Tag Archive | headship

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

See To It!

… And let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

Discovering Truth:

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.


Personal Reflection:

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


Authority Speaks – Are You Listenting?

Let the Word dwell in you richly

Thus did Moses:  according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.

Exodus 40:16

 Who is the person to whom God has regard? … but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word (Isaiah 66:2).  The person to whom God has regard is the one who is humble in heart, who exalts the Lord, and who reverences His Word.  All through the Scriptures, wherever we see those considered to be mighty men or women of God, we see humble hearts, we see honoring of the Lord God, and we see such an esteem for His Word that humble obedience to that Word is demonstrated in their lives.  True humility produces obedience, and true humility reverences authority.

By design, authority speaks.  Speaking is the means whereby the one in authority communicates his desires, and thereby his instructions to bring about those desires.  This speaking may be in written form or in verbal form, but speaking is always found where authority is found.  You may see this practically demonstrated in any area where authority is present.  As employees begin a project at work, how will they know that which is expected of them?  At some point in time, the boss will speak, directing how he expects that work to be done.  Picture a classroom of students.  As they enter the classroom and take their seats, what would happen if the authority in that classroom did not speak?  It is through speaking that the teacher communicates to those students that which is expected of them.  We certainly know of the same truth as evidenced by parents and their children.  Authority is meant to speak.  And, of course, the highest and ultimate example of this truth is how the Lord God speaks.  He is the Creator of Heaven and earth, and as the Ultimate Authority, He speaks.  In actuality, He is the only One who has given authority to any other.

The question for us should then be:  If authority speaks, are we listening?  Do we even know how to listen?  For the Christian, we must fully realize that the Lord God is the Supreme Authority and He has spoken.  He has spoken through His Word.  How many times in the Old Testament do we find these words:  thus saith the Lord?  And the Word of God is clear:  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son … (Hebrews 1:1-2).  God has, unquestionably, spoken.  How, then, can we hear?

First, the condition of our heart is of extreme importance.  Did you notice in the Isaiah passage that it is a person that is poor and of a contrite heart to whom the Lord looks?  And secondly, it is a person that trembles at His Word – one who highly reverences His Word.  When, with a humble heart, one listens to the Word of God as the Word of God, intent on doing that which He speaks, then the heart is in the position to hear.

How does God speak?  You may say that He speaks through Creation.  Yes, He does, but the Creation will be a picture and reminder of Who He is and what He has said!  The Scripture is replete with examples from the Creation that teach spiritual truths.  Consider the fowls of the air … I am the vine, ye are the branches … Behold, a sower went forth to sow seeds … Go to the ant, you sluggard … The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the Word of the Lord endureth forever.  The list goes on and on.  Certainly God speaks through His Creation.

You may say that He speaks through music.  Yes, He does speak through songs that are a reminder of the truth of His Word.  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 (Colossians 3:16).

You may say that He speaks through others.  Yes, He does, but it will only be as they encourage, exhort, and speak the truth in love, a reminder of the Word of God (Ephesians 4:15).

You may say that He speaks through circumstances.  Although this is a phrase that we hear often, we must be very careful.  Did you know that the word circumstances is not found in the Scriptures?  And, very often, it is when we look at the circumstances that we go astray.  Because of circumstances, Abraham went to Egypt.  Because of circumstances, Sarah suggested Hagar as the solution for a child.  Because of circumstances, Peter denied the Lord.  Again, the list goes on.  We must always look to the truth of the Word of God, no matter the circumstances.  God speaks through His Word.

You may say that God speaks through His Spirit.  Yes, He does!  But never forget that He is called the Spirit of Truth.  He always speaks in full agreement with the Father and the Son.  He always speaks in agreement with the full counsel of the Word of God.  In actuality, He will bring into your remembrance the Word (John 14:26). Yes, authority speaks.  God speaks and has spoken.  In most cases, as we seek the will of God in a situation, we may find our answer by simply asking:  What has God already said?  The problem that we face is not that He has not spoken, but that, in most cases, we have not heeded that which He has already spoken.  Lord, help us with a humble heart to hear and to heed – to be as those who tremble at Your Word.

In a similar way, the Christian wife is to arrange herself under her own husband’s authority.  For the husband is the head of the wife – God has designed it and declared it to be so!  We, then, as wives, must learn to hear our husbands, and to heed that which they speak.  A wife may ignore him, reason against him, argue with him, or defy him.  But the truth is that there is a great need to respect him as the authority that God has lovingly given, and with a humble heart, listen carefully that the wife may do that which her own husband speaks.  And in many situations, we need to ask: What has he already said?

