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We Submit to Each Other Because We Love Christ

Submission

What I call The Ephesian Marriage is found in the Scriptures. Go to Ephesians 5:21-33. Though I have several versions, I prefer the KJV, AMP and NASB because these are closest to the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek). These Scriptures will appear several times throughout this blog site – in deed, they are the basis for this blog. They have become a part of the focus of my own journey back home to my Beloved Spouse. It is imperative to the survival of your Marriage that you let these Scriptures become a part of your innermost being. If you are a separated or divorced Stander, they should become a part of your focus as well because they will be a part of the foundation that is being laid in your reconciliation. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee…” Psalm 119:11 KJV

The Ephesian Marriage can best be described as the following:

21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in everything.

25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31) 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. (cf: Gen 2:24)

32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33) Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.” (cf: I Peter 3:2)

(Ephesians 5:21-33 KJV)

If you’re a woman with a strong sense of self-pride – as I am, I bet you’re having a hard time with the word “submit” in verse 22 above. Verse 22 reads: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands…” and then I couldn’t read anything afterward much less comprehend the thought of it. The reason is I had just a slight problem with the word “submit.” I mean, come on! Would God really expect me to do that? What an ugly word! Or so I thought.

The feminists continue to have a field day with that word and make no secret about their total disgust with it. But so do women who are not self-proclaimed feminists but who are wives. We say things like: “How can God expect me to submit?” “If my husband thinks I’m going to submit to just anything, he’s got another thing coming!” “Me submit? I’m not a flippin’ doormat to anyone!” “Well, if my husband was a better man, maybe I could think about it, but I will not submit to him until he quits such and such.” And so it goes…

We are a prideful bunch aren’t we? The reality is most wives want control. We are involved in a power struggle with the very man we claim to love. There. I said it. We want control.

Control? Power? What would you do with it if you got it? Really? This is an authority issue!

The truth is, there is a very logical order to God’s creation – and like it or not ladies, God has created universal order to keep from universal chaos. Basically, universal order is universal law – sort of like physics. The earth, moon, sun and stars all have a place. They are governed by a universal law ordained from the beginning of creation. Just think what would happen if that were to suddenly change. So it is with the marriage relationship. When we try to usurp that order, things get out of control and chaos ensues. But realize that this submit stuff isn’t a bad thing!

If you can force yourself to smooth down the standing hair on the back of your neck and breathe for a moment and relax – start from verse 21 and carefully read every word written through verse 33. We’re looking for the bigger picture.

Before I explain the word submit as related to the wife, I want to point you to verse 21 because this is the crux of all the problematic issues with the word submit. Verse 21 states: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” An easier translation for verse 21 comes from the NIV and it says: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. God calls us to submit to each other because we admire, worship, look up to and respect Christ! So what we actually see here is a two-way street in submission BUT it’s done as unto the Lord… And it is done in order. Let’s take a look.

In the Greek, submit (or hypotasso), is formed from two Greek root words hypo – meaning under and tasso – meaning to station (or assign a place to). When put together it means we wives have been assigned a place under our husbands. Still sound bad? It shouldn’t — especially if we wives love our husbands and reverence and esteem them to the exclusion of all others (except for God). So submit as used here is really a voluntary attitude of giving of oneself. It’s a helpful, supportive, obliging, accommodating, joint, two-way mutual cooperation with your husband who is the God-ordained head of household. It’s also the same submission that the church has to Christ! Simply put, it’s a very loving deferment to your husband’s calling to be the head but without the cost of your individuality. In other words, you don’t give up your individual being to sacrifice yourself on the altar of someone else’s ego. God didn’t call you to be a doormat. He called the wife to be a helpmeet and lifelong companion for the husband. The two come together as equals with a direct and purposeful effort at maintaining everything that is their relationship and home. When there is a disagreement, because of the God-ordained order that He lovingly purposed, the wife must purposely defer to her husband trusting in his leadership – and the God Who is Head over all. If something goes wrong as a result of a decision made, then it’s not for the wife to say “I told you so…” It’s an opportunity for the wife to stand by her husband in loving and prayerful support – and work through the consequences of the decision. Together. He won’t be perfect at it. But then neither would we be. The husband and wife were made to complement each other – not be antagonistic.

True submission then is acting to the benefit of your husband at your expense. You do this every day for your children, a best friend and your aging parents – even your employer. Why not your husband? It’s what the church does for Christ.

Points to Ponder

Understand that just because your husband may not be acting as the spiritual leader in the home – but you might be more developed in your relationship with God – you are still in a position of order made by God within the home. It is the wife’s responsibility to see that she maintains her proper relationship and place in accordance with the will of God first in her home and then to her husband. In other words, the wife is responsible and answerable to God for her relationship to Him first and then that of her relationship with her husband. Lording it over your husband is stepping outside the spiritual order and will of God for your home – and therefore stepping outside the God-created universal order. Stepping outside that order creates chaos in the home. It also causes loss of blessing.

NOTE: These precepts apply to our public actions as well. There is nothing like declaring open-season on your husband and publicly castrating him within full view of others. God sees this as pride and manipulation and He has much to say on those throughout His Word. He will deal with us on that. Disagreements and the attitudes of the heart are best left for the Lord to handle through prayer.

Remember: Each of us is responsible for our own words and actions before God and we will be held accountable. You cannot control your husband’s actions – but God can.

The Prayer Closet

So where do we wives start if the thought of submission brings such an attitude that it makes us stubbornly angry? We get into our prayer closet with God and ask Him to help us. We aren’t concerned with our husband’s attitude at this point. We are concerned with our own. We can’t answer for any other attitude than our own. This is the one that God calls us to account for. And it is this one that will need to change before much else will change in the home. “Why me?” you ask. “What about him?” The answer can be found in the following:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42 NIV)

The truth is before we can see to help another we must first be able to see clearly. It always starts with us – no matter who we are. We can all argue the points about another’s actions until we are blue in the face but the fact of the matter is it won’t do anything to change for the better. It will only make things worse between you and your husband.

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any {of them} are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be {merely} external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but {let it be} the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:1-4 NASB)

Our prayer should be “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 KJV)

A wife who submits to God must also submit to her husband. If you’re not submitting to your husband then in effect you’re not submitting to God.

If we truly seek the face of God in prayer – which is communication with Him – and with right motive, He will honor that prayer. When you do this faithfully whether you understand it all or not, God will align your will to match His will. But remember, the object of prayer is not to get everything you want when you want it; it’s to be right with God and in the center of His will by obeying His Word. He will give you the ability to do that.

Amen.

© 2009 – 2011 TheEphesianMarriage. All rights reserved by TheEphesianMarriage unless otherwise stated. All other symbols are the trademark of their respective owners.

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