Summary: THE DEGREE TO WHICH A WIFE IS SUBMISSIVE TO CHRIST DETERMINES THE DEGREE TO WHICH SHE WILL BE SUBMISSIVE TO HER HUSBAND.
A Word To The Wives
C.H. Spurgeon said: “Woman was not taken out of man’s head to be lord over him, or from his feet to be trampled on by him, but from his side to be equal with him, From under his arm to be protected by him, and from near his heart to be loved by him!”
What a beautiful picture this paints of God’s desire for husband and wives in the marriage relationship.
Unfortunately, we are living in an age, as you well know, when one out of three marriages ends in divorce in this country. That frightening statistic is making people take a different look at marriage. The very fact of the enormous breakdown of the home, which dismays us, and marks the deterioration of our society, is also driving us to understand that something else is wrong, that somehow we do not know what we ought to know about marriage. Men do not know how to act as men and women do not know how to act as women. Something is precipitating such an enormous breakdown that we are forced to look at this problem seriously and earnestly from a Christ centered perspective. This month offers a word to the wives and next month offers a word to husbands.
Wives do you trust the Lord? Are you submitted to His will for your marriage? Jesus said, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” An examination of Ephesians chapter 5 brings certain exhortations to mind concerning God’s word to wives as well as husbands. Paul starts off the chapter telling believers to be “imitators of God as beloved children” (vs. 1). Verse 2 exhorts them “to walk in love just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Verse 8 instructs Christians to “walk as children of light trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (vs. 10). Then, verse 15 admonishes Christians to be careful how you walk, “not as unwise men but as wise” and long to “understand what the will of the Lord is (vs. 17).” Finally, Christians are to be filled (or controlled) with the Spirit (vs. 18) “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ (vs. 21).” These exhortations define a disciple’s heart and serve as an important preventive measure against “hardness of heart”, a disciple’s greatest enemy to the cause of Christ. Hardness of heart prevents you from seeing the Lord’s purpose and plan in defining the respective roles of husbands and wives in marriage.
There are many occurrences in Scripture of the phrase, “hardness of heart.” We are warned again and again against hardening our hearts. A hardened heart means that one determines to handle a situation his/her own way -- that one determines to respond to the natural inclination of the flesh, to do what one feels like doing in a situation, to handle it oneself, and to ignore God. This is hardening of the heart in the biblical sense. When you determine that you are going to handle something yourself, and not pay any attention to what God reveals about it, you are hardening your heart. You are telling God by your actions that your heart is no longer softened, mellowed, gentle, and open to what He has to say.
Therefore, with a heart soften toward God, listen to the Lord’s Word to wives in Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” To understand this passage of Scripture one must clearly understand Chapter five’s emphasis on discipleship and be personally committed to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. The stronger your commit to Christ, the more success you will have withstanding the lures of the enemy, the world’s culture and thinking and your own flesh with its passions and lusts.
It bears noting the word “subjection” in verse 21 is implied for each relationship that follows in this passage. Therefore, the word merits a review since it tends to be emotionally charged in today’s society and a catalyst to much misunderstanding among husbands and wives in Christian circles. Subjection goes against the logic and will of human nature. Mankind by nature is resistant to having another’s will impose upon it. At the mere thought of subjection, our carnal weapons of “flight or fight” are activated and ready to respond in strong resistance to any individual that encroaches upon our territory. So, let’s examine the truth and beauty of the word “subjection” as it is applied by the Lord to wives in the marriage relationship.