In our Christian lives, when we are hearers only and not doers of the Word of God, we deceive our own selves (James 1:22).  Likewise, as Christian wives, we deceive our own selves when we hear only, but do not do as our husbands speak.  Jesus said:  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27).  A godly wife will hear, and she will follow!  Authority speaks – are you listening?

Julianna’s Story: From Resentment to Respect

Sharing Your Story, one of the components of Wisdom and Kindness, provides a place for women to anonymously share their stories.  This category was developed with the ultimate intent of emphasizing God’s faithfulness, even in the difficulties and struggles of life. Each story is true. Each story is anonymously written.  Each story is written to proclaim the hope that is found in The Lord! May The Lord bless!

Julianna’s Story – From Resentment to Respect

How gracious our Lord is!  How wonderfully forgiving He is!  And how marvelously He grows us as He changes us into His image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).  How many of our ways are so far from His ways!  How many of our thoughts are earthly, fleshly, and worldly!  Yet, in His grace and mercy He conforms us to the image of His Son!  How does one explain this process?  There are not adequate words to describe what the Lord can do in the heart of His children through the truth of His Word.  However, I would like to make a feeble attempt to share a marvelous work that the Lord has done in my heart through the years.  May the Lord use these words to His glory.

Where does this story begin?  … And the wife see that she reverence her husband  (Ephesians 5:33).  A foundational truth for a marriage, as God intends, is found in this one phrase of Scripture – and the wife see that she reverence her husband.  One of a wife’s primary goals is to see that she respects her husband.  This truth I now know somewhat after many years of marriage, but as I look back through my life I see how amazingly the Lord Himself has brought me to this place.  I also sincerely regret how far short I fell from marriage as God intended and how many years that it seemed that I wasted in resentment toward my husband.

As the Lord began to do this work in my heart, He first brought me face to face with this truth:  God calls a woman to respect her husband.  I do not know why this surprises us so much.  God calls children to honor their parents and calls all Christians to respect governmental authorities that are over them.  Why does it seem like such a different command for the wife to respect her husband?  And if God indeed created the woman to be a help and companion for the husband, how necessary respect would be for her to walk in that calling.  In my life, the problem came because I resented so many things that my husband did, and I resented so many of his ways.  In all honesty, from the heart, I guess that I did not think that he was worthy of respect. However, as the Lord brought me to the truth of His Word, I found that we are to respect each and every individual because they are created in the image of God.  Why did God forbid taking another’s life and require the punishment of those who did so?  It was because they were made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6).  Why are we not to speak evil of others and curse men?  It is because they are made in the similitude of God (James 3:9).  So for me, the beginning place of this walk with the Lord was that I must respect my husband as much as I would respect any human being – simply because he was made by God and in the image of God.  In the depth of that truth, as God worked it into my heart, I began to treat my husband differently – much more kindly – as I would treat any other.

The second great step that God enabled me to take came as He began to reveal the importance of understanding headship.  It was God who had created the husband to be the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23).  The man had not elevated himself to this position.  God Himself had ordained the husband as the head as He created the man (1 Timothy 2:12-13).  Understanding this truth humbled my heart to areas of resistance that had been built up.  I could respect my husband for the position that God had given him, in spite of the fact that he did not do things as I thought they should be done.  Much as a child is required to honor a parent because God has so commanded – not because they are perfect parents – but because it is right, I was to respect my husband.  And much as we are required to honor and pray for those in authority over us – not because they are perfect leaders – but because it is right to honor their position, I was to honor and respect my husband for his God-­given position as my husband!  And an amazing thing happened as I began to walk in respect.  Much contention was removed from our home, and my husband began to relate differently to me! The change was not an overnight change, but in time, God did wonderful things in our marriage! How God blesses His truth!

As God continued to work in my heart through the years, another astounding thing happened.  God did remove some sinful ways from my husband’s life, but the more amazing thing that happened was that God totally changed my view of my husband.  Some of the day-to-day things that I resented the most, I actually began to admire.  Why was this so?  It happened as the Lord changed my heart, and I began to view my husband in a completely different way.  Things that I had always seen as negative things now became positive things in our relationship.  Qualities that I had always regarded as weaknesses, I now saw as strengths.  As unbelievable as this may sound, that is exactly what happened.

