Be a power-tool for God in your marriage.
Aug 22, 2015 // By:Dave // No Comment
Ephesians 5 is a great treatise on living in the light of God’s truth (Eph 5:1-14), living by God’s Spirit (Eph 5:15-20), and how this looks when lived out in marriage (Eph 5:21-31)
One of the most quoted verses (by men wishing to either humble or control their wives) is Eph 5:22. Yes, it really does tell wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. The Word even goes a step further in verse 24 telling wives to submit to their husbands in all things just as the church submits to it’s head, Christ himself.
I frequently observe two mistakes in the quoting (= enforcing) of this verse:
- the bible doesn’t tell husbands to hold this verse over their wive’s heads like a hammer (or straight-jacket) since the idea is for the submission to be an expression of love rather than law (first to God, then to the neighbor who happens to be the spouse)
- the husband quoting this verse is usually doing so to either shut his wife up during a disagreement or is reacting to some sense of lack of respect or loss of control and figures throwing a bible verse in his wife’s face will automatically fix the problem (when common sense dictates that to be respected, one must first act respectable)
Here is the big one worth bringing up:
let’s look back at Eph 5:21 … Uh huh, the one that says “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”
now lets follow that up with Eph 5:25 “for husbands this means love your wives …”
You see the structure of the writing shows what we would now use bullet points for. It would look like this:
Submit to one another, out of reverence for Christ:
- Wive’s, submit to your husbands
- Husbands, love your wives.
The whole idea is that each is submitting to the other. The details of this expression of submission look a bit different, since the expression of love is tailored both to what the expresser (lover) needs to learn, and to what the recipient (loved) needs to receive.
What do I mean?
Here is what husband and wife are supposed to do.
- The wife learns to love my placing her husbands authority above her own (she surrenders her independance and her “timing” for getting things done). She learns to love by surrendering her self authority, trusting the Lord wholly to actually try to take care of her needs for her (and then trusting her husband in the same way). (Of course while she places herself under the husband’s authority, she is never expected to go against the Lord’s Word should there be a conflict with the husband’s authority … God always comes first Acts 5:29, 1Pet 2:13-14). She learns about Christ by entering into a relationship with another and submitting to him in the same way she submits to the Lord. Eph 5:22 does say “… as unto the Lord.” My pastor pointed out this subtle wording which indicated a not so subtle difference in motive here … as unto the Lord means that the wife submits to the husband as an act of submitting to Jesus Christ himself. (Col 3:23 reminds us that we do things with all our heart as working for the Lord, not for men)
- The husband, actually initiates by submitting his needs and wants to her needs and wants, placing his wife’s needs above his own (he surrenders his boyish nature of dominating the sandbox, getting everything he wants and when he wants it just by being stronger, louder, or more resourceful). He learns to love, as Christ loved the church by crucifying himself for his bride. He learns about Christ by trying to model the same sacrifice.
Each has a different, but similar submission to follow. Greg Laurie, in Married, Happily, writes “The ultimate model of submission is Jesus Christ, who laid down His privileges and rights, and ultimately His life—for us. In John 13, Jesus took off His outer garment, got down on His hands and knees, and washed the dirty feet of His disciples. He is our model.” *1
Do you see here how each has a tailor-made path to follow that matches how they are wired? (the women learns from the relationship and the husband learns by doing/imitating)
I also see a simple but profound truth here … Once the wife sees the husband using his authority to meet his wife’s needs (rather than his own), she would be a foolish wife indeed to not want to submit to his authority ! (the more power she gives him, the more he is free to love her with that authority). Yes, he has the final word, and that final word is to ensure that:
- God’s glory is reflected in the home
- All members of the home experience grace and love, mercy and justice
- His wife knows that he loves her because he shows it so much that even if he were a mute his actions speak for him.
Some great ways to love your wife around the house:
- do the dishes instead of reading the paper while she does them
- do the laundry on saturday instead of chasing a golf ball
- take the kids out for ice cream and give her some time to relax or recharge.
- (fill in the blank _________________________)
get the idea here ? … these are simple expressions that illustrate sacrificing some of your precious time to show that her time is important to you.
Let’s also check one more thing, motive. I mentioned it earlier when writing about Eph 5:22 “… as unto the Lord” but this doesn’t let the men off the hook either LOL
When I was in college (and unsaved) an older man observed me with my girlfriend and took me aside to offer some advice. He said “take care of her first and she will take care of you”. (I was pretty sure by the wink that we was referring to physical relations) While there is some practical truth here, there is also a built in failure; a fly in the ointment that will eventually spoil the whole bottle. Motive! (my advisor’s perspective was give in order to get, right ?)
1 Cor 13 is an entire chapter on love (God’s love, agape love) A sacrificing, acting love that does not do for itself but for others
1 Cor 13:3 could be written like this (if tool man time became a christian) “If I have all mechanical knowledge, fix cars, washing machines, mow lawns at 9AM, cook eggs benedict perfectly for my wife’s breakfast in bed, etc, but am doing all this so she will respond to me and meet my needs, I have gained nothing.
Guys, if your gonna love your wife, really love her, it’s got to be unconditional and pure. (that means no strings attached and no tangled motives, and no excuses like “she’s not responding yet” see 1 Pet 3:1-6) You might start loving her as Christ loves his bride and and she might just respond to you exactly the way the “bride” responds to Christ (she ignores Him most of the time until she needs something or broke something, she feels a bit lonely and needs some comforting, etc) Imagine if Christ reacted to this by saying “forget it, the deals off, go save yourself” ??!! Imagine if He did that to you when you didn’t respond to him the way he deserved ? Dont forget why Christ went to the cross for His bride to begin with, forgiveness !!
women tend to be non-selfish by nature (compared to men) as it goes along with the relational package deal.
(they listen better, remember better, pick up on subtleties better, and are generally better at giving of themselves for others)
Guys, hmmm ?! … Well we tend to be better at mechanical things, and generally fixing things, that is when we actually notice there is something that needs fixing. We are also much better at focusing on ourselves and entertaining ourselves and spending money on things that improve how we entertain ourselves. We really are quite useful around the house with a little guidance (which is the other thing we are good at: avoiding being told what to do LOL)
In Eph 5, we get that guidance. God picks up you, the man as a piece of iron, fashions it into a tool with His Word and the submission of the wife, then plugs a battery into it called the Spirit and now holds a “power-tool” that He wants to use to work mightily in the heart of the woman He gave you to be your wife.
Are you up to the challenge of being a power-tool for God ? Love your wife the way God loves you and watch God use you to nourish your wife and see her become more radiant and Christ like in response to your submission to His hand and to her needs. (love and forgive). Col 3:23 “as unto the Lord. Submit to the needs of your wife as an act of submitting to the Lord (pray for and lift up your wife, and let the Lord do a work in her heart to do the same for you). Marriage is an incredible opportunity to worship God 24/7.
Be a power-tool for God in your marriage.
in His service, Dave Cadieux
*1 Laurie, Greg (2011-05-22). Married. Happily. (Kindle Locations 1301-1304). Kergyma Publishing. Kindle Edition.