In The Myths of Submission, we learned that submission isn’t about making women inferior and men superior, nor is it about both husband and wife mutually submitting to each other. Submission is, however, a beautiful image of Christ’s relationship with the Church. Because of this image of the gospel, there are many wonderful truths about submission .
Biblical Definition: “putting yourself under” or “submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love.” (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Walter Bauer) This matches well with one of the English definitions: “to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.”
Just as Christians submit to each other voluntarily, children choose to submit to their parent’s authority; workers voluntarily decide to do what their bosses want; citizens choose to submit to their government’s authority; wives choose whether or not they’ll submit to their husbands. God doesn’t force submission; He desires it from you and wants you to trust Him by submitting to His will for your life. Anytime God asks you to do something it’s always for your best. That’s the beauty of His plan.
2. In Everything!
This is the part I have a really hard time with. What if he’s wrong? What if he’s not following Christ right now? What if my opinion is right? Then I’m reminded of Eph. 5:24 and I know as I’m subject to Christ in all areas of my life, I’m also subject to my husband. Now, that doesn’t mean that if your husband asks you to lie, steal, or murder that you have to obey him because he would be asking you to sin. Christ is your ultimate authority and if what your husband is asking you to do blatantly goes against Scripture then you answer to Christ first and foremost.
BUT if you and your husband have to decide to sell the car or not and he decides to sell it, then submission means yeilding to that decision. If Christ asked you to do something you didn’t want to do, would you submit to Him or not? You would be compelled to and the same goes for your husband’s decisions. Believe me, I understand having to submit to your husband when you disagree. There have been times when I didn’t think my husband made the choice I wanted, but since Scripture commands me to submit, ineverything, I trusted that God would protect us and I voluntarily submitted to my husband’s leading. So just as you’re commanded to submit to Christ in everything, you should also be submissive to your own husband in everything. (Eph.5:22-24, Col. 3:18)
Thankfully, the Lord honors obedience. If your husband has been making some decisions you disagree with but you obey your Heavenly Father, He will protect you and bless you because of your obedience (1 John 3:24). God will take care of your husband but your responsibility is obeying God and He’s asked you to submit to your husband. It’s a huge trust builder in your relationship with God when you see Him work in your life and bless your life, all because you laid down your own will and obeyed God’s will. He promises to take care of those who follow His commands and He will bless your obedience to His Word.
4. A Battle With the Flesh
I’m going to say something that might sound kinda harsh. If you have a problem with submission then you have a pride problem, whether that’s submission to your husband, your boss, your parents, or God. Believe me, I’ve been there, I understand. My flesh battles daily with submission to Christ and to my husband because I’m a prideful, sinful being. I want my way and I don’t want to serve anyone but myself. That’s why God’s way is so radically different from the way our flesh wants to go and why it seems so contrary to what our culture believes.
Following Christ means living in a radically different way and the truth is: If you won’t submit to your husband then you won’t submit to God – because submission to your husband is submission to God. When you refuse to follow God’s role for you as a wife, you’re saying you know better than God and His role of submission isn’t best.
Interestingly enough, I’ve never heard someone argue against submission but also say “How dare you ask me to love my wife!” or “Commanding a husband to love his wife was only for that culture, it doesn’t apply to us anymore.” Why do we reject the Scriptural mandates that ask us to give up of ourselves but we wholeheartedly welcome those that make others give up of themselves for our benefit? Because our flesh despises authority (2 Pet.2:10) and it wars within us wanting to satisfy its selfish desires. Submitting to your husband’s leading goes against every fleshly thing within us; because if you did, Satan knows the Gospel would be furthered and Christ would look attractive to the world (Titus 2).
Do you trust God that He has your best in mind when He asks you to submit to your husband?
When God’s people follow His design for marriage then it’s a beautiful and complementary unit. If you ask my husband, my friends, or my family they would say that I do submit to my husband and I’m loving marriage! Alex is my leader and my head, but he’s also my equal. When there are decisions to be made, we talk it out, I give my opinion, he gives his, and usually we agree but the final responsibility rests on his shoulders, along with the positive and negative consequences.
Since these roles are so fundamental and crucial to the Gospel, it’s of utmost importance to marry someone who follows Christ and His Word, respects and cares for you, and walks in wisdom. Since Alex is my spiritual leader, he disciples me, and I seek his advice for my life decisions because I trust his leading and what would be best for our family, which strengthens our marriage. This was a hard thing for me to begin to do since I’m an independent person. Then I got married and I learned I had to not only involve Alex in my decisions, I had to submit to his leading. It was a struggle at first, but as I’ve obeyed Scripture’s commands and experienced Alex’s care, wisdom, and love, I now desire his leading and trust him. It’s awesome to be able to share life and the burden of decisions with someone else.
With obedience to Scripture, comes truly seeing and experiencing the beauty of the plan God intended when He asked wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to love and sacrifice for their wives. Alex sharpens me with his leading and I sharpen him with my submission. We live life together, study together, debate together, and wrestle over life’s decisions together. The more I submit to Christ’s leading in my life, I grow both in my relationship with God and with Alex.
You may be asking, “Why the big deal over submission?” It’s a big deal about it because there’s a lot at stake: The Gospel. Submission is commanded so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2) Marriage mirrors the Gospel and when the roles within that marriage get distorted then the Gospel is distorted. We must stick with what the Bible says and submit to the Lord’s calling, no matter how different it make look in our world. Our roles as wives matter because it shows Christ to the world.
The husband’s role in mirroring the Gospel matters just as much as the wife’s so we’re having an actual husband address the guy’s side of things. Also, in July we’ll be having an interview on the practical side of marriage, submission, and husband leadership. But, until then, I hope you’ll come back to Unlocking Femininity on June 28 to read about God’s role for husbands and how that affects the Gospel!