If I would have described my husband in the early years of our marriage, I would have described him as an unemotional and unsentimental, domineering workaholic.  The implications of all of those qualities are endless.  But now, after so many years of marriage and years of growing in the grace of the Lord, my description of my husband would be dramatically different.  The unemotional, unsentimental husband that I had has become my greatest stability, next to the Lord.  He is not swayed, tossed, and turned by emotion.  He does not respond emotionally to situations as I may be prone.  He is steadfast and strong, and I have come to rely upon him through many difficulties that have come our way.  Because emotion and sentiment do not rule his life, he has been the perfect husband for me time and time again.  What I had always wanted to change, I now rely upon, trust in, and am thankful for.  What I had always seen as a weakness in him is most assuredly a strength!

As for the domineering side of him, how I resisted him!  How often I thought:  Do you always have to be so bossy?  But again, after all of these years, how differently I view him.  How many women complain because their husbands will not lead!  I need never worry because my husband always steps easily into leadership.  The problem is never with his leading.  The problem is always with my following.  What I resisted and resented I now value.  It is easy to come to him with questions about decisions that I must make.  I trust his leadership – into which God has grown him.  Again, I must say that he has been the perfect husband for me.  What I had always wanted to change, I now rely upon, trust in, and am thankful for.  What I had always seen as a weakness in him is most assuredly a strength!

And finally, as for the workaholic to which I felt that I was married, what an entirely different perspective I have been given.  As we age together, I still see his drive toward work-related matters.  This tendency, however, does not stop his job.  He cares for duties around our home very effectively and efficiently.  Once again, I see that I never have to concern myself with repairs and upkeep responsibilities of our home, automobiles, etc.  The work ethic that he possesses is truly a blessing.  He consistently works to provide for our family, and consistently cares for the things with which God has blessed us.  This same work ethic blesses others whose paths we cross.  How many times I have seen him be a blessing to widows, children, the church, and more!  Again, what I had always wanted to change, I now rely upon, trust in, and am thankful for.  What I had always seen as a weakness is most assuredly a strength!

Yes, God did soften those qualities in my husband to make them strengths, but much more dramatically, He softened my heart as He gave me a new view of my husband.  I suppose that the most humbling thing that occurred was when I realized that the qualities that I had resisted and resented the most were the qualities that were contrary to my flesh!  Why did I resent his unemotional and unsentimental nature?  Because I was emotional and sentimental!  Why did I resent and resist his domineering way?  Because I wanted to remain independently selfish!  Why did I resent and resist his work ethic?  Because, by nature, I was plagued with procrastination and laziness!  Can you see how what I viewed as weaknesses in him actually conflicted with my own weaknesses?  Once again, I saw much more completely – the problem always arises in our own human heart!  And it was that heart that the Lord had to change!  And marvelously change it, He did!

I would like to say in closing that your husband will probably not match the description of mine.  God creates each individual uniquely.  However, your husband will possess qualities that you, in your flesh, will disrespect.  Ask the Lord to show you how He intends for that very weakness to be a strength.  Ask the Lord to reveal how your own weaknesses conflict with what you deem as weaknesses in your husband.  Ask the Lord to give you a heart to be obedient to His Word, no matter the circumstances of your life.  And ask the Lord to change your heart from a heart of resentment to a heart of respect.  You will forever be glad that you did!

The above anonymous testimony was first printed in Dawning Light © 2004.  I, again, extend my thanks to ladies willing to share their story to the glory of God.

Submission: And the Dinosaur Called Headship

I hope that this title does not offend you.  I thought for some time about what to name this post, and dinosaur continually came to mind.  For years, I taught kindergarten, and one of the characteristics that I love about young children is the way that they make up their own definitions to explain what is in their little minds.

So in kindergarten style, here is my own definition.  Dinosaur: something that lived long ago, but is now extinct.  That was my perception of headship.

When I began on my journey into submission, I came face to face with the concept of headship.  What was this headship thing all about? It honestly seemed like a foreign language to me.  I didn’t understand it, and I couldn’t decipher it at all.  But something inside of me pressed me to understand.  What was it that drove me to understand?

What I had found as I studied submission was that submission and headship were inseparably linked.  Why do I say that?  It is because in Ephesians 5:22-23 the Scripture says:  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife.  What the Scripture was saying is that we are to submit to our own husband because he is the head. If I was supposed to submit to my husband because he is my head, then I knew I had to understand this truth.

The first thing that I did was to look at marriages of those around me.  I watched all the marriages that I could – young and old. I couldn’t observe anything that looked like headship to me. Where else could I look, I wondered?

