Tag Archive | marriage

For Him

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.

Genesis 2:18

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!

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

 

One Flesh – A Great Mystery

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother

and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32

 

Discovering Truth:

We have been looking at God’s creation of the man and the woman, His design and His intent, as He created them and joined them into one flesh.  We will continue to discuss this amazing truth today.  It may seem that we are jumping ahead to the New Testament and leaving the Creation account found in Genesis, but that is not the case at all.

Before we begin, please take the time to prayerfully read Ephesians 5:15-33.

The Apostle Paul writes a beautiful exposition on walking in wisdom and being filled with the Spirit, and then applies these truths to the Christian husband and wife.  As he concludes his spiritual instruction for the husband and wife, he quotes our passage from Genesis about the husband and wife becoming one flesh.  Then he declares that this is a great mystery, but he is speaking concerning Christ and the church.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul frequently used the word mystery as he refers to the church.  (You can use a concordance to search out those scriptures if you like.)  A mystery was a secret, hidden truth, which remained hidden until God revealed that truth.  The Old Testament saints did not understand the church as God revealed it in the New Testament. We discover so many truths in a much deeper way as Jesus revealed them, and as the Apostles also expounded them. Truths that were hidden were a mystery, but at God’s appointed time, they were revealed by Him.  This is the type mystery to which the Apostle Paul is referring.

Specifically, He is referring to the one flesh relationship, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” – one flesh.  We know that this quote comes from Adam’s declaration about the woman as the Lord gave her to him, and we know that they were joined as one flesh.

But in the passage that we are considering, the Apostle Paul is explaining the proper relationship between the husband and the wife.  He uses, as his example and explanation, the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church (His bride).  And in this explanation, he refers to one flesh, bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh, members of his body.  Truly, it is a great mystery!  What exactly is the Apostle Paul saying? Is he referring to Adam and Eve? Is he referring to a husband a wife? Or is he referring to Christ and the church? Let’s take a look at all three!

 Adam and Eve:  In a very literal sense, Eve was flesh of Adam’s flesh, and bone of his bones.  God had literally formed her from his flesh and bone.  Therefore, she was named Woman. Remember? There they were joined as one flesh. This passage is true of them – literally.

Husband and Wife: In Ephesians 5, we find the Apostle Paul using these truths, now applied to the husband and wife. Now, in this case, centuries after Adam and Eve, the wife was not literally taken out of the husband’s side and formed from his rib.  But as we saw when Jesus addressed the truth of marriage in Matthew 19, using the same Genesis passage, He declares that God has joined the husband and wife into one flesh, and that they are no longer two, but one flesh. It was not literal flesh and bone, as with Adam and Eve, but nevertheless, as God views a husband and wife, He very much views them as one flesh because He joined them as such, bone of the husband’s bones and flesh of his flesh.  I know huge questions arise as we try to understand.  Our problem is that we must by faith accept what the Word of God declares to be true. (Think of examples like: we died in Christ, and are raised in Him, that God placed our sin on Jesus. Think of truths like: we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ.  There are so many examples that we accept by faith.) These are deep spiritual truths.  But how can I know that the Lord really wants a husband and wife to be one flesh, viewing themselves truly as bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh? Listen to the commands that Word of God is giving to the husband in our Ephesians passage:

So, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies

He who loves his wife loves himself

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it

Can you see how the husband is to view his wife as his own body, “flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones,” and love and care for her as such? And the wife, too, must learn to view herself as a part of her husband. For the Word of God says he is the head.  She is a part of him.  They are one flesh!

So, it is now a symbolic truth, first literally seen in the creation of Adam and Eve, but now one which shows a husband and wife how to live to the glory of God, and one which produces very real results in any marriage where the husband and/or wife is willing to believe and trust the Lord so as to walk in truth! And one further note, when we humble ourselves and walk in this truth, we reflect Christ and the church, others will see the reflection (especially our children), and we bring much glory to the Lord.

Christ and the Church:  The relationship between Christ and the church is given as the example to the wife for the rightful headship and a proper response to her husband as head.  The husband looks to the example of Christ to understand the wife as a member of his body and how to properly love and care for her.  Wow!  Amazing, high and holy truth.  So, does one flesh, ”bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”  also apply to Christ and the church?  Absolutely, yes.  For He is now the Head of the church, and we are members of His body!  And one day, He will return to this Earth to get His bride, and the fulness of this mystery will be complete. Deep spiritual truth that our mind struggles to comprehend, but absolute truth of the Word of God. It is a spiritual truth. A great mystery indeed.

So, in conclusion, let us return to our Genesis passage of God’s creation of the man and the woman, the creation of Adam first, the creation of woman from flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, and the joining of the two into one flesh.  In His unsearchable wisdom, God was creating humankind and woven into that creation was a great mystery, not only a pattern for all marriages to follow, but a glorious picture of the beauty of Christ and the church, which was yet to come. We should all stand in amazement!

 

Personal Reflection:

What shall I say to you as I reflect on my life regarding the truth of one flesh? I can only say as the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:12:

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

I shared with you that when David and I were married we remained as two individuals.  God had joined us as one, and He viewed us as one, but we had no idea what we had really been called to.  I made every mistake imaginable (and so did David), but the Lord taught me to take my eyes off David and all his faults, failures, and sins, and concentrate of being the wife that God had called me to be.  And that was a tough job!

However, in the final analysis, what I learned is that God blesses His Word.  When I stopped arguing with God, defending myself and my “rights”, going my own way (whether blatantly or manipulatively), and then bowed before the Lord in humility and honesty, God was faithful to forgive all my mistakes, refresh my heart and mind, and give me the grace to press on.  I found that a very close walk with the Lord was the only answer.  In and of myself, I would always go astray and go my own way, thinking that my way would produce a better result.  How foolish of me!

Over and over the Lord would bring me back to the truth of one flesh. Over and over the Lord would bring me back to the truth that He had given David to me as my head. Over and over He would remind me of the picture of Christ and the church. I remember when the question occurred to me: What would it look like if the church declared that she would be “her own woman” and that she didn’t need a Head?

Oh my, what I must have looked like to my Lord! I was independent. I acted apart from my husband. I sometimes opposed him, but I also cleverly tried to manipulate him to get my way.

I cannot emphasize enough that the Spirit and the flesh are contrary to one another.  My flesh will ALWAYS pull me away from truth.  We are only able to walk where God calls us to walk by His grace and by His Spirit.  When we stumble (and we will), we go back to the Lord. He will lift us up!

My journey has not been an easy walk, but it is one that I would not trade. The more I walk in one flesh with my husband, viewing myself as a part of David, and viewing him as my head, the more the Lord blesses our marriage.  Neither of us are the same as we were 40 years ago as we entered this marriage, and neither of us would go back to our old ways.  Why? Because there is a joy now that we did not know when we were independent of one another and insisting on our own ways!

All I can say is that we are a walking, breathing testimony that God blesses His Word. So, I beg you, don’t be afraid to walk in truth.   I know it is not easy. I know all the arguments, fears, and doubts, but I also know the joy that the Lord will bring. None of us are yet perfected, but may we continue to press on, that we may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of us … all for His glory!

 

So, Until Next Time:

In truth an honesty before the Lord, examine your life.

If you are married, how do you view you and your husband?

Do you live as one flesh?

You will have to give your husband fully to the Lord in prayer, no longer pointing out his faults and failures as excuses for your actions.

Seek the Lord.  Ask Him to renew your mind according to truth.

Ask Him to show you the things that you need to change.

Be willing to take one step at a time, obedient to what the Lord shows you.

Trust the Lord as you walk by faith in His Word.

Every wise woman – will seek to honor the Lord in her marriage.

 

As I worked on this writing the first verse and chorus of a well-known hymn by Louisa Stead came to my mind.  With much love, I leave you with those words:

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His word;

Just to rest upon His promise;

Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him,

How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,

Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more.

 

 

 

The Beauty of One Flesh

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;

She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,

and they shall become one flesh.

And they were both naked the man and his wife,

and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:23-25

 

Discovering Truth:

Today we will return to God’s creation of the man and the woman. You will recall that the man was created by the hand of God from the dust of the ground. You will also recall that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and then God took a rib and formed the woman from the rib and brought her to the man.  We now see Adam’s delight as he exclaims that the woman is bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.  He then names her, giving her an identification: She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.

It is again important to note that God never intended the man and the woman to function as two separate individuals.  From their very creation to the naming of the woman, we can see they were intended to be one.  But let us continue in the Scriptures to further understand this truth.  Clear instruction is now given that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Again, we see there was no intent in the creation of the man and the woman for them to function as two distinct individuals.  There were to be joined into one flesh.

There are two simultaneous steps taken as two people get married.  First, they must leave. The word leave means: to loosen, to relinquish, to depart from, to forsake. They must leave their individual families as their primary relationships.  Secondly, they must cleave – be joined one to another.  The word joined actually means: to stick to, to cling to, to adhere to, to stay close to.

And as Adam and his wife were joined into one flesh, we find that they were naked and were not ashamed.  There we find the beautiful culmination of God’s creation of the man and the woman.  Together they were one flesh, not ashamed, and in perfect harmony! What a beautiful picture! And remember, as God looked at His creation, He declared it to be very good.  His perfect design was complete! All designed according to His great wisdom!

But there is so much truth to be found in this passage that I wonder if we could ever reach the depths and heights of it all. In Matthew 19 and Mark 10, we find the Pharisees coming to Jesus to ask a controversial question, hoping to divide the followers of Jesus.  They ask Him about divorce.  Rather than answer their question directly, He brings them back to the truth found in the Creation.  He answers them by saying: Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female? And He said: For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  So then, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.

From Jesus’ words we can see several important truths.  First, the truths found in Genesis 2 regarding the man and the woman apply to every married couple.  Jesus makes that application here as He goes back and quotes God’s intentions from the Creation. He establishes that each of those truths are still true today.  Next, notice what He says: What God has joinedWhat God has joined! When a man and woman are joined in marriage, it is God that joins. That is why He can declare with authority: What God has joined, let not man separate! God intends a marriage to be permanent, for He is the One who has joined a husband and wife, and not we ourselves!

We will look at the one flesh union again in our next writing, but for now, let us continue to think upon the truths set before us – God designed a husband and wife to leave their individual families and be joined by Him into one flesh. No longer two, but one!

 

Personal Reflection:

As of this writing, my husband and I have been married almost 40 years. We had a church wedding, and these verses were read at our wedding, as they may have been at yours.  But I had absolutely no idea of the truth of these verses.  David and I entered our marriage as two individuals, and quite honestly, we continued in our marriage as two individuals.  Certainly, there was the physical, intimate oneness, and even a friendship, but our lives were still very independent of one another.  He had his ways; I had mine. He had his job; I had mine.  He had his schedule; I had mine.  I suppose you can understand why I said we were still two individuals. It actually never entered my mind that God intended us to function as one.  And I wouldn’t have even known where to begin. I’m sure my beginning would have been to get him to come over to my ways. But God had much higher, bigger, and better plans than I could ever have had.

He began to teach me about one flesh, bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh, and spiritual truth I had never known in my life.  The journey continues … 40 years of marriage … still learning to be one flesh with my husband … all to the glory of God!

There are no quick fixes, nor easy answers, but we will talk more about that next time!

 

So, Until Next Time:

Spend time thinking on these truths from the Word of God:

          Bone of my bones

          Flesh of my flesh

          The name Woman

          The importance of leaving father and mother

          The importance of cleaving to your spouse

          The necessity of becoming one flesh

          Naked and not ashamed

          What God has joined together

Lots of truth to meditate on and pray through!

Every wise woman – seeks God’s wisdom for her life!

 

So then, they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Matthew 19:6

 

A special note written with much love:  If you are struggling in your marriage or find yourself as a divorcee, please don’t leave truth.  We are just beginning this journey, and God has wonderful answers in His Word that only He can open up to you.  Don’t give up!  Keep seeking Him! He has a perfect plan for your life, and He is faithful to His children! 

 

 

 

Every Wise Woman – Introduction

The wise woman builds her house,

But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Proverbs 14:1

 

The year was 2017. The diagnosis was bilateral invasive breast cancer.  The events of the year were certainly unexpected and unpredictable, but the Lord, in His faithfulness, love, grace, and mercy, carried us through by His amazing strength.  As of today, following much prayer, many doctors’ appointments, and two surgeries, as far and we know medically, my body is cancer free.  But 2017 also brought some other things into my life.

We all know that the Scriptures teach that our life is but a vapor and will fade away.  We know that it is appointed to each of us a time to die, and we know that our days are numbered. But 2017 brought a time of examination into my life. With a clear view that my life could have ended here on earth, I had to ask the Lord what He would have me do with the future days that He has graciously placed before me. The Lord has so blessed my life through His Word over the last 33 years. He saved me, totally changed our marriage, helped me raise our son, taught me so many truths, and essentially gave me a new life. I cannot keep these blessings to myself.  I must share them and allow the Lord to bring them into the hands of those who need encouragement in truth. I also leave these writings, with great love, to the next generation.

So … for 2018, I have been led to write devotional posts entitled Every Wise Woman.  Simple devotional thoughts will be written to encourage women in their walk with the Lord, in their marriages, and in their homes with their families. We will build truth upon truth through these simple devotions. The posts are not already written.  I will write as the Lord leads. I do appreciate your prayers.

I invite you to join the journey and to invite others to join us, as well. You will be able to  find these posts on our blog at http://www.wisdomandkindness.com and can follow the blog there to have the posts sent to your email address, or you can have them show in your Facebook feed by liking our Facebook page entitled Wisdom and Kindness.

Looking forward to the journey. Praying that you will join us.  May the Lord bless!

 

The Mystery of Marriage

Great Mystery

… And they two shall be one flesh. Ephesians 5:31

God has painted a most beautiful picture of  life, as it is intended with Him, in the union of marriage.  God Himself chose marriage as the means of portraying this spiritual truth.  Marriage was neither designed nor instituted by mankind.  Neither can it be changed by mankind.

What was the great spiritual truth that God was portraying as He formed the man from the dust of the ground and then formed the woman from the man’s own rib?  What was the significance of God bringing the woman to the man and the two becoming one flesh?  And, very importantly, how can a Christian marriage aptly reflect these great truths?

One important observation that should be made by the one that believes and loves God’s Word is that this picture of marriage is found both at Creation in Genesis (Genesis 2:18-25) and in the closing chapters and verses of Revelation (Revelation 21:2,9; 22:17).  In the very beginning of the Bible, we find God creating a man and his bride.  At the very end of the Bible, we find the God-man, Christ Jesus, coming for His bride.  Perhaps we would not have the spiritual eyes to link the two truths, but the Apostle Paul sheds great light upon these truths in Ephesians 5.  As the Apostle was exhorting and instructing the believers at Ephesus in very practical ways that husbands and wives should treat one another, he uses Jesus Christ and the church as the example.  In his explanation of the proper relationship between a husband and wife, he says:  This is a great mystery:  but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32).  A mystery was that which could only be made known by divine revelation.  It was a truth that was hidden or covered until God Himself revealed it – at His appointed time.  The word mystery can be understood in the context of Colossians 1:26: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.  In the same way, the Apostle Paul says that this mystery of marriage concerns Christ and the church.  As Christians, therefore, we should humble ourselves before the Lord asking that He help us understand this mystery which He has revealed in His Word.

God has chosen to demonstrate, in a visible way, the spiritual truth of Christ and the church.  And that visible demonstration is to be seen in marriage – in the relationship between a husband and wife.  For the Christian, this truth has tremendous implication as to how we are to respond to our own husband or to our own wife.  How often do we consider that our day-to-day functioning as husband and wife can bring much glory to the Lord, or actually cause His name to be blasphemed (Titus 2:5)? Let us consider a few parallels between God’s institution of marriage and Christ and the church.

–  Adam was formed first, then Eve (Genesis 2:7).  Christ was existent long before the church became His bride (Colossians 1:16-17).

–  God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, so that his bride could be taken from his side (Genesis 2:21).  It was through the death of Christ that the church was brought forth.  He was pierced in His side (John 19:34).

–  Adam called Eve bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23).  Regarding Christ, the church is called members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Ephesians 5:30).

–  Just as God joined Adam and his wife into one flesh (Matthew 19:4-6), Christ and the church are joined into one flesh, as the believer becomes a member of His body (Ephesians 5:30).

–  Interestingly, the Scripture teaches that Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14).  Similarly, Christ was not deceived, as He came and paid the sin debt for his bride (John 18:11).

–  Traditionally, a bride was bought with a dowry.  Christ bought and paid for His bride. For ye are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).

–  God brought the woman and gave her to Adam (Genesis 2:22).  A bride was traditionally given in marriage by her Father.  It is the Father that gives the church to Christ (John 18:9).

–  A bride traditionally gave up her identity and took the name and identity of her husband.  The Scripture teaches:  Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created (Genesis 5:2).  Likewise, the Christian should leave the old life behind and take upon the identity and name of her new Husband.  Listen to this beautiful analogy in the Psalms:  Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him (Psalm 45:10-11).

–  In marriage, God joins the two together (Mark 10:8-9).  In salvation, the believer is joined to the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).

–  As the marriage is consummated, the wife gives herself to the husband, and the husband comes in unto her.  In salvation, the believer gives herself to the Lord, and He, through the Holy Spirit, comes in unto her (Romans 8:9) .

–  The intimacy between a husband and wife should continue throughout their lives.  The intimate relationship between a believer and the Lord will continue throughout eternity (Revelation 21:2,3).

–  The husband and wife are to forsake all others and be faithful unto death (Romans 7:2).  The Lord has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  The church is to forsake all else and be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10).

–  The husband is to be the head, and the wife is to be a member of his body (Ephesians 5:23, 31).  Christ is the Head of the church, and the church, collectively, are members of His body (Ephesians 5:30).

–  The husband is to love the wife (Ephesians 5:25).  The wife is to respect her husband and arrange herself under his authority (Ephesians 5:24,33).  Christ loves the church with a perfect love, and the church is to respect and reverence Him and to arrange herself under His authority (Ephesians 5:24-25) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Ephesians 5:31-33

We have lost much of the beauty of marriage.  It is a relationship as no other.  It is the relationship that God Himself has chosen to reveal the mystery of Christ and the church.  As those around us view our marriage, they should see a picture of Christ and His church – because God has chosen that relationship to reveal His truth.  May the Lord renew our minds and hearts that we may see our marriage as He sees it.  Then, may we guard carefully the beauty and the mystery of marriage.

For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things:

to whom be glory forever.

Amen
Romans 11:36

The Unwise Woman

The Unwise Woman

Perhaps one of the biggest and most frequent mistakes that wives make in their marriages is looking at their husbands to judge their spirituality.  It has proven to be the place of stumbling for many.  Although this place of stumbling is not confined to the husband-wife relationship, as it may be observed among many Christian relationships, it occurs so frequently in marriages that, as wives, we must ever guard against this critical error.

To understand how to guard against this error, we must first understand its cause.  It is very common in Christian circles to find marriages where one spouse is a Christian and the other an unbeliever.  Sometimes it is the wife who has been saved and finds herself now married to an unsaved or unspiritual man.  However, sometimes the reverse is true.  It is the husband who is saved, and he now finds himself married to a wife who is uninterested in spiritual things.  It is rare to find both a husband and wife loving the Lord and seeking His will and ways for their lives.  For those of you who are in a marriage with a spiritual spouse, it is truly a blessing from the Lord which you should cherish and for which you should be deeply thankful.

But what of the Christian wife that feels that her husband is a weight that she seems to drag behind?  Perhaps he is an unbeliever.  Perhaps he is a believer, but is not a spiritually mature man.  This is where the problem arises.  The Christian wife often reads much about the Christian life and the Christian family.  She listens to sermons and tapes.  She attends Bible studies.  She has heartfelt desires to bring up her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  And as good as those Christian resources may be, the wife often builds within her mind an expectation of what her husband should be.  Then, in reality, when she looks at him, she sees that he falls short of this “model man” that she has built within her mind.

Additionally, she may look around at other Christian men that she knows.  Forgetting that she only knows them from a distance and rarely sees their shortcomings, she compares her husband to those men, and again, the husband comes up way short.  How unwise is this trap into which she falls!  The Apostle Paul spoke of those in Corinth who put together information in a wrong manner and looked upon the outward appearance as those who were not wise:  but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12).

The danger that arises when we measure others by ourselves or by others, or when we compare others to ourselves or to others, is that we can never arrive at God’s view.  Most often we will lift our hearts up in pride and criticize the other, or we will see good things in the other and become discouraged with ourselves.  With God there is no partiality.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  All need His grace and mercy.  How important it is that we learn the importance of these truths:  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?  To his own master he standeth or falleth.  Yea, he shall be holden up:  for God is able to make him stand (Romans 14:4).  And:  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God (Romans 15:7).  The Lord does call the spiritual person to seek to restore one overtaken in a fault, but even with that instruction, it is given to the spiritual-minded person.  And even then, it is accompanied by an admonition that it be done in meekness and only after considering oneself.  For if one thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he only deceives himself (Galatians 6:3).

How does this all apply to the Christian wife?  She is never to hold up her own expectations for her husband.  She is never to strive to have him minister in the church according to her desires and her plans.  He is the man that the Lord created, both physically and spiritually.  Is he is unsaved?  Salvation is a work of the Lord.  She can never accomplish that work in him.  She must wait for the Lord’s timing.  If her husband is a Christian, she must still allow the Lord to lead her husband.  Often the wife’s voice speaks so loudly and so frequently that because of the noise that she creates, her husband does not hear the Lord’s voice.  How we need to be reminded that the husband has a Head.  His Head is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3), and what a perfect Head He is!

Whatever the plan is for a husband, only God knows, and only God can accomplish that plan!  What, then, is a wife to do if her husband is unsaved or unspiritual?  The Word of God answers that question so completely.  The wife is to subject herself to her husband, allowing the Lord in her life to shine through.  It will not be what she speaks, but it will be the life that she lives that will show forth the Lord.  With a meek and quiet spirit that remains calm and sure as she trusts in God, God will often do a mighty work in others (1 Peter 3:1-6).

The best encouragement for any wife in this position is to lay down her own expectations for her husband.  She must lay down her own plans and desires.  She must lay down her own will and ways and focus upon being the wife that God desires her to be, and remember that if someone were to line up her life with a “model woman,” she, too, would fall short.  She cannot allow her focus to dwell upon her husband’s shortcomings.  She must look for the areas in his life where she can offer up thanksgiving to the Lord.  When the complaint arises as to how lacking her husband is in submission to the Lord, always she must  ask herself the question of how submissive she is to her husband.  Most often when we are finding fault with them we have forgotten our own sin, weaknesses, and faults.  We have lifted our own hearts up in pride – and what a great sin that is!

Who is an unwise woman?  She measures her husband by others and compares her husband with others.  This critical error will never give her God’s view.  And it will always cause her to lose respect for her husband!

May the Lord Himself give us a heart to see as He sees and then to love as He loves!

Julia’s Story: Enter the Elk!

I love to hear ladies tell their stories as they study Biblical marriage and begin to desire to respect their husbands, and love and submit to them. Each story is as varied as the husband and wife in the marriage.  But one thing is sure. Things will begin to change!

I recall the young wife who came into a marriage class so excited, as she reported that for years her husband had been asking her to wear her hair down rather than in a pony tail.  It was fun just to see her excitement as she had arranged her life under her husband, and the conflict went away.

Certainly, submission is not usually so easy as changing a pony tail, but many times it is in the small things where the changes first begin.  Those changes are actually occurring in the heart.  In instances where there has been resistance for many years,  a wife will delight as she submits to her Lord by submitting to her husband, no matter how small the issue may seem.

My favorite example of the simplicity of submission came from the young wife whose husband had asked her for years to put the ironing board on her side of the bed rather than on his, but she had persisted in her own way.  Again, the simple joy of simple submission as she gave in!

But ironing board, move over! I now have another favorite story.  This is a simple story of a wife desiring to honor her husband as she arranged her life around his. Here, in her own words, is her story.

Julia’s Story: Enter the Elk!

Enter the Elk

For years I never would allow mounted animals in my house. I grew up with all kinds of creatures staring at me on the walls: squirrels, deer, and raccoons. If it could be mounted it would go on the walls. I do not know why, but I never wanted that to follow me in my adult life. It was normal, and almost expected, as a child to enter homes in my family and see this sort of trophy on walls, but as an adult I was not “HAVING IT”.

My husband, through the years, began to hunt more and more.  He killed a deer and had it mounted. I would not hear of that animal hanging in my living room, so he hung it in his closet. That was fine with me. He got to enjoy it, and I did not have to be bothered with it – seemed like a good deal to me.  Along the way, he acquired another deer; he hung it in the garage. As years passed, trips got bigger and further away from home. Instead of local hunting camps, now he went to Colorado. It was his 2nd trip to Colorado, and I was really dreading it. He is gone for at least 10 days and with 2 small children at home, it gets rough for me and them. We were sitting at the table the last night before he was to leave, talking about how great it would be if he killed something huge.

My 6 year son said, “Daddy, when I kill my 1st deer, I am going to hang it in my closet, too!”  UGH, the agony of hearing him say that made me see how wrong I “MAY” have been. My husband teased and said, “Do you see what you have done to our ‘manliness’?”  I felt worse.  My husband told our son that he was sure if he killed a deer, I would let him hang it over his bed.  I told my husband if he killed a ‘huge’ animal, I would let him hang it in our house. I felt safe because he had gone before and not killed anything…. Right???  Well, little did I know what I was saying.

The trip came and went, and, yes, he did kill the 2nd to largest ELK in the hunting camp area/region. It took a year for the ELK to get mounted and be sent home. The closer it got to that animal coming home, the more I thought I do not know where it is going, but it will not fit in my house.  The whole year I said that thing is too large for this house. Let me give you some dimensions. I have 10 foot ceilings. For the mounted animal to fit under my ceilings it has to be mounted 5 foot above the floor, which to me is not appropriate level. It sticks out from the wall 52 inches, so to hang it takes special care. I would not want anyone to round a corner and poke their eye with a horn..

On the night prior to the Elk arrival, my whole house was excited to think the Elk was on the way home. Yes, I was too. My husband had said he would probably take the elk to his boss’s camp in Arkansas… it would fit in perfect there. The camp has cathedral ceilings and rustic décor. I did not want to see him do that but I was not satisfied with hanging it in my house either. Before bed I was reading a Blog on husbands and wives and putting the needs of others before your own.  I went to bed praying for my marriage and to have a heart more along the lines of what God would want me to have. When I awoke the next morning, I had a joy and assurance that my husband must bring the ELK home, and I wanted it to stay at home. I wanted it in our foyer and even assured my husband that could be his trophy room. He was so excited and almost giddy. It’s funny how the power of prayer can change a heart. I know it was the power of God because I could not change myself. I now look at that beast of an animal and call it “pretty”.

What I had resisted for years, I now welcomed into my home. Surely, it wasn’t for me.  But because I wanted to honor my husband in our home, my heart had changed.  ENTER THE ELK!

What Do You Mean Submit?

Image created with Pho.to lab app

Image created with Pho.to lab app

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, 

so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Ephesians 5:24

 Have you ever been in a gathering of women when the topic of submission came up?  In some women you can almost see the bristles on their neck stand up.  Some may flounder around with their comments, but end up concluding, “Surely, God didn’t mean that!”  And, of course, you will always hear the age-old “doormat” example brought up as an argument.  Sadly, most women respond from their own feelings or from comments of others that they have heard in the past.  The responses may vary, but it is certain that few women even understand the Biblical instruction for submission to their own husbands.  Fewer still understand the beautiful picture of Christ and the church, a picture that brings much glory to the Lord.  As we take up the subject of submission in this meditation, it is our prayer that it will be a truth that you will reflect upon for a lifetime.

Before we can even begin a discussion on submission, it is important that we understand the meaning of the word.  Sometimes translated as submit yourselves, sometimes translated as subject yourselves, and sometimes translated as obedience, the Biblical word for submission is hupotasso in the Greek.  The literal translation means:  to arrange oneself under; to place oneself under in an orderly fashion.

Now, before we speak directly to wives, let’s address this question:  Are wives the only ones instructed to be submissive (hupotasso) in the Bible?  If there are others that are instructed to be submissive, who are they, and further still, to whom are they instructed to be submissive?  One further question will also need to be contemplated:  Why are they instructed to be submissive?  As we go to the Scriptures for these answers, may we lay aside preconceived thoughts and ideas, and just search for the truth as the Scriptures state it.

In James 4:6, the Scripture says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  The following verse reads:  Submit yourselves (hupotasso) therefore to God.  The first truth that we must see is that we are all to submit ourselves to God.  Do you know that you will never find submission in a proud heart?  It is only the humble that will find the grace needed to submit.  And do not miss this important truth – submission is not just for women.  It is for all believers – men, women, young, and old.  It is the mark of a Christian.  We are all to arrange ourselves – to order ourselves – under God.  Why is this so?  It is so because He is God.  He is worthy.  He is the ultimate authority over all.  However, you will never find unbelievers arranged under the authority of God.  They do not acknowledge Him as God, neither do they acknowledge His rightful authority.  But in the humble Christian, look closely.  There you can view the beauty of gracious submission in action.  There you will see a reverence for her God and a loving submission to Him.

Now, let’s look at another group of people to whom the Scriptures instruct submission.  Servants, workers, or perhaps we could even say, employees, were instructed to submit to their masters (bosses).  Exhort servants to be obedient (hupotasso) unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things (Titus 2:9-10).  Why were these servants to be submissive to their masters?  Again, it is because their masters were the rightful authority over them.  And by being submissive to them, they reflected the Lord in their lives.  The same remains so today.  An employee that serves well, without complaint, brings much glory to the Lord.  Also, did you know that this is the consistent command given to servants?  The Bible never contradicts itself.  You will find a truth over and over again, written to different groups of believers, but always the same.  To the Colossians Paul wrote: Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God (Colossians 3:22).  To the Ephesians, Paul wrote:  Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart (Ephesians 6:5-6).  The message was always the same.  They were to be submissive to the authority over them, as servants of Christ.  Even in difficult circumstances the Christian is instructed to submission.  Hear the admonition given by Peter:  Servants, be subject (hupotasso) to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward (1 Peter 2:18).  Now once again, do not lose sight of the truth that submission is not only directed to women.  It is for all of those, men and women, who are under someone else’s authority.  Why is this so?  Once again, it brings honor to the Lord, when someone works humbly and submissively under ordained authority, performed as unto the Lord, as servants of Christ.

In a similar way, the Scriptures address the proper response of children to their parents.  Children, obey your parents in the Lord:  for this is right (Ephesians 6:1).  And:  Children, obey your parents in all things:  for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord (Colossians 3:20).  Although the word used is not exactly the same, the same thought prevails.  Parents are the ordained authority, therefore, it is proper for children to be obedient to them.

Now let’s turn our attention to another authority to whom we are required to submit.  Let every soul be subject (hupotasso) unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God:  the powers that be are ordained of God (Romans 13:1).  And:  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake:  whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well (1 Peter 2:13-­14).  Here we see a fuller picture – all authority is ordained of God.  When we arrange ourselves under authority, we are being submissive to God.  On the other hand, when we rebel against God’s ordained authority, we rebel against God.

Although we have addressed relatively few passages, we can see that the subject of submission runs all through the Scriptures.  There is no doubt, that God’s people, both men and women, are commanded to be subject to any and all authorities that are over them.  And if we really stop and think about it, there would be such confusion without submission.  Imagine a world in which no one subjected themselves to God.  That is the picture that is portrayed before the Flood (Genesis 6:5-6).  What a tragedy!  Imagine a job or place of employment where workers refused to be submissive to the bosses.  Not only would there be strife and confusion, but it is doubtful that any work would be accomplished.  Now imagine a home in which the children refuse to be obedient to the parents.  Can you imagine the heartache that those children will bring upon themselves?  And what about a nation where each person does what is right in his own eyes, refusing to be subject to laws and governing authorities?  What anarchy!  We must conclude that submission not only brings glory to our Lord and Savior, but is a necessary ingredient for order! All of this talk of submission, and we have not as yet addressed wives.  It is important for a woman to understand that submission is to be evident in the life of every Christian, whether male or female.  Every Christian that has ever lived will give an account as to how he responded to the authorities over him.  The Word of God is clear –  the Christian is to humbly submit to authority, as unto the Lord.

Now, let us address wives specifically.  First, we must really be sure of what the Word of God commands.  Wives, submit yourselves (hupotasso) unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).  Therefore as the church is subject (hupotasso) unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing (Ephesians 5:24).  Wives, submit yourselves (hupotasso) unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord (Colossians 3:18).  The older women are instructed to teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient (hupotasso) to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:4-5).  And finally:

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection (hupotasso) to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives (1 Peter 3:1).  Over and over again, the command is given – a wife is to arrange herself and order herself under one person – her own husband.  Any woman that comes to the Scriptures apart from preconceived ideas must honestly agree that the Scripture does require submission of a woman to her own husband.

Why is the submission of a wife to her husband resisted so strongly?  Often, even the person who would agree that we are to be subject to God, that we are to be subject to governmental authorities, that we are to be subject to employers, that children are to be subject to parents, will flatly deny that wives are to be subject to their husbands.  Why is this so? When we return to the Fall of mankind (Genesis 3), a part of the consequences that was decreed toward the woman was:  thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Genesis 3:16).  The woman would desire to overtake the man, and he would, in turn, rule over her.  So in the fallen nature of the woman there is always that desire present to overtake the man.  For the unbelieving woman, this remains in her heart, and in a society that cultivates and propagates this thought, that fallen heart only grows in its ways.  But what of the Christian woman?  God says that He has made her a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Why does she not submit herself to her own husband? First, most Christian women really do not believe what the Scripture says about their husbands.  God almost always explains why He gives a command.  Listen carefully: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife … (Ephesians 5:22-23).  Look closely:  did you see the reason?  Because the husband is the head of the wife.  We know little or nothing of headship in our culture, therefore, we simply do not understand what the Word of God is saying.  The husband is the head of the wife.  The husband is the God-ordained authority over the wife.

Until a wife believes and accepts that her husband is given to her by the Lord as her head, she will never successfully arrange herself under his leadership.  Each and every day, in prayer before the Lord, a wife must be reminded that her husband is her head and that she is to arrange herself and to orderly place herself under him because the Lord requires this of her.

If you still feel yourself resisting, it is probably because you do not realize that you need a head.  If God has ordained authority over you, it is for your good, and it is because you truly need it.  Think for a moment about children.  They do not understand that they need parents.  They want to be their own authority.  What a disastrous thought!  Think for a moment about workers that see no need for a boss or supervisor.  What type of work would this produce?  And think of all the millions of people that see no need for God as an authority in their lives.  They essentially want to be their own gods!

Now to be sure, they may not see the need for authority, but the need is there, and the need is real.  And for the woman, realize it or not, she needs a head, and the Lord has provided one for her – her own husband!   Still doubting?  Remember, the Scriptures teach that Adam was not deceived.  It was Eve that was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14).  Yes, the woman needs a head.  But, even apart from this, the Scriptures teach that God actually established this headship before the Fall, by His order of creation.  He was establishing that authority when He created Adam first (1 Timothy 2:13).  Take time to meditate upon these truths until you see your need for a head.

Another reason that a Christian woman may refuse this truth is that she looks at her husband’s faults and weaknesses and determines that God does not intend to use this man as her head.  She has forgotten that she, too, has faults and weaknesses, yet God does use her.  When a Christian woman lovingly submits to her husband, as her head, it is amazing how the Lord will work in that life!  God’s Word is true, and He blesses His Word.

And finally, as God directs the woman to be subject to her husband, He paints a beautiful portrait for the world that looks on.  Why does this woman behave so?  She does it unto her Lord, and in that submission, the Lord is glorified.  She shows the humility and submission of her Lord, as he lived and walked upon this earth, being subject to the Father in all things. Additionally, she shows how the church is to be subject to the Lord in all things, giving Him that place of honor which He so rightly deserves!

Remember, God always opposes the proud, but how He gives grace to the humble!

Lord, help us understand submission.  Help us understand that all of Your people are called to submission, sometimes in very difficult circumstances.  Help each of us truly receive the truth that our own husband is our head because You have declared it to be so.  And help each of us submit from our heart that it may bring much honor and glory to Your name.  Amen.