- I know more than him in this situation
- He's not seeing the big picture
- I don't trust his instincts
- He's blown it before
- He doesn't know what he's talking about
- I'm smarter than he is
- He's not trustworthy
- This is not how my parents did it
- We are equals in this home
- I make more than he does, he can follow my lead every once in a while
- I don't know another woman who would put up with this
- What? Submit? Have you met my husband?
Monday, January 16, 2017
Following Blues - Part 2
...yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you...
As hard as it is to submit, knowing that it is God's will for wives to follow their husband's lead should be enough for us to choose to do it. But God wants more than forced obedience. He wants you to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. So spending some more time on the submission command may give us more insight and understanding to our calling.
What I want to focus on today is why submission is so hard. We think we know why it's so hard and here's what we tell ourselves:
These are excuses but not the real reason why submission is so hard for women. The real reason is given to us in the third chapter of the Bible, where God records the story of humanity's fall from grace. There are a lot of things about this story that I'd love to know, but we aren't given every inflection and every detail. For example, it says, "...she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate...", so how was he with her? Was he there for the whole conversation? I think I want the answer to be yes, just so that there is complicity in the act, but that's just me trying to make women less guilty.
Which leads me to the actual reason why submission is so difficult. In Genesis 3:16-19, God is laying out the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin. For Adam, to provide for his family will now be hard work and not the joy that God intended. We see this in our society's attitude toward work - we hate it. We long for three-day weekends. Work less, play more is our mantra. And the truth is, all over the world, to provide and care for a family is hard. Not only does the ground not produce as it should, but people are dishonest and mean. The competitive work environment is not meant for unity and growth, but for self-promotion. To get ahead you have to be willing to fight for what's yours and sometimes take what is not.
For women, the consequence of sin is different. It's two-pronged. First is the difficulty of bearing children. This is not simply the pain of childbirth, but all the complications that come from being able to bear a child: periods, cramping, infertility, high blood pressure, low iron levels, menopause, labor and delivery complications, stitches, hysterectomies, ectopic pregnancies, tilted uterus - and the list goes on and on. All of these things are not God's perfect plan for the female body, but because of sin and the brokenness of even our genetics, there is much pain and sorrow.
But the second prong is why we struggle to submit. God said, "Your desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you." Our desire, what we want more thank anything, deep down, at the core of who we are - our desire is to rule over our husband but God is keeping him in his created place, as the head of the family. Man's headship is not a consequence of the fall - it was a pre-sin assignment. God created woman in a helper role and in a perfect world, it would still be our calling to willingly place ourselves under our husband's authority. But because of sin, we now have this inner, fleshly force, pushing against his rule.
Submission is hard because our sin nature is so strong. I know many of us think that since we've been saved, all our sin has magically disappeared but all we have to do is take a look in the mirror when our husbands make a decision we don't like and we'll find it bubbling to the surface. That inner turmoil, that voice that lists out why we shouldn't follow his lead is our sin nature talking.
Sigh. Take a breath, ladies. And then, when your done arguing in your mind why this is not true, let the actual truth sink in. Our wrestling with God's command is that inner struggle that Paul described in Romans 7, where he says, "...For the good that I want, I do not do, but practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me..."
The struggle is real. We want to obey the Lord and everything in us is fighting against it. We talk ourselves out of obedience, justifying our defiance rather than humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord and before our husbands, knowing that it is our sin nature that we are truly wrestling with.
I love how Paul reconciles his struggle: Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! There's our answer, ladies. We must take our eyes from the horizontal position and get them on Jesus. We must close our ears to the droning of our sin nature and listen the Spirit. And we are able to do this because Jesus broke the chains of our bondage to sin. We have another voice to hear because of His mercy and sacrifice.
So for those of you who don't think you have this problem, when you come upon a disagreement with your husband, write down what you are saying in your head, word for word. When you are done, compare your thoughts to God's call, Wives, be subject to your husbands as unto the Lord, and determine, are the thoughts in my head of God or of my flesh? The answer to that might surprise you.