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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Submitting To A Sinner - God's Commands Don't Change

"If my husband were godly, loving, caring, sensitive, (fill in appropriate adjective) then yea I would submit to him, but as he is, I just can't...at least not fully."

It sure is hard to submit to our husbands sometimes, especially because they are...sinners.

There is just no perfect (or even close to perfect) husband/man out there, and yet God calls us to submit anyway. Kinda like how God commands men to love their wives, sacrificing for them, even to the point of death - even when that wife is a nag, physically rejects him, and/or disrespects him (we all do this, don't we?). We are all guilty, but God's commands don't change. They don't change when our husband makes a wrong decision. They don't change when he hurts our feelings. They don't change when he doesn't read his bible every day or sing loud enough in church or...

Do you want your husband to succeed or fail? If you want him to succeed in this life (for whatever eternal purpose God has carved out for him, whether you know what it is or not), you must submit yourself to your husband's authority...in all things (but sin). It is more than the notion of "someone has to be the driver." It is an attitude of the heart that says, "I trust you God, so I will be my husband's biggest fan, his teammate, his lover, his best friend, his confidante, and his helper...even when I don't want to be."

Let's practice.

I have a challenge for you. For the next 24 hours I want you to say, "okay" to your husband, whatever he asks of you, even if you are in disagreement or don't want to. Oh, and you can't say it rolling your eyes or with a mocking tone - doesn't count that way! Be soft. Pray. Say, "okay."

Let me know how it goes.

"Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body." Ephesians 5:22,23 (Amplified)

"Women were taken out of a man's side and brought to him to help him and complete him in his work and as a person; their partnership in work is indispensable and interdependent...man's headship and woman's membership in marriage are implicit from creation," (Five Aspects of Woman).

Articles of Interest From Like A Warm Cup Of Coffee

Ex Prep: Something Greater

Your Loyalty & Your Heart

Marriage is Hard, Part 1

Articles of Interest From Other Sites

Submission: A Lot More Than Giving In, Biblical Principles In Radically Loving Our Husbands

The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission

(This post is linked with Your Life, Your Blog - check it out!)


Debbie said...

GREAT post! God's word stands regardless of anything on the human timeline! This has been a hard lesson for me to learn - to submit to my human husband - but it first requires my submission to GOD (like you posted before) and when that lines up, the rest falls into place. Not always without struggle, but submission to God puts me in the right frame of mind to do what He asks!

Anonymous said...

I am so sad to say I am going to have to boy out from your blog until this one is over. :( I see my dear Christian friend verbally abused daily, harshly, meanly, by her "believing" husband day in and day out.

I don't believe God is so "boxy" that she should say "okay" no matter what. Being treated like nothing more than dust on the bottom of an arrogant, uncaring man's shoe is not God's plan for this dear sister.

I think we need to be careful with blanket challenges. Life is more real than that, and harsh. God has a purpose in all that He allows to touch our lives, but He does not expect our answer to always be "okay" to those hurting us.

Miss Eyebright said...

This also applies to daughters, since submitting our fathers is practice for submitting to our husbands, so I am going to try this challenge, too.

Thank you for sharing!
Have a very bright, very cheerful day!
Miss Eyebright

Isabel said...

I truely believe that submitting to your husband brings peace, and even if the husband does not always make the right decisions, because he is not infallible, ultimately, God blesses our obedience, and "all things will work together gor good". As a catholic I embrace this teaching fully.

I'd like to share more, but since it is a very private matter I will stop here with this comment.


Anonymous said...

This is a very tough one and one many people do not embrace well.

I don't know, anonymous, God's plan for your friend's life, but I do know God never promised us a life free from trial or persecution, no matter what we feel about it or what we think of Him. God is God and we are not. We are living in a fallen, sinful world and there is death all around us. Do you think anything passes God's eye? Whatever is done is done with His permission, whether we believe that to be of God's character or not. I say this with as much compassion as I can possibly muster and not with a preachy or know-it-all tone, so please hear this in the manner it was intended.

We all face trials in different seasons and different capacities. I do not pretend to know her circumstances or understand her situation, but God knows. She cannot be responsible for her husband actions, but she can be responsible for hers.

1 Peter 2:20 says 1 Peter 2:20 (NASB)
20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

We were created for the glory of God - not for our own glory. We were created to suffer as Christ suffered.

Your friend must submit herself (if she hasn't fully yet) to the authority of God and her husband will answer to God for his authority, and abuse of it, as she will answer to God for her response to her husband, even while he causes her to suffer. The next chapter of Peter talks about husbands and wives following suit.

Unfortunately for many's beliefs, I believe, and the Bible repeatedly states, God expects us to endure more "wrong doing" and "abuse from others" then we ourselves would like to admit.

