I am blessed beyond measure to be able to lead a group of ladies at our church through a book called "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn. It is an awesome book and if you get the chance to read it, I HIGHLY suggest it. It is an easy, short read and opens our eyes to the male psyche and why they react the way they do at times. We really do see and hear things differently! Now, because we are doing this at the church and the book isn't overtly Christian, I have searched through scripture to learn how we can be Godly wives. Since it is always such a popular topic we began our first night with the topic of respect and submission.
There is such a sad stigma related to the word submission. If we truly believe that God wants to prosper us and not to harm us and has good plans for us that glorify Him, why are we afraid of this concept that is clearly outlined in scripture(1 Peter 3:1-6)? I know that years of this topic being twisted have damaged it greatly, but I want to know when, as Christian women, are we going to take this back?
I think many people are against the idea of submission because they think that means that the woman is a lower human being or some how we lose worth. I think the opposite is true. We are completely equal in value in God's eyes, but I believe that just as our bodies are different, we were created to play different roles in life. These parts are not lesser or unimportant, they are vital and we will be called to give an account for the life that God gave us.
I want to be a submissive wife, I really do. I want to look to my husband and trust his judgment. I want to look to God to take care of me and guide me, no matter how Nathan is acting at the time. I want to react as a Godly wife, whether I feel that Nathan "deserves" it or not. My behavior, my choices have nothing to do with Nathan. It's hard to comprehend but I believe that is what God calls us to as Godly wives (unless abuse is involved, then get out so you can get healing).
Do not misunderstand me. I don't believe this is easy, not at all! This is probably the most difficult concept to put into practice. It is the opposite of my human desire just about every step of the way. Just because I want to does not mean that I am able or capable of it. It reminds me of Paul in Romans 7 "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." I know that it is only Christ through me that brings the power to submit to Nathan.
Have you ever read the verse "Then He (Jesus) said to them all: "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." (Luke 9:23). What does it look like to pick up our cross as a wife? Does it mean not always having to be right? Does it mean choosing to speak in a way that is beneficial to our husbands? Christ came as a servant, even to the point of death, can I even comprehend living that way? In day to day living what does that look like?
Tonight I think we touched on one way to deny ourselves. Our topic moved forward from respect and submission to our words. Many times women have pretty strong verbal ability. We are able to talk circles around our husbands and manipulate easily (sorry guys, but it is more true than you know). Yet the Bible says that the power of life and death are in our tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and God has said He has put before us life and death, blessings and curses and tells us "now choose life" (Deut 30:19-20). Our word choices are so vital to submitting and respecting our husbands and at the same time dying to ourselves. I never want to overhear Nathan telling someone he'd "rather live on the corner of a housetop" than with me. I want to be like the Proverbs woman because "her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (Proverbs 31:11-12 ) In fact in every avenue of life she "speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26) There are a ton of verses that talk about how we should use our words... just to name a few:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
So, I ask, how do we do this? How do we become these women? How do we die to ourselves, pick up our cross, and live submitted, respectful lives? The only answer can be through prayer and then making correct choices. If God does not make the changes in us and enable us to choose His ways then we will never, ever succeed. I can make a change for a few weeks, but then slowly I will slide back into my old ways of doing things.
I believe whole heartedly that God can mold us into a Godly wife that gives Him glory. Do you want to take that journey with me? Let's begin today...
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)