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Monday, May 18, 2015

Inspired by . . . a profound mystery

I wrote a post about submission a week or so ago, and thought maybe the subject might need a bit of follow up. Depending upon where you are in your spiritual walk and understanding of God, you may not be ready to fully embrace the concept of submission. Especially when it comes to marriage. But I thought these insights I gleaned from Beth Moore, offered up in her study of Paul, might help all of us move further along.

Sometimes understanding what something does NOT mean, is key to understanding what it DOES mean. There are several things that submission does not mean, when understood in biblical context, but the one I want to communicate here is:

Submission does not mean slavery. The Greek word Paul uses in Ephesians 5:22 is completely different than the word he used in Ephesians 6:5 where he exhorts slaves to obey their masters.

 

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Eph 5:22

 

The word here is hupotassō {hoop-ot-as'-so}. It is a compound word meaning “to place under or in an orderly fashion.” Paul is advocating order in the home, just as he did for order in the church, order in government, etc. Scripture clearly teaches us that our God is a God of order, not chaos. Should we really be surprised that He designed an order to family life?

It may help to remember, too, that Paul is also the author of Galatians 3:28, where he advocated equality for men and women. A radical concept in his day!

 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,

there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28

 OakLeavesSunlight

 

Beth admits that the concept of a submissive wife went against her grain, until she learned two things about God that changed her attitude. Maybe they will help you, too.

1. God is good and loving. He would never give approval to meanness or abuse. Any misuse of submission by either the husband or the wife is sin.

2. God granted women a measure of freedom in submission that we can learn to enjoy. It is a relief to know that as a wife and mother I am not totally responsible for my family. I have a husband to look to for counsel and direction. I can rely on his toughness when I am too soft and his logic when I am too emotional.

Now if you’re still thinking that this command to submit to our husbands is too much and unfair, let’s have a look at what God commands the husbands concerning their wives.

 

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

That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

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.

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.

He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Eph 5:25-28

 

Wow! I don’t know about you, but that reads like a pretty tall order. Especially when we look at the word Paul used for love. The Greek word agapaō. We’re not talking about a feeling or emotion here. No, agapaō love goes much deeper than that: “to esteem, love, indicating a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something or someone.”

Doesn’t every woman want to be loved like that? I know I do .

 

agapao

 

Friend, I encourage you to test God in this matter. Yes, I said test God. {You can read Malachi 3:10 if you don’t think it’s okay to test God on His promises.} Following a path toward Biblical Womanhood is a good step to unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit in your marriage. Without Christ in your marriage, you cannot submit to your husband and he cannot love you with an agapaō love!

Beth describes marriage as a stool with three legs. A submissive wife, a loving husband, and Christ. The stool can’t stand without all three.

No, we don’t live in a perfect world. Our stools may lean a little {or a lot} in one direction from time to time. As Beth says, “A wife submitting to an unloving husband is as lopsided as a loving husband sacrificing for a domineering wife.”

Only God created marriage and only He can hold it together.

No marriage is perfect, but I am deeply blessed with a husband who loves me with an agapaō love. He finds JOY in me. In turn, he is blessed with a wife who respects and esteems him - - rather than one who is defiant and derisive. It is our mutual desire to keep Christ at the center of our marriage that allows this to be true. It’s something we work at every day and I can tell you with 100% certainty, it’s worth the effort.

I feel led to reiterate one thing before closing:

God is good and loving. He would never give approval to meanness or abuse. Any misuse of submission by either the husband or the wife is sin.

 

Fence_oakleaves

 

This certainly isn’t a definitive word on submission. It is a complex concept and many who are more educated and wiser than I have written on the subject. I’ve included some recommendations below for further reading. {feel free to share additional, biblically based, resources on this subject in the comments}

 

My prayer is that my words here have brought you closer to the heart of God in this matter,

and that you will continue to seek His will for your life.

 

Going Deeper,

June

 

Recommended Reading:

Elisabeth Elliot

Nancy Leigh Demoss

Beth Moore

Sharing inspiration here:

#TellHisStory

PlayDatesGodHolly Barrett

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June