit to God (James 4:7).
  2. Servants are to submit to masters (Ephesian 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Peter 2:18).
  3. Younger people are to submit to elders (1 Peter 5:5).
  4. Citizens are to submit to government (Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14).
  5. Wives are to submit to their own husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1, Titus 2:5).
  6. 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!

 

Personal Reflection:

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.

 

Blessings await!

 

 

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.

Proverbs 14:1