Tag Archive | marriage

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.

Anabelle’s Story: No Respect for Him

Reverence Her Husband“Just one verse, God, just one. That’s all I need.”

Here I was, weeping, alternately pacing the aisles and lying on the altar, all alone in the church after everyone else had gone home. I begged God to show me just one verse in His Word that I could use to justify leaving my husband. I was done.

How had we come to this?

I hadn’t always felt this way. I met my husband when I was fourteen years old, and I knew when I saw him I would marry him. We married once I graduated high school and began life together with a baby and a move to another state, away from all I had ever known. He found it hard to keep a job, and something happened that I didn’t expect. I began to not like this man very much.

I disliked his job-hopping. I disliked that fact that he had made us move away. I disliked his spending. I disliked how he spoke to our daughter.

This marriage business was hard. Why couldn’t he just stand up and be a man and take care of us like he was supposed to?

After several years, we moved back home, and my mother began to invite me to a church she was attending. At first, I dismissed her. After weeks of asking, though, I finally gave in and found myself in a little church. Something was different here. These people actually tried to live what they heard on Sundays. They talked about their failures, and there was no shame, only forgiveness. No grudges, only reconciliation. To an unsaved young woman, educated and bitter, this all seemed too weird.

For two years, I attended ladies’ classes and ladies’ retreats, sat in on prayer meetings, and learned to trust the elder women in this church. Through their example, God turned my heart to Him and I was wonderfully saved. One area still bothered me though. The women talked of how they loved their husbands, what great men they were, how thankful they were for them. Each comment made me ache. How could they have such perfect marriages and mine be such a disaster?

And then the darkness came. My husband had suffered a debilitating injury and was required to have a dangerous surgery. The risks were high, the doctors said, and recovery would take months. Even if the surgery were a success, there could be side effects that would affect my husband permanently.

The doctors were right.

Then only three months after his surgery, Hurricane Katrina came. Our home flooded, and there was no money to repair it. My husband fell into depression and stayed on the computer constantly. I would get up in the morning and see him in front of the screen; come home from work, there he was; and go to bed, with him never coming out of the office. There was no intimacy between us, either emotional or physical. We were roommates, not husband and wife.

I was so lonely, and it wasn’t long before the tempter began to whisper, “He shouldn’t treat you like this. He’s so selfish. Doesn’t he know that you need him? Doesn’t he know that you need to feel loved and wanted?”

And it wasn’t long after that that the tempter came in the form of a man, a man who smiled at me and told me I was beautiful and how much better he would treat me if he had me.

It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t fall completely. It was my Father Who protected me, not my vows or my fear of what others would say if they found out. I was long past caring about any of that. I was wrapped up in my own longings and disillusionment.

And now here I was, depressed, broken, alone at the altar in that little church. I picked up my Bible, barely able to see through my tears. I opened it up randomly and began flipping the pages, going to the places that I knew taught on divorce, hoping I would find a verse that would justify my leaving. The first place I found myself was Matthew 5—divorce allowed only in the case of fornication (v.32). He hadn’t cheated on me, so that was out.

Matthew 19—“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (v. 6)

Next, I Peter 3: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection 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;” (v. 1)

WHAT??!! I’m supposed to love and submit to my husband even if he’s not saved?? God, I know You know how this man is, and this can’t apply to me. I’ll try again.

And then, I Corinthians 7.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband…” (v. 10)

Not exactly what I was looking for, but I read on anyway. Perhaps there were exceptions.

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”(v. 13)

My tears were beginning to dry, not because I found peace, but because I was angry. Why can’t I leave him? Does God expect me to live in this despair, this heartache forever? I slammed the Bible shut, then re-opened it.

Proverbs 31—“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (v. 11-12)

I was struck by these words. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life…”

The Holy Spirit brought to my mind the times I had screamed at him like a banshee to “be a man!” The times I had loudly disrespected him in Wal-Mart when he wanted to buy something unnecessary. The times I had complained about him to my mother, my sister, my best friend, to anyone who would listen. The times I refused his attention, choosing instead to work because “it was what I had to do.”

I was so ashamed, and I am ashamed again as I write this. He had just had to walk through the darkest months of his life, and while I had done what was necessary to help him physically, I had abandoned him emotionally. I had committed adultery in my heart and justified it. I, his wife, the one he had chosen to walk through life with, had already left him.

So now I had a decision to make. Would I obey the words that my Father had so gently, but firmly, brought to my attention? Or would I forever damage my daughter and my testimony for my selfishness?

I am glad to say that my Lord gave me the courage to walk in His truth. This was not an overnight change in my heart, but a day-to-day commitment that I would be a daughter my Father would be proud of. I resolved that I would no longer speak negatively about my husband to anyone. When discussions began to turn ugly, I would close my mouth and refuse to rise to the bait. I would make myself available to help him and listen to him and love him.

Over time, I saw my Lord bless His Word. My husband was saved, and our marriage was renewed gloriously. The defining point in our renewal was the night God pressed upon my heart to tell my husband about the other man. Oh, how worried and afraid I was! But I knew that in order for us to truly be one, there could be no more secrets.

What happened that night cemented my love for my husband and for my Jesus. I saw my husband’s heart break as I told him of my betrayal, and I saw the battle he fought within his mind. Then, I heard the sweetest words I’ve ever heard: “I already knew. I love you, and I always will. I forgive you.” And he really did. He never brought the subject up again, and his actions toward me afterward never held any bitterness.

