Have you ever heard the phrase, “Wives, submit to your husbands”? If you’ve spent some time in church, it’s a pretty safe bet that you have. And while the polarized arguments that often surround this hot potato topic will never be settled this side of eternity, there’s something related that I want you to ponder. But first, a brief story:
I shared with you a few weeks ago that the next time my wife and I had a conflict, I was going to walk my stubborn feet straight to a mirror and ask God what needed changing. Well, it happened.
And as I stood (reluctantly) in front of the mirror (still feeling intensely frustrated), I was given the answer to my question in about 2 seconds. The commission that is one line above the often quoted, “Wives, submit to your husbands” verse was immediately brought to my attention:
“Honor Christ by submitting to each other.”
Ephesians 5:21 (TLB)
And then God proceeded to share with me that I pretty much stink at this.
Friends, as I stared at the reflection of my face in that mirror, God showed me that the solution He wanted for our conflict was for me to simply lay down my personal preference… to yield my will to her will… to submit myself… to my wife. And in the heat of the moment, I’ll willingly admit… this did not feel like a good idea.
But God’s plans are not our plans, and His ways are not our ways. And the more I considered His answer to my question, the more I saw why He wanted me to follow this path.
To truly become like Christ, in moment by moment action and not just in spiritual theory, I must learn to sacrifice my selfish desires (even when I don’t want to). I must learn that submission of preference, of will, and of self is often what real love requires. And is there any greater place that I should be learning (and implementing) this than within the four walls of my home?
Prior to this experience, I thought I was pretty good at giving up my desires for my wife’s. I could cite a thousand times when I’ve “gone along with what she wants”. But men, conflict is what exposes the degree to which we are willing to yield preference. Conflict is what uncovers the line that we have drawn titled, “This is how far I’m willing to go for you.”
Now it’s easy to convince ourselves that if we’re willing to do things like work hard (for her), help around the house (for her), or even take a bullet (for her), that we have mastered the art of sacrifice. And while certainly honorable, things such as these pale… absolutely pale in comparison (both in difficulty and eminence) to the moment by moment submission of your will and preference to hers (with a gentle, loving, and humble spirit).
To return to our verse — If Ephesians 5:21 were to be fully expounded, it may speak of honoring Christ through submission to your co-workers. It may speak of honoring Christ through submission to your friends. It may speak of honoring Christ through submission to your church brothers and sisters.
But dare I say it… you may also read:
“Husbands, honor Christ by submitting to your wives.”
All my best,
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