Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The "S" Word

It's probably not what your thinking. The "s" word I'm referring to is: submit.

The LORD has been working on my servant's heart for quite a while now.

This Sunday, I was forced, ahem, I mean, had the pleasure to teach on Colossians 3:18ff. The first verse of my assigned passage was "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the LORD."

The next verse gave instruction to husbands to love their wives.

In my initial preparations, I concluded that I was going to skip those verses all together and not even touch them. You can probably guess how that turned out. I taught almost exclusively on the wives verse. The LORD had a lot to say to me on this subject.

And now, I share it with you, in an effort, mainly, to continue to work out what He is working in. The LORD has given me a real "sitting down" as one might say.

You might want to grab a cup of coffee here or put your kid down for a nap. I'm going to try to keep this as succinct as possible without compromising the essentials but this blog might be a bit long.

Why is it that we wives get our spanx all in a wad over His instruction to be subject/submit to our husbands? We hear that word, "submit" and instantly we become defensive and begin rationalizing. We could blame our society and culture or the abuse of some men towards "submissive" wives but the real culprit, I believe, is our own rebellious hearts. As I have come to not just understand the instruction, but to internalize it, I realize how rebellious I have been and not just to my husband, but to God.

Submitting to our husbands should be as natural as submitting to the LORD Himself. Throughout the Bible, Believers are instructed to submit to one another, be devoted to one another, give preference to one another, consider one another as more important than yourself (Romans 12:10, Phil. 2:3,4). In short, to do everything as if unto the LORD (Col 3:17, 23,24). If this is to be our general attitude toward one another, why is it so offensive to our sensibilities to have this attitude toward our spouse?

Probably because we have not resolved within ourselves that we are going to obey the LORD. Many "believers" today have a wait-and-see attitude towards Scripture. They want to wait and see if it makes sense for them, to wait and see if it works for them, to wait and see if it benefits them.

We must, as Joshua instructed the Israelites before crossing the Jordan, decide for ourselves today who we are going to serve. We must decide, not on a case-by-case basis, but once and for all whether we are going to obey Christ or not. Take a moment now, think about it. Are you or are you not going to obey the LORD? Has His Lordship been established and resolved in your heart? It's all or nothing.

I hope you chose to obey. If you did, then His command to submit/subject ourselves to our husbands is not that different, in fact, it is merely an extension of His Lordship in our lives.

Let's explore the purpose of marriage for just a second. This will not be an exhaustive discussion but rather a look at just one aspect of the purpose of marriage.

Colossians 1:16 says, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him."

Colossians 1:18 goes on to say that, "He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."

So, every position with authority was created by Christ and for Christ. He is the head of the church which was created for Him. Track with me here.

Eph. 5:22-24, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the LORD. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church. He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything."

Marriage is given to be a physical demonstration of a spiritual reality, that being, Christ is LORD and worthy to be obeyed. The relationship between husband and wife is to be a material example of Christ's relationship (seen only with spiritual eyes) with His church (the corporate body of true believers worldwide now and throughout history and until the end of time).

Jennifer Kennedy Dean has said, "The person who cannot discern spiritual truth is not living in harmony with reality and so is limited in his understanding."

Our God is a God of order and has established a hierarchal system throughout His creation. From the food chain to family relations, there is order and hierarchy. To the degree that we do not submit to His order, we are "not living in harmony with reality."

God has designed the husband to be the representative of His authority in the home. Wives, if we do not recognize, acknowledge and submit to this order, we are rebelling not just against our husbands but against God Himself.

What a privilege married women have to exemplify, to flesh out, the church's relationship with Christ.

Let me take this one step further and attack this from a different angle.

The Christian community (by this I mean Bible-believing followers of Christ) is rather firm on their stance on homosexuality. It is wrong. The Bible says it is wrong and there isn't much disagreement on the subject. What is homosexuality? Is it not one's refusal to submit to their God-assigned gender role? One's deferring to their own feelings rather than God's established order with regard to their relationship with the same and the opposite sex?

Wives, to the degree that we do not submit to our God-assigned gender role (being a wife and submitting to our husbands) we are committing the very same offense as non-celibate homosexuals.

Eph. 5:33b (AMP) ...and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].

I Pet. 3:1,2 (AMP) In a like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate ourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them] so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, when they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him - to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize and, in the human sense, adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].

In the immortal words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, "Behold, the bondslave of the LORD; may it be done to me according to your word."

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