Monday, May 21, 2007

Ducking Low Enough

Marriage is very underrated today. In reality, it is a piece of priceless art. Picasso and Van Gough could only dream of creating a masterpiece that rivals that of marriage. Picture the marriage relationship as a blank canvass on which the master artist, God Himself, desires to paint a beautiful painting for the world to see. In Ephesians 5:22-24, we see the role the wife plays in this masterpiece. The Apostle Paul is addressing every Christian wife. There are no exceptions.

Each wife is told to be “subject” to their husband. This Biblical principle causes many women today to grimace. This is due to the fact that most women do not understand what submission really means. Submission is not slavery. It is a military word used to describe lining up for battle under someone’s direction. In essence, submission is choosing to recognize that God put an authority in your life and then to place yourself under that authority. Why would God put the husband as an authority over the wife? God gives us authorities for one reason…our protection. That is why we have parental leaders (Ephesians 6:1-2); governmental leaders (Romans 13:1); and even church leaders (Hebrews 13:7, 17). God loves wives so much that He put someone into their life to be their protector. How cool is that? The idea of submission does not carry any connotation of inferiority. Paul wrote the same thing in Colossians 3:18 as did Peter in 1 Peter 3:1. We shouldn’t be amazed that it is often resisted. The resistance to this divine order goes all the way back to Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden (Genesis 3:16).

But Paul doesn’t just tell wives to be subject to their husbands. He tells her to do so “as to the Lord.” In other words, submission isn’t really a marital thing. It is really a spiritual issue. A wife who properly submits to her husband also submits to the Lord. A wife who does not submit to her husband does not submit to the Lord. But why should the wife submit to her husband? Paul says because “the husband is the head of the wife.” God has made the husband the functional head of the family for the purpose of protecting the family. This does not mean that the husband makes all the decisions and the wife’s opinion doesn’t count (see Genesis 2:24). This means that it is the husband that God will hold responsible for the marriage and the family. If you ask me, ladies, you got the better end of the deal. That is why I like to say that submission is ducking low enough so that when God swings He hits your husband.

But it is the next part of Ephesians 5 that is amazing. The wife is to be subject to her husband “as the church is subject to Christ.” As I stated at the beginning, the wife, through the way she responds to the leadership of her husband, is a picture to the world of how the church is to respond to the leadership of Christ. Ladies, when people look at your marriage (and they will) and they see the way that you respond to your husband’s leadership, they should see more than a beautiful wife. They should see a picture of the way the church responds to the leadership of the Lord Jesus. That’s one part of the masterpiece of marriage. And as we will see next week, the husband doing his role can make the wife’s job very easy or very difficult.

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