Glad Submission

at our new church we are studying the book of ephesians verse by verse. there is so much life-giving goodness in ephesians; some of my favorite verses in the Bible come from this book, including cruz’s lifeverse (ephesians 3:16-19). but can i confess something to you? it was with a little trepidation that i went to church this morning knowing that we would be tackling ephesians 5:22-30. oh you know, the wives submit to your husbands part of ephesians.

i was nervous that i wouldn’t like what the pastor had to say. i was worried that i would be turned off from this church that i am really growing to love. i was worried that i would leave feeling less than as a woman. this piece of scripture has been used so often to put women in uncomfortable or even dangerous places, and i worried about how our church would interpret it.

but our pastor is great and our God greater, and i left church feeling so energized about our marriage and my role in it. once the sermon is ready for download, i’ll post it here in case you want to listen, but in the meantime, here are a couple of my take-aways. maybe they’ll be a blessing for you too!

God’s commands in scripture bring glory to Him and joy to our lives. i do not need to fear God’s Word. it is for my blessing. i may not agree with how other people interpret this passage. i may not always want to obey Scripture. i certainly will not always understand Scripture. but it is God’s Word and it is life-giving. when i approach tricky passages with this attitude, i will certainly see how it can bless my life.

marriage is meant to be a reflection of the trinity. between husband and wife there is full equality, glad submission, joyful intimacy, and mutual deference. i think pastor lazo really hit the nail on the head here, and i love all these Trinitarian characteristics that he pulled out. “glad submission.” “joyful intimacy.” look, that is what we’re striving for in marriage and if we can achieve a little of that, we’ll be high-fiving each other all over the place. and don’t you love the picture of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit giving way to each other in glad submission?

+ so let’s talk about the elephant in the room– wives submitting to their husbands… wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. would we, as the church, ever say, “bummer about submitting to Christ”? never! we submit with joy. we trust Christ. we give Him authority. we should give our husbands that same kind of trust. [important side note: pastor lazo made it incredibly clear that these guidelines for marriage are to be life-giving. in no way does this apply to wives who are in marriages with any form of abuse] so how does this work out in my marriage? for me, tovi’s vote breaks the tie. if we are deciding between two ways to spend our money, and we each have a different idea, in the end, i will defer to his decision. that’s not ever to say that i won’t argue for my opinion, but in the end, i trust him to make the best decision for our family. it doesn’t mean that he’s smarter than me. it doesn’t mean he’s better than me. but i believe that Christ is pleased when i submit to others and counts it as worship to Him. and here’s the challenge: what would happen if i released the tight grip of control on my life to regard my husband as my leader?
do i feel a little like i’m abandoning the feminist sisterhood here? sure, but there is no way to read the Gospels and come out thinking that you’re going to have power over someone else, husband or not. Christ was there at the creation of the Universe, He is God’s Word made Flesh and still He gave up His life for me while i did not deserve it. so yeah… i can work on dying a little bit to myself for the sake of someone like my husband that i love so much. marriage is the best place to practice how to put another’s need before my own. after all, if i can’t set aside my pride or my needs for my husband, would i ever be able to do the same for a stranger or an enemy? [other important side note: pastor lazo talked A LOT about the husband’s role in the marriage, and husbands submitting to wives, but those aren’t my take-aways. everything he talked about in relation to husbands solidified for me that mine is awesome]

women are helpers, and that doesn’t mean we’re weak. let me tell you, it’s lifegiving to hear your pastor say, “sister in Christ, whoever told you that being a helper means that you’re weak was lying to you. remember, the Holy Spirit is also called the helper.” being a helper is not a diminished position, but one of power under control. additionally, wives submitting to husbands is just for wives submitting to husbands, not women submitting to men.

+ and the final takeaway… we will all fail when it comes to marriage, but Christ does not fail us. marriage is beautiful because it points us to Christ. when we mutually submit to each other in marriage, we learn that we are more sinful than we imagine and far more loved than we deserve.

so how about you? what does mutual submission look like in your marriage?

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