It seems to be a season of weddings again. I know several couples either recently married, recently engaged and planning a wedding or seriously dating and approaching that engagement phase. It seems fitting in that light that my reading today was in Ephesians where Paul is giving advise to husbands and wives.
The opening language is to wives and uses words that today frustrate many women. That infamous word is submit. He says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Eph 5:22-24)
It’s only two verses but many women are often bothered by that phrase to ‘submit to your own husband’. And out of context, forgetting the advice for husbands that follows in the next eight verses… I can see that. However in context, with proper explanation and understanding, and in combination with the following eight verses to husbands… that word submit becomes something rather easy to do.
You see the remainder of the chapter focuses on the instructions for husbands and is four times as long.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
While submitting is simply placing your own mission as part of a larger mission. In this wives place their own goals and desires as part of the overall goals and desires of her husband. Her mission is ‘sub’ to his mission. Not lesser, but part of.
However, a husband’s instruction is to love his wife to the extent that Christ loved the church. Think about that message. Christ loved the church so much, that His mission was to die for her. He literally laid His life down. Think about it from this perspective… just how much Christ gave up for His bride.
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
When a wife lives up to her instructions, she places her mission inside of her husband’s mission. But when a husband lives up to his instructions, his mission is to die to himself for her. When a husband follows his instructions to the point of laying his own ambitions down for his wife, she finds it very easy to submit.
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