I cannot express to you what the Lord worked in my heart that night, but what I do know is that the man I was so determined to leave became the man who showed me the love of Jesus like I had never known. The Lord has shaped my husband into a leader, an innovator, a man with talent, compassion, strength, and grace, and I have seen through him the clearest picture of Christ’s forgiveness and love.

Just one verse.  That’s all I thought I needed.  But God had given me so much more.  He gave me truth.  He gave me love.  And by His grace and mercy alone, He gave me a true marriage.

Judith’s Story: A Woman of Strength and Honor

Image created with Pho.to.Lab app

Image created with Pho.to Lab app

Quite to my surprise, I was asked to give a testimony of a virtuous woman. First, I would like to say how very unqualified I feel to be called upon to undertake such a venture.  I am convinced that a true virtuous woman would never stand to sing her own praises.  A true virtuous woman knows well the struggles of this life as she attempts to walk in righteousness, and because she knows how often she falls so desperately short, she could never claim such a title for herself.  No, this would be something that I would be unable to do.

Then, can you imagine my surprise when my husband leaned over in a church service where the focus was on this type of woman and said:  You are exactly that kind of woman.  I, then, understood something more of this virtuous woman. Indeed, she didn’t make that claim for herself.  Proverbs 31:28 says that her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

So it matters not what I may say about myself.  The real question is what does my husband say?  And, what do my grown children say?  I suppose the realization of the qualities that this woman possesses comes more in looking back in reflection over time, rather than at one specific moment in time.  It is the consistency, the steadfastness, and the faithfulness that has been repeatedly seen through the years more than what someone sees just today, that causes one to stand and praise his wife or mother as a virtuous woman.  So, where does it all begin – being a virtuous woman?

The beginning place is always with God.  And this, too, was the beginning place with me.  I had to realize Who He is – the Almighty God, Creator of all things, holy and righteous beyond our understanding, but so loving and merciful that He would come to this earth, be born into the body of a human being, willingly suffer and die, taking the sins of humanity – including mine – in His own body to save fallen man and reconcile them to Holy God.  What a God!

With this personal understanding of God, an additional thing took place in my life.  Perhaps it can best be explained by a verse found in 2 Corinthians 8:5.  There we find a phrase that says that they first gave their own selves to The Lord and to us by the will of God.  My life had been given to The Lord.  I no longer belonged to myself; I now belonged to the living God.  My life was no longer my own; it now belonged to The Lord Jesus Christ.  But the verse continues to say that they gave themselves to us by the will of God.  And that is where the focus of my life changed.  My life was the Lord’s and was to be spent for others.  The others that surrounded my life, first and foremost, were my family.  The Lord, by His grace, began to show me, step by step, and day by day,ways that I could serve them – ways that I could encourage them – ways that I could comfort them.

But in the day to day experiences of life, I found that I would tire as I served The Lord by serving others.  However, because I had given my life to The Lord, I now found that my strength came from Him – a strength far surpassing anything that I had known.  Scripture says that the virtuous woman is a strong woman.  She girds her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  And strength and honor are her clothing.  It was to The Lord that I would continually turn to find this ever-present help and strength from day to day.  I knew that The Lord was my strength, and I could make no claim of possessing it myself.

The Lord also gave me great contentment in being a wife and mother, laboring in unseen ways. He taught me that a virtuous woman does not seek recognition of her own.  She seeks to honor her husband and delights in him being known in the gates. I knew, in my heart, that was what my life was to be about – exalting my husband – serving him and my children.  How did I maintain this attitude?  Once again, it is The Lord.  He has taught me that His ways are right and good; I must deny myself, and I must not strive for my own ways.  He faithfully reminds me that my life is not about myself.  It is about Him – it is about His righteousness – it is about His holiness – it is about His glory.  I would slowly get a glimpse of this truth – that I must, above all else, reverence Him and His Word.  I must seek to do those things which were pleasing to Him.

Living just one day at a time, serving The Lord and serving those around me turned into weeks, months, and years of serving The Lord.  Then, amazingly, those years turned into a lifetime of serving Him.  Please don’t think for a moment that these things were easy.  How many times I struggled with myself.  How many times I failed miserably in that which The Lord had called me to do.  It seems, however, as The Lord forgives all of those failures, He also erases them from the minds of our husbands and children.  We may remember them regretfully, but are humbled and amazed as we hear our children rise up and call us blessed and our husbands praise us.

And lest you think I could never become a virtuous woman I would like to encourage you.  It comes little by little, day by day, so often in the simple ways.  It occurs when you do your husband good day after day.  It occurs when you take time to listen to your children.  It occurs when you care for them day after day, when no one stops to thank you.  It occurs when you cook, clean, and do laundry for your family, repeating the same tasks time and again. It occurs when you continue working at these things when you would rather quit and take a nap.  It occurs when you reach out to help others that you see in need. It occurs when you speak truth to those around you because you truly care.  It occurs when you look well into the ways of your household, refusing to neglect your calling.  And it occurs when you do these things day after day, year after year, because these things please your Lord.

Who can find a virtuous woman? Give your life first to The Lord, and then to those around you.  You may find, in time to come, that this virtuous woman is you!

Strength and honor are her clothing

And she shall rejoice in time to come.

Proverbs 31:25