In my daily reading and daily living over the last few months, the Lord has challenged me again and again about my level of trust and acceptance of His sovereign will over my life. As I dig into His Word for deeper understanding of this topic and daily challenge to my faith, He is showing me some new insight that I would love to share with you all. While I organize my thoughts, I am reposting these thoughts on submission today and the next post as well. I think they are a good introduction into His thoughts on trust.
** Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. ** Ephesians 5:21
Over the past few days, I have had several discussions on the subject of submission. It is a sore subject for many and for many reasons.
Husbands want their wives to submit to them and allow them to be in charge. Wives want some autonomy or at least some say in the family decisions. Husbands want to not be constantly challenged or undermined. Women dislike male dominance and dictatorial behavior.
The Perfect Example
I believe that Jesus Christ came to earth to show us what real faith and God-likeness looks like. His example is our guide to how to walk out every day situations, including being submissive. His example shows us how to deal with both sides of the argument.
The New Testament tells us that Jesus rose early, while it was still night in order to have the time to pray and seek the Father’s will above his own. We are talking about GOD manifested in the flesh, GOD incarnate CHOOSING to submit and accept the Father’s will over what his own human mind and flesh and abilities wanted to do. He was EQUAL with God but CHOSE to let the Father be in charge. He yielded and allowed someone else to call the shots.
Secondly, Jesus dealt with people’s needs. If someone was ill, He healed them. If someone was blind, He gave them sight. If someone was facing the loss of the breadwinner in the family, the one responsible in earning an income so her family wouldn’t starve, He gave them life….(Lazarus, and the widow’s son)
So, Jesus had both requirements for submission: love and yielding to another’s will.
Wives are told to submit to our husbands, as Jesus did to the Father.
Husbands are told to love their wives as Jesus loved the church and the people of Israel. He EARNED their devotion. Husbands should earn our yielding to their leadership.
Keys to Submission
Husbands can seek FIRST to heal, help, comfort, protect, and be an example of submitting to the will of God for their own lives….this will EARN the respect and submissiveness of their spouse. They can serve and care for their wife showing them by example how they would like to be loved and honored. Jesus did not come to earth and say HERE I AM, BELIEVE IN ME, DO WHAT I SAY, OR ELSE!! He showed everyone all the benefits of having Him on their side by loving and caring for others then gave them the choice of following Him.
Jesus also showed us that it didn’t matter what He wanted for his own day to day, but allowed the Father to guide Him through every hour. He was in complete submission to God’s purpose for Him.
How can I submit to my husband as he learns to be a leader of our home? If we, as women struggle to submit to our spouse, we are encouraged to do so anyway, ** as unto the Lord. ** Just like Jesus did with the Father. When we yield to our husbands leadership, we are yielding to the higher task of yielding to the Lord’s will for us.
If our husbands see us fighting them at every turn, maybe it is because they have not yet understood well the phrase– ** as Christ loved the church** –Maybe they have yet to completely understand that one doesn’t truly receive our loyalty without demonstrating the love of Christ first: unconditionally, completely, every day, merciful, gracious love. When we know our husbands are submitted to the Lord in prayer and obedience like Jesus was with the Father, it opens the way for us to peacefully accept their guidance. When we see them to be steadfast and unmovable in their own walk with Christ, and that they are putting into practice what they are called to do, our way becomes smoother.
Time and Experience
Throughout our 42 years of marriage, I have struggled to live my role in the submission story. But I can say that as the years have passed, and I have continued to grow in my understanding of Christ-likeness, and I see my husband also growing and accepting me unconditionally and never forsaking me even on my nastiest of days, this makes it is easier and easier to accept his leadership in our home. He is more like Christ every year.
My advice to those whose spouse still falls short of these traits? Do your part by faith, believing that one day he or she will understand these principles. If your spouse is not a clear example of Christ-likeness, then you can be that for him. You can be in sincere, devoted prayer over your marriage and accept with courage and faith that you are exactly where you need to be and with the right person. You can love unconditionally and show the riches of God’s mercy to him in your own conduct.
And we can all learn to be patient. The Potter’s Hand does not work quickly. It works carefully and gently and masterfully. We can allow Him time to do what He does best: transform lives. Ours and our spouse’s.
####A quick note### Living with an abusive spouse is not submission. If you are in a dangerous relationship, find someone you can trust that will advise you and help you find a safe solution to your situation.