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Posts tagged ‘submission’

Lesson #13: Submit

Here’s a tough one and I am far from having “apprehended” this lesson, as the apostle Paul would have put it. The text in question is:

Ephesians 5 “21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

and an article that is helping me is this one: http://www.reason4living.com/articles/totw0041.htm

How about this?

“A submissive wife is one whose heart is inclined towards satisfying her husband and who has made a choice to be led by her husband, to accept his authority and to be his helper in the broad biblical sense of that word.  She does not seek to please her husband because she is afraid of his rebuke or rejection or punishment, but because she delights to please him and finds satisfaction in doing so.”

Indeed, this article perfectly expresses how I have always imagined the marriage relationship to be in terms of submission, and I am beginning to see where the holes are that need patching in the house we are building. I think it starts with a clear and honest expression of motive. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love believes all things” (when I say I want to share your heart’s fears and desires and do you good, please believe that this is true). “Love bears all things” (when he refuses to open up and I am adrift, I will patiently love and support him, hoping that ultimately, he will come around and we can be a team). “Love hopes all things … keeps no record of wrongs …is kind.” I know this is out of order, but no less true for that.

Please pray with me as I work on acquiring this skill and never letting go of it. And if you’ve walked this road a little further than me (in faith or years), please share any advice or thoughts you may have.

PS: I painted a mural on the girls’ bedroom wall, and it includes 1 Cor. 13:4-8. Yesterday Goldilocks and I were alone, shopping together, when she turned huge, serious eyes to me and said, “Mommy, if what it says on my wall is true about love, I don’t think I love anybody!”. Poor dear heart, one of the most generous and compassionate people I have ever met, yet so tenderhearted toward the things of our Lord. 

Lesson #11: Dignity vs Defensiveness

Matthew 18:15 “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”

Growing up, we were taught defensiveness. This was unintentional, but nonetheless a fundamental cornerstone of our upbringing. When a blatant sin or personal slight were brought to the attention of the offending party, no matter how much love was used to highlight the issue, the result would never be a grateful and humble acceptance of an opportunity to become a better person. On the contrary, this would become an out-of-proportion occasion to point fingers, lay blame, and question motives. Naturally, one defends oneself when attacked. The more guilty one feels the more defensive one becomes when the guilt is pointed out. So the offender would lash out, predictably.

But making the person who has been hurt by your actions, or who is concerned for your soul, feel as though they, in fact, are at fault in some way, is a low blow indeed, and lacking in grace.

The person who had the courage to speak up and plead for change now begins to doubt their motives. “I care about this person enough to raise this issue with them. Perhaps they care about me enough to do the same, and perhaps these things they are accusing me of are true. Could that be my motive? Could I have done that?” The offendee becomes confused, bewildered and then angry. “Wait a minute! I know I’m innocent!” The cycle of defensiveness begins again, this time with the accuser becoming the accusee, and both parties defending their thoughts, actions, and motives. More hurt ensues.

The thing about becoming defensive is that it makes you look guilty. It really doesn’t matter what the facts are, because it’s a lot like running away from the police. Even if you know they’re going to frame you and make it look like you’re a baddie, if you run away, everyone will believe it’s true, that you really are the villain.

What I am learning at the moment is that there is dignity to be had in our position in Christ.

Rev. 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

Rom. 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

The principles of God’s Word remain true regardless of our circumstances. If we are right, and we have honestly searched our hearts and the scriptures, confessing whatever is revealed to us and repenting, begging and pleading to be transformed by the Word of God in us, then we can humbly and lovingly approach a brother or sister in Christ and appeal to them not to taint the name of the Lord. Sinful actions will never go unpunished, as Paul tells us:

Gal. 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

But we can show our love for the brother caught in sin by appealing to him to repent and seek God’s help, the way out He promises to provide. We can offer our support, love and care.

We may not be well received, and Matthew 18 tells us what to do next.

Matt. 18: 

16 “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

This is a serious thing and we may be accused of all sorts of selfish motives, but the key is to remember that once we have confessed and repented, we are innocent. Not better than anyone else. Simply free from condemnation. And so it is best not to engage in self defence but to leave your defence to the Lord. He really does have your best interests in heart. Rather assume the mantle of dignity that comes from being justified through our Lord, and win them over with your quiet demeanour and gentleness.

1 Pet. 3:1b-2  “… they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

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