It is easy to love those who are lovable. Even the world can do that. We are called to love our enemies and those who mistreat us. Love according to 1 Cor. 13, not our own feeble minds.

Luke 6:27-36 (NASB)
27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
31 "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 "If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 "If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Again, I understand this is not embraced well by many, but it is Biblical and if we love God and His Word, we must believe it. It is certainly not an easy thing to embrace, I agree! What God is our strength and with Him we can accomplish anything. Even true salvation and restoration for abusive husbands. Your friend has plenty of hope to cling to.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

To Anonymous: I don't believe that God would want anyone to be a slave to fear- as people who are abused in any way are- you can submit to your husband without submitting to abusive behavior. That is a very personal issue between a woman and God. I certainly don't think the writer intended to make this a "blanket challenge".

With that said, God doesn't provide 'out' clauses to many of the difficult things He asks of His people- honor your father and mother doesn't say anything about whether or not they are "good" parents, love your enemy can't be much clearer.

I wholeheartedly agree, no matter how difficult, that we are to adhere to God's word, whether it is comfortable for us or not. Great post!

Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

oh, i am so blessed to have my husband...he makes it so easy to be a "submissive wife." but i'm sure there are areas he would like me to let go of my way in. i will pay attention to them this week/weekend. it'll be fun to see if he notices, too:)

Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

oh, i just read Anon's comment. I am so sad for her friend.

Sarah said...

To Anonymous
Our bible study read Love and Respect by Emerson Egglerich this year. In that book he talks about the rewards that God has for us when we as wives make the choice to respect our husbands even if they don't deserve it and even if they are unloving to us.

I will accept this challenge.
(Note: I do not have an unloving husband)

Jacque said...

I am very sorry for Anonymous's friend and those wives who endure this in their marriages.
My thoughts and admonitions are the same as what christinnjon said.

It may seem backwards in this world of "our rights", but God's ways have purposes we do not understand most of the time. It is not always ours to know, but many times just ours to do.

"His grace is sufficient for me."
blessings and His Peace be upon you~

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I'm the second one to bow out until this is done. I'll argue until the cows come home that women and men ARE made differently, better suited to different roles. I'll agree with Isabel's point that "all things work together for good". However, I'd encourage her and anyone else openminded enough to read over Pope John Paul's "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women." My Catholic belief is that marriage calls for mutual submission. Both parties must die to themselves to become one in marriage. Did Jesus not die to become savior of his Church? And so the Church (those people that make up the Church) must deny it's own selfish desires to follow Christ. This is what is meant by the comparison of marriage to the relationship of Christ and the Church. Anyway, until you're all done submitting, I'm out.

Anonymous said...

Arguing and debating make no difference. Friends, we must understand this is God's Word, not mine or that of any other's. I've written the passages out as they are laid out in the Bible. Until we can fully submit to God and His authority, we will never submit to the authority even here on earth - namely our husbands.

Christ suffered and died for all humanity - yet how many of them spat in His face and still continue to do so? We have the choice to make on whether we will submit to Him or not. Just as we do with our husbands. Christ's suffering is the perfect example of persecution. He did not DESERVE to die, but He died just the same. And why? For many reasons, but ultimately: to bring Glory to God.
We are called to do the same, in some capacity or another, but either way our flesh and spirits must be prepared for such a battle. We cannot continue to hide under what we believe to be right because it makes us feel good. God's Truths are not always easy to embrace or even understand, but they remain God's Truth's just the same - and they beckon to be followed by a loving God who's son suffered and died for us. We OWE Him our lives. We have become slaves to Him and His ways, not ours.
If our hearts are not open to hearing the Truth of God's Word, we will only continue to live in rebellion to it. We must set ourselves aside, in every capacity. NO, not easy, but it all starts in our minds and with our beliefs. If we are not willing to let go of our own belief of things and embrace what God has asked of us, God is going to have an awful hard time trying to get through to us, friends.

Anne Basso said...

That really is a challenge! But I'm in. I'll let you know how it goes. =)

Moody said...

Great article Sarah...
It is very hard sometimes, I wrote something close to what you wrote a few weeks back...

Sarah Mae said...

Anonymous (both of you) - please don't bow out! I want to continue the discussion and address your very valid points. I cannot do it tonight (I am way too tired), but they deserve a thoughtful response in a post of their own. Please stick around and hear me out...and continue to share!

Rachal said...

Thanks for your encouragement! I wanted to say that I do believe in practicing submission all the time. Maybe I should change the wording on my blog link. :) I didn't mean to say that I should only say Ok, whenever I decide. :) What I meant was the "24 hour Ok-to-everything" is a great excercise! I am still trying to figure out when my husband wants me to engage in a warm debate or discussion and when he really wants me to do exactly what he requests! :) Thanks so much for all you do for the blogging world!

Anna said...

