Friday, June 15, 2012

A Dirty Word

Every night this week Josiah and I have been doing family devotions with the kids.  They have taken to it surprisingly well, and I’m really encouraged by their insightful remarks and eagerness to participate.  However, in doing my quiet time this morning (TheResolution for Women) I felt led to do a family devotion that may be difficult.  It involves one of society’s dirtiest words:

(insert music of doom)

It just sounds awful doesn’t it?  Induces mental images of Princess Leia chained and bound on the floor at the feet of Jabba the Hutt, right?  Or possibly the image of society’s view of the submissive wife, a woman with food in one hand and the Bible in the other cowering before her tyrannical husband.  Sound familiar?
Yeah…that’s not what I’m talking about.

The person who best exemplifies the act of submission is none other than our savior, Jesus Christ.

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death —
        even death on a cross! ~
Philippians 2:6-8 (NIV)

Jesus was the Son of God…indeed, Jesus IS God...and yet, he humbled himself and became human.  He suffered brutal humiliation, scorn, torture, and death at the hands of those who would be saved by his resurrection (should they choose to accept it).  He was submissive.  He considered others better than himself, and submitted to the authority of God, the Father.

God calls wives to do this as well.  In his letter to Ephesus, Paul says:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord,
for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,
his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now, as the church submits to Christ,
So also should wives submit to their husbands in everything. ~ Ephesians 5:22-24 (NIV)



Not “everything but the finances because in this he shall be inept.”
Not “everything but the child rearing, for he is not the mama.”


But what if he messes stuff up, right?  What if he ruins the kids, the finances, and the lawn?  What if I know WAY better?  He’s not better than me at a lot of things?!

Of course not.  We complement each other in so many ways, there are bound to be many things that we may have a better handle on, which is why it is up to us to give our input…with love and respect.  This doesn’t say “sit down, shut up, and do what you’re told.”  That is NOT the vision of a woman of worth God paints for us in Proverbs 31.  Instead, we will lovingly guide our husbands, accept his guidance as well, and make an active decision to let him have the final say…to be the leader that God has called him to be as the head of the household.

For many wives, especially those who are not married to Christian husbands, this is so much easier said than done.  I know…I was there for a REALLY long time.  But Christian husband or not, we were still called to submit. (Disclaimer: this is not applicable in cases where you are being abused in any way or your husband is calling you to do something immoral/unacceptable in the eyes of God.  Our Lord is our first love, and then our husbands.  Furthermore, if you are being hurt physically by your husband, pray for him…from a distance, not in the same house.)

The questions still arise…what if he messes up?  Then we have faith.

Just as we tithe, knowing that God will fill our needs if we are faithful and good stewards of what he’s given to us, we must also have faith that if we are covering our husbands in prayer, then God is faithful and He will take care of us knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God  (Romans 8:28 NIV).

As my coworker Krystyn said this week, “faith and fear cannot occupy the same space.”  Truer words were never spoken.

So tonight, I will teach my children about submission:
-          Women to their husbands
-          Workers to their supervisors
-          Children to their parents/elders
-          Child of God to their Heavenly Father

I pray that my words will be well-received, but even more that they will see it put into action in my life.



  1. Interesting. I am not a christian, I am a buddhist, but interestingly enough, the concept of submission plays a big part in buddhism as well. In buddhism you are called to practice not submitting to your "self", to the part of you that screams "I want I want I want!" and thinks it is ok to spend your entire life chasing after what YOU WANT. If you can overcome that - and you can spend your entire life trying and you will never completely succeed, most likely - then you would be able to give over your entire life in service to others, and that would bring great happiness and fulfillment. The buddhist saint is called a boddhisatva, and it means someone who agrees to be reborn and spend eternity teaching & serving others until everyone reaches the state of enlightenment. Anyway, the idea of submission is similar, that by giving in continually to what YOU want, you elevate yourself above everything and everyone else, and you can never become a better person, your best person, that way.

    It's something I have a terrible struggle with. I am not obedient and never have been. I would potentially have been interested in spending a few years in monastic life (you enter a buddhist monastary and become a monk or nun, not necessarily permanently for definitely for years). But I can't stand the thought of the obedience that requires, the submission of yourself. I can't get past it. I hate the word even. But I try to meditate on it. I try not to ask what I am going to get and orient myself toward giving. I'm not too great at it. Children have made me realize that more than anything else!

  2. That is interesting Christine. You're right, the call for submission is very similar. I never really had a problem with obedience, but I do have problems letting go of control over certain areas of my life that I'm REALLY used to controlling.

    You're right about the kids, too. If there's any selfishness in you, you'll find it when you have children. LOL They require SO MUCH...demand attention, time, money, patience, discipline...the list is almost endless. They're totally worth it, but there are days you wonder if you'll survive.

    Thank you so much for 1) reading this SUPER long post and 2) taking the time to reply! It's very interesting to see the different aspects of the same concept within the two religions!