So its seems to me (Lindsey) that the heat has been turned up on the flame that is surrounding women of faith who don't buy into the lies society preaches regarding a successful marriage. In this day and age with a divorce rate hovering at around 50%, and less people even seeing a need to get married choosing to remain in committed yet non-committed relationships, it also seems to me that society has no room to talk about healthy or successful.
Today's society has it so stuck in their heads that biblical submission, the kind that women like Candace Cameron Bure have recently been publicly attacked for, is the same submission that a sinful world has produced. I have seen many say things like "This sent the women's lib movement back 100 years." or "Men use verses about submission to be abusive.". While the second statement is at times very true, the difference between abusive misuse of God's word for your own profit and a woman's Godly desire to submit to her husband are astronomical in theory and practice. The first statement, however, is absolutely ridiculous. Submissive Christian women still value the rights they have in society. They value the fight that was had to give them the opportunity to vote, to own/inherit land, to have an active voice in the path our country takes.
What a submissive wife does not value is ideology that being a strong woman means that you have to make your husband less. Having opinions does not render your husband opinion-less. Our desire is to give our husband's respect and to serve him willingly of our own desire as our offering and worship to God and His perfect design for marriage. The verses on submission Ephesians 5:22-33 say this:
"And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word. He did this present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body, but feeds and cares for it just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wive and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
Biblical submission is not about becoming a door mat, or doing what you're told when you're told because you are a woman. No, instead it is this beautifully intricate story of two lives interwoven to become one life and that one life's intent being to mimic the story of Christ and His relationship with the church.
I love how Ephesians 5:32a states, "This is a great mystery". This practice of submitting and fully trusting another human being with your happiness and life, the idea that the other person loves you just as much as he loves himself and who sees his only purpose to be protecting and sheltering you from harm, is a foreign concept. It is a foreign concept not just to the outside world but to many Christians. It is most definitely a mystery and a challenge to all, those who look at it and question the sanity of those who believe these statements and to those who take it on. Selfless, unconditional love and respect is not an easy feat. I am commanded by God himself to respect my husband. Verse 33b says "and the wife must respect her husband." It does not say and then the wife must respect her husband. My respect is not to be conditional. It is not to be determined by my husband's actions. The same can be said of the directive given to husbands. Their directive of loving their wives as they love themselves is also independent of the command given to wives. It does not say love your wives if or when they are respectful.
In this respect those verses while they have everything to do with creating one functioning marriage, have nothing at all to do with the other party involved in said marriage. My biblical and Godly submission can never be forced upon me. It can never be anyone's decision but my own. My choice to submit is not a choice that stems from weakness or inferiority, instead it is one of the most difficult forms of self-control and strength that a person can develop.
Finally, before I finish, I want to encourage the Christian women who have made this choice and are facing the flames, the Christian women who are on the fence of this more recent argument, and the Christian women who are maybe taking sides with the viewpoints of society. Do not choose to lay prostrate at the feet of societal idols, continue to put away the things of this world. Do not fear the flames, for just as God protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3) from the fiery flames they faced after refusing to participate in an act of worship that was not aimed at our God, so will He protect you from the fire that society is building for those who dare to think against their grain.
Father God, give us the strength to remember who it is we serve and why as we face the backlash of our actions as believers. Help us to remember that we are not subject to the judgement of this world and therefore our thoughts should always be focused on eternal and heavenly things. Help us as women to wrap our arms around one another and to lift each other up. Help us to show support for those who are facing the fire right now. Give us the strength to stand along side them and to remain firmly grounded as the trumpets blare declaring it is time to worship the idols of society. Help us not to bend to the will of society out of fear Father God, instead let us remain standing so that we may enter the fire and return from it fully protected and undeniably glowing with the light of the one true God. We ask all of this in your powerful name Lord Jesus, Amen.
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