I will do this. I have to admit that is is pretty easy with my husband though, so I will add on looking for things that he doesn't ask for, but I know will support or encourage him.

As far as the anon comments. I don't think submitting means submitting to abuse. I would tell someone who is being physically abused to leave immediately. Verbal/emotional abuse is a harder line to draw. I will be interested to see what else everyone has to say about it.

Kris said...

Awesome post. My husband and I have been talking about this one a lot lately. I'll try it and let you know!

Angie Mae said...

Thank you so much for your post. It really hit home with me and I know it is something I need to do for my marriage. I will take your challenge.

Dusty said...

I just read this post this morning, and I am going to accept this challenge! I've been struggling severely in this area of my life lately, and need to do a "refresher course" so to speak!

I have to agree, as well, that God commands us to submit, no matter our circumstances, to our husbands, despite their behavior, and it saddens me to know there are so many women out there that deal with unbelieving, or unloving husbands.

mom-2-4 said...

Sounds good, I'm in for this challenge. The Lord opened my eyes a few years back about being more submissive to my husband, not just in the things I did for him- but for the way in which I did them- in a joyful way. So this post is a good reminder for me. It's funny because on Monday I'll be posting 3 of my own challenges for any mom/wife/Christian that wants to join. and one of the missions pertains to us as wives, a way that will bless our husbands. I guess we're on the same wave length.
Julianne :)

WhiteStone said...

Hi, landed here for the first time via another blog. I am a Christian woman, married to a Godly man for the past 20 years. And I agree with the Biblical mandate to submit to your husband. However my first marriage was to an abusive man who damaged me as well as my daughter. Should I have continued to submit to him? Absolutely not. Even if we (as Christian women) believe we must submit to a man who abuses us (as wife) physically, mentally, emotionally, we do well to be cautious about suggesting that a woman submit to a man who abuses his children. There are Biblical mandates there as well and a woman who allows a man (any man) to abuse her children is herself vicariously guilty of abuse. Better for her to have a millstone hung around her own neck and to be tossed into the sea right along with him. There is simply no scripture that allows a woman to allow a husband to be an unGodly tyrant of a man who abuses his children either sexually, mentally, emotionally. God forbid.

Proverbs 27:19 said...

Okay, so I am late again which means my 24 hours start now and I will let you know how it goes.

This is a great exercise for us to try Sarah! Great idea. I tend to say to Anton, well let's try this or that when he says something. It's rare, I may even be able to say never, that I just say okay and go with it!


Muthering Heights said...

Communicating the need for a submissive heart can be sucj a challenge...I admire you for taking this one on!

WhiteStone said...

Thank you, Sarah, for your response to my email. I talked to my hubby about your post regarding submission. He sees a wife's role as being one of "helper" and expects me to express my opinions. He believes a wife should be a good helpmate for her husband, encouraging him in his walk with the Lord and encouraging him in his role as husband, father, provider. Sadly, though, not every wife has a God-loving husband. We should be in prayer for those Christian women (and men) who bear heavy burden. Still...my advice to a woman whose husband is abusing her or her children is to seek Godly counsel and, if necessary, to leave (with her children in tow) and if leaving to make certain she and the children are safe. It may be that they can be later reconciled, but in many cases she may be in danger, and there can be no reconciliation. As for the verse that mentions 'adultery' as the only grounds for divorce, I maintain he adulterated the relationship by making his own 'power' his idol. Not to mention the adulterous role that pornography, etc., may play in his life.
So I sum with this: continue to exhort Christian women to love, honor and respect their husbands, but also recognize that God does not require wives to bow down to abuse, either verbal, mental, emotional or physical especially when it involves children. In the best of all worlds, God-honoring wives would love, encourage, and lift up God-honoring husbands. But this is a sinful world, full of sinful people. And we are to be people of discernment.
Bless you as you continue to minister to women. This post will keep you hopping for some days. Do not be discouraged for this is a difficult topic.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

I am enjoying seeing all the discussion on this one Sarah Mae! I agree with you. And, Christin - I am applauding you - so well said and just following the Bible!

The Neppers said...

Sarah Mae,

Just getting hip with these posts now. Very challenging stuff, and its wonderful to see how closely you stick to scripture.

This is definitely an area where I need some work. I think its so easy to do this and to do that, but I think my problem is my heart attitude. Am I doing it because I feel I have to, or because I love my husband and want to honor him, and ultimately honor Jesus.

Keep preaching the word Sister. Its hard stuff, but its good stuff!

Thank you.

Laura said...

Visiting from Share Your Blog linky. My ex never went to church, never read his Bible, but when there was an argument, he always brought up that verse...go figure.

Anne Basso said...

I took your challenge and wrote about it here: http://whitewashedfeminist.com/2009/06/07/an-exercise-in-submission/