My blogs this summer have been connected to my priority time through the book of Colossians. Today, I make my first deviation with a few more words on the topic that Colossians 3:18 brought front and center last week. Paul gives the instructions that wives should “submit to your husband, as is fitting in the Lord.” Before moving on in Colossians, I had to get in a few last words…
Even as I type, I realize there are two problems that perpetuate the struggle most women have with submission. The first problem is the spin our culture puts on submission. The second problem is men. (I thought you’d like that!) Here’s what I mean…
The message that reverberates across the satellite signals of the 21st Century is one of independence and liberation for women. We’re told every woman can do everything. The reality is there isn’t a man or woman alive who can do everything.
You could try to make the argument that before the fall, when sin wasn’t in the world, Adam could do everything. Even if that were true, it didn’t last but a moment. God knew man needed community. And even if Adam could do everything, what fun was that? God knew it wasn’t good for man to be alone. If there’s no one to share life with, what’s worth celebrating? How motivated would any of us be if we couldn’t share our highs and lows with another person?
In the context of marriage, we’re called to submit. For the record, wives are called to submit to their husband… and husbands and wives are both called to submit to one another. If you truly want liberation and independence, be careful what you ask for. If you don’t want relationships, maybe you won’t have to submit. Fine. But every relationship requires some give and take. A willingness to put someone else before you shouldn’t seem like some crazy notion… it’s actually a very loving thing that both spouses are called to do.
In a very practical sense, I see this in my own marriage. Chris and I are both pretty headstrong. So are my kids (funny how genetics work!). I could fight to prove myself right every step of the way, but why would I? When I hurt Chris, I ultimately hurt us. Chris respects me and I respect him. He values my opinion and often follows my recommendation. At other times, I have to speak my piece and ultimately trust God with the decision. Just because Chris doesn’t follow my lead all the time, it doesn’t make him evil or controlling. It makes him human. In reality, my willingness to let him lead makes him more willing to consider my perspective.
Submission has nothing to do with superiority or power. As Dr. Adrian Rogers used to say, “woman is infinitely superior to man at being woman and man is infinitely superior to woman at being man.” With all of our strengths and weaknesses and with all of our differences, both parties are needed to make each marriage work. As we see in Ephesians, marriage is actually a picture that should point people back to Christ. In the relationship Jesus has with His Father, we see the same picture of submission. Jesus was equal to God, but He willingly chose to submit.
Besides our culture’s distorted message on submission, the second problem with submission is men. I say this tongue in cheek… but, just like in everything else, one guy can ruin it for the whole bunch! The story of one guy being a jerk shouldn’t invalidate God’s principal that we’re called to submit. Is any husband going to lead well all the time? No… but unless his leadership is calling you to disobey the Lord, allow your willingness to follow God’s instructions to be stronger than the noise of our culture.