Our pastor is in the process of tackling the whole “biblical submission” thing…( I wouldn’t want his email “in box” over the next few weeks…;)
It is a HUGE deal and a daunting challenge…don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. It’s a huge deal mostly because biblical submission is more often misunderstood than not…and it seems to be smacking the women in head with a 2×4 and giving us guys a pass…that couldn’t be further from the truth.
This past Sunday David asked wives to think about submission this way:
Submission = following the leadership of…
That’s a more benign way of saying the same thing…maybe. But until the next translation of the Bible…the text still says submit…and it is still an issue in many marriages. The spotlight always seems to shine on the wife when we talk about submission in marriage. And in truth I do believe that hers is the more difficult calling…especially when we husbands are not loving, acting and leading like Christ in our homes.
With some biblical commands there is a pay-off at the completion of it.
- “Children obey your parents….that your days may be long on the earth.”
- “If my people will humble themselves and pray I will forgive their sins and heal their land.”
- “If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”
We’re not talking about context here, just scripture that includes a specific promise if obeyed.
I’m convinced that submissiveness with the right attitude is its own reward…it’s own pay-off. It’s the rue of a good, godly marriage. Think about it…when the rue is right, the soup is right. Burn the rue and it’s tough to make a good soup…no matter what you throw in to cover up the fact that it’s burnt. (I know marriage isn’t soup…OK?)
If you don’t like the soup analogy, perhaps you can think about it this way: Our lives are instruments crafted in the Master’s hand…We are designed from birth to make beautiful music…that honors the Master.
We all like to think we have something to add to help God out when there is a difficult passage of scripture in front of us…we don’t…not really. At best we might suggest an analogy or a different way of saying the same thing. But at worst we could literally be “adding to scripture” which is spiritual suicide. I say that because my intent here is simply to help me think about submission in a context I understand…and perhaps you’ll understand it a little better along with me.
Submission in marriage is like an unwritten song. It is a blank music staff that we (husband and wife) are privileged to write our own life’s song on. In a good song you’ll find that with each note of melody there is a corresponding note of harmony. Yea there are a few solos here and there…but without harmony…the song feels empty. It would seem that God has given the husband the melody line and the wife fills out the song with the harmony. Here’s the thing…there can be no harmony without melody. So it follows that there is no harmony in marriage without our wives’ part. In any song there may be occasional discord or a “rub” that resolves a few measures later in the score. But as the musical rules are applied correctly, the song that is written with our lives is beautifully unique in its sound and meter.
But where is the voice to this beautiful song we are writing together? How does the rest of the world hear it so they can appreciate the rich melodies and intricate harmonies written in the fire of trial and pain as well as in comfort and delight?
Well…the world can’t hear it…but they can see it!
In fact, the world (including our children) watches as we write. Sometimes to our credit and sometimes to our shame. But they see it nonetheless. And it is not simply a reflection on us as people but on the One we say we serve.
The fact is that there are no guarantees as to how this all plays out for us. There are no promises that life will be copacetic if submission is intentional, willfull and accomplished with the right attitude. There are no formulas. This is about two sinful people intentionally living in love with each other in a God-honoring way, in front of God himself, family and the world.
When we get married we agree to love honor and commit In sickness and in health. Do we pull out the marriage rule book the first time our spouses do something we don’t like? What is the glue that keeps us bonded? Wife, why submit to a jerk of a husband? Husband, why abandon being a jerk and the selfish lifesyle that accompanies jerk-ness? The glue is love…we love through it all.
If we are believers then our first love is the Lord… who requires an all-encompassing, self-sacrificing love. If God had simply written about that love we might find it harder to love that way…but Christ lived out that love for us. He showed us what love looked like.
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church…could there be a higher calling to love?Guys…we can’t say we don’t know what it means to love our wives as Christ loved the church. We can only choose to love her that way… or not. Shame on us if we choose the wrong.
I don’t know about you…but I’m committed to making beautiful music with my wife.
Let’s let the song of our marriage be so compelling that the love of Christ shines out, drawing us closer to each other and drawing others to our Savior…the source of music.