>Thank you for joining me for the second and final installment of Freedom in Submission.
Part 1, regarding inerrancy of Scripture and the stumbling block of pride can be found here.
Now another common reason that the doctrine of submission is rejected is distrust. Distrust of man and distrust of God.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the Word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives. ~1 Peter 3:1
What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
The Bible is clear that there will be men who do not obey the command to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25). Understandably, women do not want to submit to their husbands in these circumstances. At this point, we need to ask ourselves…do we trust God? As Christians (whether men or women), our allegiance is to the Lord first and foremost. If your husband asks you to sin (adultery, stealing, etc), you are right to say no. Of course if you or your children are in danger of physical harm, you should seek help from your church and/or the law. But what if your husband is simply choosing to lead his family down a path that is unwise? What if he is choosing not to lead at all? Worse, still, what if he has perverted the Word of God and is lording his headship over you in ways that are cruel and demeaning? There are no easy answers in situations like this, and your road is most certainly a difficult one. There is, however, someone who is faithful to love you, to be trustworthy, to redeem everything about you, your marriage and your circumstances…Jesus Christ.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28
It is helpful if you consider your dilemma with an eternal perspective. When you read 1 Peter 3:1, the focus is not on who is smarter, who is right, or who has more experience in any given situation; and there is no disclaimer that says a wife should submit only if her husband leads correctly. The focus is on eternity. If your husband is not walking with God, whether it be for a season or as a lifestyle, the primary importance is that he be reconciled to Him. If you demonstrate that you love the Lord and obey His Word, only as it suits you, how does that make you a credible witness? If you only trust God when His will conforms to what you think is right, how can you ever convince anyone (ie: your husband) that He is trustworthy?
Distrust leads to worry, and ultimately to lack of faith.
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? ~Luke 12:25-26
God is trustworthy. He is faithful. He has not abandoned you. You don’t have to grab the wheel and take over. You are being sanctified; and it will be easier to see that if you keep your eyes on Him, rather than yourself, your husband and your circumstances.
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith, as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He promised. ~Romans 4:20-21
We’ve looked at three major issues that contribute to the rejection of submission – selective obedience to Scripture, pride and distrust. Lastly, I’d like to address how this view of Biblical marriage plays out practically…it is through faith.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him. ~2 Chronicles 16:9a
The doctrine of headship within marriage (as well as within the Trinity) comes from the Lord. Do you have faith that He knows what he’s doing? Can you see that it has more to do with conforming both the husband and wife to be more like Jesus, rather than assigning a certain spouse to be in charge? It really has less to do with the day to day business of life, and more to do with the process of sanctification.
Is your heart blameless toward God? Are you more concerned with being right, than being right before God? Do you have faith in your own abilities to orchestrate your life, or faith in God’s will? Is it more important to save your husband from making mistakes as he leads your family, or more important for him to experience spiritual growth as he learns through obedience? Does your heart have a “here and now” perspective or an eternal perspective?
God is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (all present) and omnipotent (all powerful).
When you have a proper understanding of this and faith in who God is, it takes the pressure off you in your God ordained role as helper. There is freedom in submission because you know that God knows the outcome, He is with you, and He is in control. There is freedom in using your gifts of wisdom, discernment, shepherding or whatever God has blessed you with, to minister to your husband as you advise & encourage him through the decisions your family makes. There is freedom in knowing that regardless of the outcome, your heart is blameless toward Him because you love your God and obey Him in faith.
…the righteousness of God is revealed from faith, for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” ~Romans 1:17