IT'S A ROLE, NOT A RANK
- Key Verse
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church . . . . [T]he church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands . . . . Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church . . . . [E]ach individual . . . also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-25, 33)
- READ THE CHAPTER
Unaware and uninstructed, we assume ranks and roles that are not Scriptural. It's when we respond to the call of Christ, His justification, glory, and sanctification (Romans 8:29-30), that we bring honor to Him and enjoy loving, respectful peace in the family.
Talk of submission rankles many a hair on the necks of women.
Paul writes to the Ephesians and addresses relationships from the perspective of leadership and responsibilities. Having been married for 42 years, we know it either works together sweetly under the right priorities, or it fails miserably. We've done both.
For years we clashed over the husband's role. We had different opinions, but little understanding. As a result, we competed for control while he demanded obedience to the rank of husband. This is not God's design for roles in marriage. Leading in the role of headship involves loving, serving, caring for the other person as Jesus Christ does for the church -- His people. He died for her.
We learned that submission involves four responsibilities beginning with an attitude of entrusting ourselves fully to the Lord. Our focus in life must be on Jesus Christ. Through Him we are able to love and submit. Second, submission involves respectful behavior; third, godly character. And fourth, it involves doing what is right and according to God's will. Finally, we learned that God doesn't intend for one to be a slave to the other in total subservience. We simply relate to one another as unto the Lord.
But, to prevent chaos, there needs to be order. So, God placed the husband in authority over his wife with the responsibility to love and lead her, just as Jesus does for His people. These are roles we accept willingly as we pursue Jesus.
We learned perfection in this is impossible. Essentials include: unconditional and sacrificial love, a willingness to forgive, keeping short accounts, and the ability to laugh at yourself. This makes submission reasonable, not a burden, but it requires taking the initiative and serving with integrity.
Finally, praying together daily has changed our hearts in a way nothing else has. Leadership involves acting on Paul's instruction to the Corinthians, "stand firm in the faith, act like men" (1 Corinthians 16:13). Men, lead well, serve well, and pray with your woman. Respect will follow.
1. Why does responsibility to lead with godly character require surrendering?
2. Does surrendering feel like losing, and if to the Lord, is it?
3. Why does submission feel like suppression and subservience?
4. What is respect?
5. How does it look when a husband (dad) serves and shows love for his wife (mom)?
6. How does it look when a wife (mom) shows respect for her husband (dad)?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
August 6-10 (Ephesians 2-6)
Read Ephesians 6:10-20.
In verse 11, Paul talks about the schemes and strategies of the Devil.
• What are they?
• What does Paul say we should use to fight those schemes?
• Make a list of all the pieces of God's armor. What does each piece do?
• Go through your house and find articles of clothing to represent all the pieces of God's armor. Take time to review and memorize what each piece is and what it represents. Example: a hat to stand for the helmet that represents our salvation.
Activity: Write each of the following words on a separate piece of paper: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, Word of God. Now put the clothing that represents each one across the room. If you have enough family members, you can make this into a competition by getting two piles of clothes that represent each thing. Now, draw one card from the pile, read it, and run down and get the item that represents that word. You can make it more difficult by pulling out more than one card.
Daily, we are to put on our armor so that we can withstand the attacks of the enemy. Talk together about what it looks like to put these things on every day (spending time in God's Word, praying, reminding yourself of your salvation, etc.).