From The Heart

Publish date: 11/20/2011

There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 AMP
Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 22 Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, 27 That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 Because we are members (parts) of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church. 33 However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; 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].  Ephesians 5:21-33 AMP

The Word of God instructs wives to be submitted to their OWN husbands. To submit yourself to your husband means to adapt yourself to him.

It does not say that all women are to submit to all men, either. They are to be submitted to the one man who is their own husband – who married them; who committed himself to them; who loves them like Christ loves the Church! The Bible does say that every believer – men and women alike – should be subject to one another, out of reverence for Christ! In other words, we each seek the well being of those around us; we put others first; we put others ahead of ourselves; we esteem and prefer others; we are not stubborn and selfish. In the Spirit there is no male and female – but in this natural world, there is a distinction between men and women and therefore differing roles and differing responsibilities. The only way for a family, or a community of people, to live together in peace and harmony, is for each person to respect and honor those around him, or her.

Women are given four instructions in this passage: to submit to their husbands as to Christ, to recognize the headship of their husbands, to be subject to their husbands, and to reverence their husbands. They are to submit to their husbands as a service to the Lord. If we would see our service to each other as being a service to the Lord, then we would also conduct ourselves in our day to day living with more respect for His will and His word. We would seek to please the Lord in our words and our deeds; we would love and serve our spouse graciously in honor of our Lord; we would do it willingly and cheerfully; we wouldn’t have a bad attitude or a selfish motive!

Wives are to be submitted to their own husbands in everything. However, this means in everything that is lawful and right, not in the things that are unlawful, criminal and wrong. If he is sinful and demands that she leave off serving God and that she join him in his sin, she is under no obligation to obey him. Her relationship with God, and her soul, must come first. Obedience to her husband in all things is based upon him loving her, as Christ does the church!

Submission to another person never means that you become a doormat. Jesus is our example in humility. He was no one’s doormat, but even though He was God and equal to God, He still submitted Himself, and His own will, to the will and the plan and purpose of the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). Because He humbled Himself, the Father exalted Him, giving Him a Name above all Names. Every knee will bow to Him; every tongue will confess that He is Lord! In the marriage relationship, both the husband and the wife are called to submit. The wife has to be willing to submit to and follow her husband’s leadership, in Christ, and the husband has to be willing to lay aside his own interests, to care for his wife – to pay attention to her and meet her needs, including her emotional needs. Submission is hardly ever a problem when both husband and wife have a strong personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and where each one is fully invested in the relationship and is concerned primarily with their partner’s happiness.

Some people have distorted Paul’s teaching on submission, by giving husbands unlimited authority over their wives. They have used it as an excuse for abuse. Nevertheless, it is still a Bible truth and it holds the key to a happy marriage. In this day and age of women’s “liberation”, just because submission to your husband might not be a popular teaching, that is not a good reason to discard it. According to the Word of God, the husband is the spiritual head of the home and the wife ought to recognize and acknowledge his leadership. Genuine spiritual leadership involves service. The husband is to serve his wife, just as Christ served the disciples. Jesus served them, even to the point of washing their feet. A wise husband, who honors God, will not take advantage of his leadership role – and a wife, who honors God, will not work to undermine his leadership. Either one of these foolish choices will result in sabotaging and destroying the marriage.