Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Making a Christian Marriage #3

by Betty Jackson

What Is Submission?

Is it difficult for us to be in submission to our husbands, or the leadership of the church? Do we understand what biblical submission is?

Let’s think about what it is not. Biblical submission is not enduring physical or verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is not the same as saying regretful words during a disagreement. It is the habitual attack of degrading and threatening words. It creates fear and discouragement. 

Discouragement in marriage is not necessarily a sign of abuse. It does suggest there is work to be done. Creating a good marriage is not always simple. It is easier for some than for others. The history of each spouse affects the marriage. That history can be helpful, or create hurdles.

What then is the biblical meaning of submission? Is it required of only women? No, submission is a way of thinking and accepting God’s designated leaders, as they lead according to his Word. (Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 13:17).  When we consider the needs of another above our own, we are submitting (Philippians 2:1-7).

A good husband makes it an honor to submit to his delegated authority. That authority is a responsibility, and not a position of dictatorship. Submission is recognizing and accepting another’s authority over you. A man cannot force a woman to have a submissive attitude. An abused wife or child may submit out of fear or other reasons, but that is not biblical submission.  

In some situations, submission may be difficult, perhaps due to the lack of spirituality in the mate. Through the apostle Peter, the Lord demands the attitude of submission, even to a non-Christian (1 Peter 3:1ff). A godly woman will work to develop the prescribed gentle, quiet demeanor and conduct. That is the kind of lady who can expect more influence on her mate than the nagging wife that Solomon knew about (Proverbs 19:13; 21:9; 25:24; 27:15)!

The call of the modern feminists to be assertive, to stand up for your rights, don’t let a man tell you what to do, find yourself, etc. has influenced a significant number of women. Robin Morgan was the editor of a radical feminist magazine. She, with Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem established another media outlet propagating the hysterical feminist agenda. Ms. Morgan stated, "I feel that 'man-hating' is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them" (http://www.azquotes.com/author/10390-Robin_Morgan). Such hateful dispositions will not bring happiness! And the bitterness fostered by the feminists is condemned by God.

According to the late Judge Robert Bork, feminists have had influence upon curricula used in elementary and high school. They are teaching our girls these putrid ideas through various outlets. Question: Have they influenced us? I am afraid that many women have absorbed much of these ideas without realizing it. It surfaces within the home and the church. There are even “women preachers and elders” in some congregations claiming to be the church of Christ. It has become popular to suggest that Paul's instruction in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 are cultural, and not time lasting based upon principals of creation and the fall (1 Tim. 2:13-14; 1 Cor. 11:1-16).

The characteristics of a woman who has submission problems are nagging, bitterness, resentment, and bossiness. She habitually contradicts her husband. She looks down on him as beneath her. Such a woman may make all the decisions for the family, or secretly do things behind his back. She may squander their money. She may even be flirtatious with other men by actions or the way she dresses.

In contrast, the godly wife recognizes her role. "Scripture indicates that it is the wife's responsibility to be submissive. Nowhere is the husband commanded to physically force his wife into submissions. Rather the wife is commanded to make herself submissive (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:1" (Ken Wilson, p. 51). 

Such a woman is characterized by wise and kind words (Proverbs 31:26). She  is a strong, dignified and modest woman in the way she speaks and carries herself (vs. 25a). She has a sense of humor, instead of always being ready to be offended (vs. 25b). She has a spirit of gentleness and quietness (in contrast to boisterous vulgarity or sensuous speech). She is a calm person. She is a help to her husband. She is wise enough to be his best friend and counselor. 

Let us all seek to be more submissive to the Lord by being respectful in the way we interact with our mates and church leaders.

Consider this: 

Read 1 Peter 3:1-6 two times this week. 
See: 1 Corinthians 11:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:8-15.) 

Try this: 

Evaluate yourself. Think about ways you can improve your attitude of submissiveness? Do you treat your mate with respect? Being respectful does not mean you ignore problems, but it does show how communication is to be done.

Do this: 

Step back a bit! Instead of forging ahead, help your husband to lead you, by considering him as God’s leader. Don’t make all decisions by yourself. Consult him. If you have a different perspective, talk it over without being condescending.

Can you think of anything you could do this coming week that would help your husband spend time studying his Bible? Can you clear some time for him? Perhaps he isn’t willing. Be creative in conversation about spiritual matters, such as a recent Bible class or sermon. 

Recommended Reading

Bork, Robert. Slouching Towards Gomorrah. 1996. Regan Books: HarperCollins Publishers. New York, NY.
Jackson, Wayne. The Role of Woman.
Jackson, Wayne. In What Sense Is Man the Head of Woman? https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1137-in-what-sense-is-man-the-head-of-woman
Wilson, Ken. The Christian Home by God's Design. 2004. Star Bible & Tract Corp. Fort Worth, TX.

Memorize this:

Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

Questions To Ponder

1. Define submission.
2. How may a woman convert her husband to the gospel?    Give a scripture reference.  
3. List some ways to encourage spiritual thinking in one’s mate.
4. Look up the references in this lesson from the book of Proverbs. Make a list of descriptives of the unpleasant woman.
5.Try to sincerely (not phony) compliment your mate about his work or something he has done for you.