The word submission can sometimes leave a nasty taste in my mouth. First it’s sour, then it’s….bitter, hard to swallow, and I want to spit it out. I had a horrible view of submission, first when I was single, then when I started dating my husband. It is a topic that can be easily misunderstood but is very important in our faith walk. If you’re feeling brave, read on and you won’t regret it!
We must know that submission is an act of obedience to God. The truth is we are all, in some way submitting to and obeying something in our lives. We obey the law of the land, we obey rules, we submit to cultural traditions and customs, we submit to the desires of our flesh, we submit to our parents, bosses and husbands. The list can go on and on. But for some reason an act of obedience to God is the most difficult.
God’s Word is very clear on the fact that He desires for us to obey him. Jesus said it himself in John 15:10
“When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.”
Logically this makes so much sense, but practically I am constantly failing! Oh how I need a daily dose of grace overflowing from Jesus in order to keep going each day. (I struggle a lot when I’m in the car or like, you know, when I’m around people, can I get an amen?!)
This verse from Acts helps me to understand why God wants us to obey:
Acts 17:24-27 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.”
Obedience is not for God’s benefit – he has no needs! He does not have a to-do list that I can help Him with. He is all-powerful and the creator of everything, including me!! It’s in Him and through Him that I exist and live. Obedience is for us. It weaves our hearts closer to His and helps us to abide in Him with our every decision. A life of obedience (and repentance when we fail) glorifies God and reminds us of his holiness. He wants us to know him, to find him. And then even when we mess up, his GRACE is there to further remind us of Jesus’ perfection and power over sin.
The cool thing here is that once we understand and can see submission through the lens of obedience to the Lord we can talk about submission in marriage. DON DON DON. Don’t give up now!
Let me just get one thing in the open; submitting to our husbands is not optional. It’s God’s plan ever since the beginning for marriage. I know this is countercultural and no one wants to be second chair in the band, but without the second chair, there is no harmony. As wives, we are not weak, we are meek; which is something I really struggled to understand when I first got married. We are gentle, but powerful. We are the helper, a position the Lord himself elevated. He deemed the Holy Spirit to be sent to us as the “Helper,” a divine position. The verse in 1 Peter 3:1 says, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands…”. Do you know what that “same way” is? The same way that Jesus submitted to God’s will in going to the cross to die for our sins. Our obedience to God’s will and trust in Him is what he truly cares about. He mercifully tends to our hearts through our submission.
God’s Word clearly states that it’s our job to respect our husbands regardless of his actions. Unconditional respect. (Talk about difficult!! Only with the strength of Holy Spirit could we accomplish something so impossible- all the married women said Hallelujah!). Ephesians 5 gives instructions for wives:
“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord…….So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Submit and respect.
Lots of food for thought for us married women. Sometimes all I can do is say “Holy Spirit help!”
The gift of singleness is not to be taken lightly either. It is not a curse, you’re not undesirable, and there’s nothing wrong with you! (I’m saying this in case any of you are like me- I thought terrible things about myself when I was single…) God deems being unmarried as a gift. Now, some of you think that gift is the equivalent of those ratchet pajamas your grandmother gave you that one Christmas, that you gave a weak smile to and said ‘thank you’, meanwhile on the inside you thought they were hideous and never wore them once. Not the same kind of gift, I assure you. You have a calling, an anointing on your life, and believe me, it took years for me to realize that too! You’re not alone. Your marital status is NOT an accident, and it’s NOT something that needs fixing.
Your ministry opportunities are endless because “an unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world-how she can please her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:34-35). What a beautiful calling to “be concerned with the Lord’s affairs”. You are a force to be reckoned with..And my advice to you is to start learning to submit to and respect others now, just in case God has a spouse in store for your future.
I hope this letter to you, my beautiful sister in Christ, helps and encourages you today. You are a masterpiece and God is working for your good. Perhaps the ‘taste’ of submission and respect for you will morph into a rich, full-bodied and sweet flavor as you trust Jesus. I’ll be praying for you!
Here are some devotional, thought pondering questions I wanted to leave you with.
- What are you trusting God with? What are you not trusting Him with? What do you need to take your hands off of and surrender to Him today?
- I’m sorry that was 3 questions in one.
- Do you feel that your identity is in your relationship status?
- How is God teaching you to live within your calling?
- When was the last time you told your husband you respect him?
- What is your view of submission and how can you trust God more today?