I knew there was a parallel drawn in the Scriptures between Christ and the church and the husband and the wife, so I decided to look at churches and see how they were subject to Christ as their head.  Then maybe I would understand a little better. Was it just me, or was I missing something?  It didn’t seem that many of the churches that I was familiar with exemplified headship and submission.

Then, I went to the place that I should have gone in the first place.  I bowed my heart in prayer and asked the Lord to help me understand His Word.  Lord, I can’t see this truth in our culture and society.  I can’t see this truth in the marriages surrounding me.  And I can’t even see this truth in the churches that I know. Help me, Lord.  It is Your Word.  The command that You give me is to submit, and the reason that You give is that my husband is my head.  Please help me understand, straight from Your Word.

I got my Bible and my concordance and began to study.  The questions before me were: What Scriptures shed light on the relationship between Christ and the church regarding headship? And how is that relationship an example for me? 

I read and studied for some while, but quite honestly, I was not prepared for the answer that I found.  There were two specific verses that impacted me in a way that words cannot describe.  My eyes were opened. I saw truths that I had never seen.  How I was humbled!  I had missed these truths for all of my married life. What I learned that day was:  And He is the head of the body, the church: the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18

For Christ and the church, headship meant that Christ was to have preeminence. Applying this truth to the husband as the head, I could see that the husband was to have preeminence.  Preeminence means: first place.

Yikes! I thought. First place?  That meant that David was to have first place. I had to stop and take a deep breath.  I didn’t think that David had really ever had first place.  In the early years of my marriage, I was pretty sure that my own self had been in first place.  After our son was born, I knew that he had been in first place.  Lord, this is going to take a lot of work.  I couldn’t get away from the connection.  To the church, the headship of Christ meant that He was to be preeminent.  In the marriage, headship meant that David was to have first place.  Now maybe you can understand why I called headship a dinosaur.  Surely, this truth no longer exists today.

But this Scripture was not the only one that jolted me.  Here came the second one: And you are complete in Him, which is the head … Colossians 2:10.   What was the relationship?  The church was complete in the Head.  And, therefore, in a marriage the wife is complete in her husband (her head).  Yikes, again!!  Surely, this cannot be so!  Today, a wife finds completion in anything and everything besides her husband.  I fully understand that a woman can only find spiritual completion in The Lord Himself, but in the physical life that a wife lives, it is in being a wife to her own husband where she will find fulfillment.  Without a doubt, this truth, too, is surely extinct. Yes, certainly, headship is a dinosaur!

One more truth staggered me.  In Biblical circles, I had heard that the husband is the head of the home, and I do not disagree.  The man is the father, and he is the husband, therefore, he is the head of the home.  But look very closely at the Scriptures: For the husband is the head of the wife!!!!  Wait! Wait! Wait!  I could see that our son needed his dad to be the head.  And I wanted David to lead, to take care of problems, to make sure that we had adequate income, etc., but the Scriptures clearly said that he is the head of the wife. Now, that is going a little too far!  But if we understand the church as the bride of Christ, then indeed, He is the head of the wife!  My thoughts were reeling!  Maybe this is the way that things were in days gone by, but we are liberated now, right?  The head of me?  Dinosaur again.  Never to return, I’m sure!

But then there came some type of freedom, to which I return often, because it truly “liberated” me.  It was here, in this passage on headship in Ephesians 5 and in the headship passage in 1 Corinthians 11, that I realized that both passages return to the creation account in Genesis BEFORE the fall. As the Apostle Paul expounds the truth of headship, he returns to God’s perfect creation!  Again, I say that God’s ways are so much higher than our ways that we can never understand nor attain to them, but by His marvelous grace.

May I fast forward a few years? I began with baby steps to walk in these truths that The Lord had taught me.  Arranging my life around David, attempting to put him in first place, serving alongside of him as a help and companion, I found a fulfillment such as I had never known!  It was truth.  It was truth, indeed!  Make no mistake, I fail and falter regularly.  I get distracted with many “good” things outside of my home, but I have never found a greater satisfaction than when I walk in the truths of headship and submission.  It is there where I find rest, peace, contentment, and fulfillment.

And guess what else I discovered?  Though they are few, there are some other Christian women who seek to put their husbands in first place, submit themselves to their own husbands, and willingly serve as a help meet for them.

I have decided that headship is not a dinosaur after all.  I will agree that it is probably on the Endangered Species list, but no, it is not extinct!  Truth is still alive!  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever!