Tag Archive | marriage

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.

Marriage is Honorable in All, and the Bed Undefiled

Marriage is HonorableMarriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled … 

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is one of the most precious, most valuable, and purest of all relationships known to mankind.  Unfortunately, the world in which we live, and the culture of the day, have taken God’s perfect and pure design and perverted it in indescribable ways.

Without a Biblical understanding of marriage, it would be impossible to perceive the preciousness of this special union between a man and his wife.  The world has much to say, but the Word of God specifically teaches this:  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled … (Hebrews 13:4).

God was the Designer of marriage.  God designed the male and the female physiques differently for the distinct purpose of the two being united into one.  The Genesis account of Creation reveals this truth and was understood by the man: 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 shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:23-25).

They were both naked and were not ashamed. When did the perversions to marriage occur?  After sin entered into the human race (Genesis 3), fallen mankind began to plummet downward.  By the very next chapter (Genesis 4), the Scriptures describe the first murder.  Later, in the same chapter, we learn of Lamech, another murderer who took to himself two wives (Genesis 4:19-24).  By the time of Noah (Genesis 6), evil abounded on the earth, and God destroyed all but Noah and his family.  However, the fallen nature of mankind still persisted within the human heart.  The downward plummet continued and perversion multiplied.  By the time of Abraham and Lot (Genesis 19), we find a description of the sinful condition of Sodom and Gomorrah, and again we see God move to destroy sinful man.

Yet the fallen nature of mankind again persisted in the heart of man.  Although saved from the wrath that was poured out upon those cities, Lot and his daughters fell into drunken and incestuous relationships (Genesis 19:30-38).  The first book of the Bible alone relates numerous instances of perversion of God’s design for marriage.  Genesis 34 relates the account of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, being raped.  Genesis 38 describes the account of Judah laying with his daughter-in-law, thinking her to be a harlot.  Genesis 39 describes the attempted seduction of Joseph by Potipher’s wife.  And the downward plummet continued.  The Bible is filled with such accounts.  Simply by observation, one can see that apart from God, mankind will never retain the purity of God’s design for marriage.

The Word of God makes a very revealing statement that every Christian should understand.  As Moses led the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, God Himself laid down the laws that were to govern their lives.  Leviticus 18 gives vivid description of the perversions that were forbidden for God’s people.  However, what should be noted is the manner in which God describes those actions:  I am the Lord your God.  After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do:  and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do;  neither shall ye walk in their ordinances (Leviticus 18:2-3).  It was in both the ungodly nations of Egypt and Canaan where these practices were found.  It was in both the land from which they were coming and the land to which they were going where these practices were found.  After a detailed description of these forbidden practices, God calls them abominable customs (Leviticus 18:24-30).  Abominable customs of the ungodly should not surprise the Christian.  These customs have always been evidenced in ungodly nations!  Because of the fallen nature of mankind, more and more perverseness will be found the farther any person, people, or nation moves from God.  The Bible, as well as history itself, is full of undeniable examples.

Interestingly, as humans attempt to address this problem, they often move to the opposite extreme.  In the name of religion, they sometimes say that there should be no marriage, so that the body may be kept physically and spiritually pure.  But that human solution is not God’s design for purity.  The Bible refers to those who teach forbidding marriage as being taught by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils that speak lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

What, then, does God say?  What does His Word teach?  In full agreement with the Creation account of marriage, and in reference to it, Jesus reiterates in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 the importance of understanding God’s design, God’s will, and God’s intent for the man and the woman.  Jesus reemphasizes that it is God that joins the man and the woman into one flesh.  They are no longer two, but are one flesh.  And remember they were both naked and were not ashamed.  It was God’s perfect design.

Just how pure is marriage in the eyes of God?

Marriage is honorable in all,  and the bed undefiled …

Hebrews 13:4

A fuller understanding of this verse elevates marriage and the marriage bed to the height that God intends.  The word that is translated as honorable is timios in the Greek.  It carries the meaning of:  precious, valuable, dear.  Just how precious and valuable is marriage?  Listen to other references in the Bible where this same Greek word (timios) is used.  The Bible speaks of precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12) and precious fruit (James 5:7).  It speaks of the trials of our faith as more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7).  But more than that, as the Spirit of God inspired the writing of the Scriptures, He speaks of the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19) and of God’s Word as His exceeding great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4).  What could be more precious than the blood of Christ and the promises of God?  It is this same word for precious that was chosen to describe how precious marriage is – honorable indeed!

And the bed undefiled!  Again, a study of the descriptive word for the marriage bed will bring us to a wonderful understanding of God’s design for marriage.  Scripture says that the marriage bed is undefiled.  Undefiled (amiantos) means: free from pollution; uncontaminated; pure.  How pure is the marriage bed?  Again, we will refer to other examples in the Scriptures described as undefiled (amiantos).

The Bible speaks of pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27).  Our inheritance, reserved for us in heaven, is described as incorruptible and undefiled (1 Peter 1:4).  And listen to the purity of our Lord, as our High Priest, who is holy, harmless, undefiled … (Hebrews 7:26).

How pure is the marriage bed?  It is as pure as pure can be – fully, totally, completely pure.

God’s design is pure! God’s design is precious! God’s design is perfect!

It is mankind that pollutes! It is mankind that perverts!

It is mankind that plummets into the depths of sin!

Marriage is honorable in all,  and the bed undefiled …

Hebrews 13:4

May every Christian wife learn to live freely in the preciousness and purity of marriage.

Qualities of A Good Wife

Whoso Finds a WifeWhoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 Suppose we took a surveyThe question that we would ask is:  What makes a good wife?  I can just imagine all of the answers that we would  hear!  Some would probably make us smile.  Others would, perhaps, make us very sad. But, from the beginning, God intended the wife to be a “good thing.”

Before we address our answer to the question, let’s recall the Creation for just a moment.  Day by day, as God created, He viewed His Creation, and in each case, the Scriptures tell us that God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).  However, as details are given in chapter 2 of the creation of the man and the woman, we find, for the first time in the Scriptures, that God says that something is “not good”:  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.  Then immediately following that declaration, He announces His solution: I will make him a help meet for him.  In contrast to that which was not good, the wife, being a help and companion to the man, was to be a good thing.

And, when God finished His Creation, we find this truth:  And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).  Being a wife according to God’s intent and design truly is a good thing.

Listen to the truth of Proverbs 18:22:  Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.  Here we find the same truth again – a wife is to be a good thing.

Listen now to the question of Proverbs 31:10-12: Who can find a virtuous woman?  And then hear the answer to that question as it relates to her husband:  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

So we can see that God not only created and designed the wife to be a “good” thing, but He commends the wife who gives all the days of her life to doing good, and not evil, to her husband.

A “good” wife – do you have a heart that desires to be a good wife to your husband?  Perhaps you are wondering in what ways you could be a better wife. Well, if God created the marriage, and He did, then let’s look at the three instructions that He gives to wives.  We will find that these three truths describe qualities that  truly do make a good wife.

1. RESPECT

… and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33).

Reverence – respect!  This reverence and respect – or the lack of it – reflects a wife’s heart attitude –  how she truly feels about her husband, from the heart.  It is from the heart that all of a wife’s words and actions will flow.  Respectful words and loving actions come from a respectful heart.  Let the wife see to it that she reverence her husband!

Also, did you notice that this is a command?  God does not make this optional.  Neither does He say that a husband must earn the wife’s respect.  Actually, the Lord requires this of us.  Listen again to the wording:  … and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Be careful that you do not fall into the error of negating the Word of God by saying “I know that this is true, BUT …”

God’s truth is always true.  We all have faults and failures.  A wife can respect her husband, in spite of his faults and weaknesses.  She can respect him just because he is her husband.  And, if a wife will make a list of his good qualities, she will be surprised how many ways that she can find to respect him.  As her heart toward him becomes more respectful, their marriage will begin to change.  See to it that you reverence your husband.

2. COMPANIONSHIP

The book of Titus instructs the older women to encourage the younger women to love their husbands (Titus 2:3-5).  There are misunderstandings as to what love really is.  The particular Greek word used in this passage is a friendship, companionship love.  It is the kind of love that focuses on the relationship between husband and wife.  This kind of love can only be fostered as a wife spends time together with her husband, sharing common interests, walking through life as friends and companions. A wife may feel as though she has nothing in common with her husband.  There is a sure way to build common interests.  Be interested in what he is interested in!  Yes, a wife can be interested in what he is interested in – if she is truly interested in him!  She can lay aside her desires, her schedules, etc., and love her husband.  She can be a friend and companion to him as she shares his life with him.  Through the ability which God supplies, love your husband.  It will be a blessing to you both!

3. SUBMISSION

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).

Did you know that this is the most frequent command in the Bible given to wives?  Yes, it really is.  No other instruction is given to wives as often as this one.  It must be the one that we need to hear the most often – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.

What does submit yourselves actually mean?  It means being arranged under the authority of another.  This is not the teaching of the twenty-first century, but it is most definitely Biblical teaching.  Additionally, it is an outflow of a Spirit-filled life (see Ephesians 5:17-22).

Once a wife acknowledge, from her heart, that the  husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), she will find submission an easier thing.

No matter what the world says or how a wife may feel personally, the Word of God is true – even submit yourselves!

There is a key to learning to be arranged under a husband’s authority – simply learning to really listen.  Husbands say what they like and what they do not like.  They say what they would like for the wife to do or not do.  It really is that easy – learning to listen and, without arguing, walking in agreement with him.

From my experience, I have found that my struggle will always be that I prefer my own way, that I think I know a better way, or that I think I am more spiritual.  But not so!  The Lord always knows the best way, and He is the most “spiritual” of all – and it is He who says submit yourselves.  And, for those wives who have husbands who are not obedient to the Word, the words found in 1 Peter 2:21-3:6 will be an anchor for you!

The timeless truth of submission will take the tug-of-war out of a marriage.  When a wife ceases from pulling against her husband, the struggle will stop.  When, by faith, she arranges herself under her husband’s God-given authority, she will be pleasing to the Lord.

What makes a good wife?  I guess we really did not need a survey. Respect, companionship, submission – three qualities of a good wife —  three truths that will transform a marriage – three truths that bring glory to God.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing,

and obtaineth favor of the Lord

Proverbs 18:22

 


 

Kara’s Sory: Learning to Build

imageEvery wise woman buildeth her house:

but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Proverbs 14:1

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.

Psalm 127:1

What a work God has done in my heart with these two verses!  For so many years of my marriage, I was a foolish woman, constantly plucking my house down around me with my very own hands.  Oh, I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.  I thought that I was standing up for my rights as a “liberated” and “educated” female.  I thought that I deserved a life beyond my husband and two children.  I didn’t realize that God had given me a precious gift – a household full of wonderful people – and that I was the one steadily destroying it.  God had done more than His part, bringing my family through many self-inflicted storms and trials, but every time the Lord would begin to pour a foundation for my family, there I would be, tearing it down to the ground by my words and neglect.

Now that I look back, I should have seen what was going on, especially since in His mercy, God had given me a very vivid physical example of what neglect causes with the house that we had bought soon after our daughters were born.  This house seemed perfect when we first visited it – quaint, quiet, understated – the perfect place to raise our children.  But little did we know the work that is required to keep a house, especially an older house, as ours was, in good condition.

I was busy with my job (in a Christian work, by the way) and my husband was busy establishing a new business.  The house – like my family –  was left to itself.  Unbelievably soon, the roof was leaking, termites had eaten through the foundation, and the beautiful yard that the previous owner had so painstakingly landscaped was overgrown with weeds.  We were so overwhelmed when we realized the work ahead of us that we simply threw up our hands in defeat.  And I did the same thing with my family.  I will spare you the details of the damaging results, but suffice it to say, my home and my family were nearly destroyed.

But then a miracle occurred.  God saved me and began to open up the truth of His Word to me, line upon line, precept upon precept.  He began to use my physical house to show me what was happening to my household and to my family.

One day, my husband discovered that the main support of the house would have to be replaced before any other repair work could be done; God used this to show me that my family needed Him as our main support before any other lasting improvements could be made.

On another occasion, my husband found that termites had damaged our walls and many of them would have to be rebuilt; likewise, we would have to rebuild our family’s spiritual walls through prayer, study, and church.

Little by little, we have begun to repair our home, both physically and spiritually, and little by little, I am changing from that foolish woman who destroys her home to one that builds her home.  Each day I pray that God will show me ways to build – and any ways that I may be destroying – the precious family with which He has blessed me.

Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding it is established:  and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Proverbs 24:3-4

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.