Saturday, June 14, 2014

Woman, Thou Art Free to Submit

 Some weeks start out with a theme, others have a slow build, and yet, a few carry on with the overall thesis of my life. This past month went with the latter. Being a woman is not particularly easy...wait, strike that. Being a godly woman is not particularly easy, being a worldly woman is SUPER easy. Women are born with the talent of manipulation and we can and do get our way.
English: Young Maine Coon cat in paper bag

 Sorry ladies, the cat has been released from the bag. 

 We do like control, too. That Genesis 3 curse usually brings us to destroy what we were trying to get in the first place. It is a real battle if you are a woman of God. A younger woman friend and I have been spending some time studying how the church is to respond to Christ and applying it to how a wife should respond to her husband. This is no easy task because obviously, your husband is not perfect like Christ. Okay...and we are not so perfect either.

 Let the sighing and eye rolling commence. I am going to say the word which the world wishes would not be spoken and yes, I do try to live it. Submission, submission, submission! Thought I would say it three times just to plunge you into it thereby removing some of the shock. Submission to our husband is to characterize our position. Does this mean we are to be brainless? Uh, no, God gave us functioning brains. The Greek word used in Ephesians 5:22 literally means to align yourself under. You choose to put  yourself under authority and you will have to engage your brain and the Word of God to apply it correctly.

 Does this mean we are to be mistreated slaves? That, my friends, is a tougher question to answer. God did not intend women to be treated like property but did it happen? In this we must concede that God allows it to happen but the answer also depends on whom you choose to marry. All the single ladies! A word for you: This is the reason to be in the Word, trusting God to provide you a mate, and not so focused on finding someone that you jump on the first thing that passes by. You would not jump on the first plane that looked attractive if you had to be specifically in Fresno. Look at marriage that way as well. It has a specific purpose - to glorify God. That guy that is so funny and handsome that you met at the coffee shop, you know the one, what is his goal? If it is not glorifying God, then run because you have no power to change Him. 

 Marriage is super important. God calls it a mystery but also a picture of Christ and the church. That is a hefty responsibility and maybe why the world has chosen to try to redefine marriage. Also, you are about to enter into a covenant and, in case you did not know, covenants are serious business just read the Old Testament.

 If your spouse is a believer, what a blessing because he will be seeking God's Word on how to be a husband. This requires placing himself under the teaching of Ephesians 5. You will share everything in life together striving to honor God. The two of you shall be one with all the hope and glory of heaven binding you. Then you may have the blessing of children to raise to the glory of God and you will share in each struggle and each joy. Realize this is the ideal not the norm because we are fallen people and we have to persevere through our flesh, our selfish desires, our sin but God is faithful.

 On the other hand, if your spouse is not a believer, you are in a slightly more challenging position. You are still called to be obedient to what God has set forth and you can to add it 1 Peter 3:1. You will have a gap in your marriage because it is impossible to fully be one if there is a part of you that you do not share. Not only do you have to stay the course but you have to do it without an earthly spiritual head and without giving in to the temptations of throwing in  the towel or taking over your husband's vacant role. Let me warn you, do not take it up. First, you will neglect some of your role if you take up his, too. Second, it shows a lack of faith and you never know when God will move to put your husband in that space. Do not make God have to eject you from the position. Third, you will grow resentful and bitter and blame your husband for "making" you be in that position, which will not be true. 

 Oh, I hear what you are thinking. "Submission is too hard and no fun." Hey, if you want easy do not follow after God who calls you to kill your flesh and love your enemies in a world that will berate you for doing just that. Of course, this brief time on earth will not compare to the joy and rest of heaven in eternity and then struggling to submit will be forgotten. 

 But even now, the joy of the fruits of submission are worth whatever I thought  I was giving up. It is freeing, more so than trying to impose my will,  my desires on the marriage. There is much more room for finding delight in my husband when I submit, which opens up more opportunities to praise and honor God. Yes, I would prefer that my husband be saved but I am learning to trust God and it has definitely done a work in me. 

 It has also given me the testimony to teach women to wait for God's timing for a husband. As Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "Before marriage keep your eyes wide open, half-shut afterwards." Scrutinize the choices before you leap, testing them with the Word; but once you commit to one, lay that aside, submit to be under him, and show all the love and grace God has bestowed upon you. 

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