But What If … ? (Part 2)

February 16, 2012

in the generous life

I’ve had a handful of comments to this series from gals who find it easy to submit to their husband’s authority in the home.  They are decent guys with reasonable judgement and a tender heart toward their wives.

But what if …

I don’t respect or trust the authority?

OK, here’s another perspective.  Submission is more about you than it is about the authority.  It’s the same with generosity, love, and all kinds of integrity issues.  The Holy Spirit is shaping you to be like Jesus and He wants us to be submitted to authorities.

Look at Jesus and the early church.  They were under the rule of a very scary government, yet Jesus and the writers of the New Testament still said submit to Rome and trust God to take care of you (sometimes that went OK and sometimes that meant really, really tough circumstances ~ as Paul well knew from his prison cell).

The bigger picture is that God wants to bring His kingdom to earth through us.  We are to be like Jesus and wow the world with our love, our generosity, our submission, our service, etc.  The New Testament believers astonished folks because they actually did this!  The consequences were sometimes harsh and sometimes miraculous, but through it all God was refining His people and moving through their obedience.

So, your authority asks you to do something and you mistrust their motivation or you think they are a total dweeb.  Ask yourself, so what?  God wants me to act respectfully toward them and do as they ask (as long as it is not sin, I know I keep promising this, but I really will get to it).  Let God change you and work through you.  The short term consequences may be rough, but the long term benefits will astound you as God honors your obedience to His way of life.

More tomorrow …  

Image credit © Lithian | Dreamstime.com

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What to reduce friction in your marriage? ~ Organize Your Schedule with Google Calendar  (from I’m an Organizing Junkie

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This one is written by a guy (which is a nice perspective) ~ 67 Ways to Make Him Feel Super Respected (from Advanced Life Skills

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Be generous! Lori <><

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

KarenJ February 16, 2012 at 6:16 am

Thanks for these posts. I’m enjoying thinking through this. The Bible definitely says wives should submit to their husbands but it’s unclear whether wives should consider their husbands an “authority” like we would a pastor or a policeman or God (ref Sarah Sumner’s Men and Women in the Church). Many of the passages that have been used to teach a husband’s authority over a wife could also be interpreted to be about his UNITY to her.

There is submission without a hierarchical authority structure. Eph 5 also says “Submit one to another.” In practice my husband and I submit to each other. Sometimes it is about authority. He recognizes my authority and knowledge when it comes to certain things and I recognize his.

Sometimes submission is about need or preference. I am sick right now and need him to care for the kids. He submits wilingly to my directions about the children’s schedule, and he carves out time in his work to take me to the doctor. Likewise I don’t usually buy junk food but I know he’s not as much I a health nut as me so I hold my tongue when he buys it for himself (mostly) and gave him some favorites for Valentines.

Submission is the heart of being a servant to one another, not just something we do with authorities.

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Lori Biggin February 16, 2012 at 8:06 am

Hi Lori,
I love your ministry and daily emails! I have been following your current series on submission with great interest. Thank you for reminding us that puke green paint (or other sundry details) are not as important as yieldedness and leading to unity by submitting.
I am one of the lucky few who has an amazing husband. My heart goes out to those married women who are not married to thoughtful men. I think sometimes abuse can be enabled under the guise of submission. Or just plain selfishness can also be enabled…sometimes men do not notice or place priority on the same relational issues that women do. Have you read the Focus on the Family book, Rocking the Roles? I love it because it gives a balanced look at submission…submission being a response to a generous Servant Leader hubby. The author points out that when disagreement occurs, the wife does not have to go with the flow just because that is her role. Indeed, her role is not to submit, but to be a Helper Lover (as Eve was created to be). Part of her Helper Lover role may be to hold her husband accountable, in areas not only of blatant sin but more subtle situations as well. In areas of disagreement where both sides are dug in, counseling is recommended (not wifely submission).

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Lynn February 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

Lori,
This is great & I think you are spot on. But… What about husbands who refuse to be a leader in the home? My heart & goal are to submit to my husband & allow him to lead. My husband however, just wants to sit on the couch playing video games or focusing on his own immediate gratification. This forces me to be the leader in our home & our marriage. I find this very uncomfortable as it’s not the role God created me to play. Any tips, advise, insight?

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Sheila B February 17, 2012 at 4:14 am

Hi Lori,

I look forward to your daily posts as well. This series on submission is awesome. You are so spit on and I wish more wives knew about your blog. My life is enriched by your daily writings.

God Bless you!

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L.C.C. February 21, 2012 at 2:53 am

I think this was the most helpful one for me – thanks for covering this topic!

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Angie March 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Submission of the wife, children, and slaves was to an authority (paterfamilias-husband, father, master) that was culturally and state sanctioned. The paterfamilias was required to control and manage his household for the good of society. Philosophers wrote household codes to address the paterfamilias as to why i.e. women were weak in their agency and inferior in their personhood and therefore necessitate the governance of a husband, and so forth re: children, and slaves. The NT writers take up the household code and give them a Christian ethic. The most striking thing is they address the subordinates contra the philosophers. Also, contra the philosophers rather than dealing with a wife’s obedience, the instruction is to hupotasso or arrange themselves under their husband an authority figure in their life. This was real authority. Not “authority” redefined, as love, service, affection, but authority as in to control, direct, order, etc. Of course they also gave a Christian ethic to the paterfamilias and in relation to the wife in which no philosopher instructed them to agape their wife, now the gospel of Christ requires a new ethic–not exercise authority, but agape.

Like KarenJ notes, you can defer, yield, submit to someone’s desires and wishes without there being a subordinate/superior based relationship. We do not live in the same authority or shame based culture. A husband does not have a state or culturally sanctioned authority to direct, command, control, or order me as exists in many cultures today. He does not believe he has a divine right of authority over me. Like KarenJ, we do defer, yield, or submit to the desires of each other at time, we make request, we willing comply, and we don’t keep score.

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