Friday, July 11, 2008

Biblical Submission, Part 3

During the course of three generations the sinful rebellion of wives against their husbands has become not only socially acceptable but also common place within Christian culture. I am amazed at how many Christian women profess to love the Lord with a tremendous fervor, attempt serve Him diligently and at the same time rebel against the Word of God by dishonoring their husbands.

Although many appear to be successful within their ministries, I challenge that summation. The Barna Group defines an Evangelical Christian as, "Evangelicals" meet the born again criteria plus seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent upon church attendance or the denominational affiliation of the church they attend." (When I seriously began studying the Bible, I came to realize that God expects everyone who follows Him to adhere to this criteria.). In 2007, Barna research concluded that only 8% of Americans could be classified as Evangelical Christians. If today's Christian women are successful within their ministries, then why are only 8% of Americans classified as Evangelical Christians?

Where and how are we missing the mark? Why, for three generations, have our sons and daughters rebelled and not followed us in our faith? In my opinion, the answer lies within the Christian home. Specifically, Christian mothers are not passing the legacy of Biblical principals and standards onto their children. Today's average Christian woman does not model the Bible's definition of submission. She does not honor her husband (respect, encourage, edify), she does not obey her husband (follow guidance and instruction), she is not an active helper to her husband (assist in whatever area she may be of use). Instead, today's Christian woman publicly criticizes and mocks her husband, she openly refuses to follow his wishes and she expects him to be her helper in every aspect of her life. As women and mothers, we are telling children to follow the Bible and it's teachings while we are not doing it ourselves. Our behavior and actions have sent a very clear message to our children that asserts the Bible is not God's infallible Word.

Why are today's Christian women not living a life aligned with the Bible? Many are modeling the legacy that has been passed on to them. A legacy of fear, discontent and discouragement. The fearful wife is afraid of what may happen if her husband neglects his role in the family. She is afraid of potential pain, loss or embarrassment to herself or ones she loves. Her fear temps her to "nag" her husband into action or assume her husband's responsibilities. Nagging builds resentment towards the wife and assumption of responsibility removes the natural consequences of a husband's poor decisions, actions or inaction, thus blurring and confusing the distinctive roles of husband and wife. The discontented wife always seems to think she deserves more than she is getting. She thinks her husband should give her more attention, affection, gratitude, leadership, possessions, etc. She is unthankful which quickly leads to miserable. The discouraged wife is tempted to despair. She gives up on being faithful in serving her family because her husband has abandoned his spiritual responsibilities. She is temped to anger and bitterness and often feels her efforts to train her children according to Biblical principals are in vain.

Fear is an outward symptom of a lack of faith. God's Word is consistent in telling us to fear not, our help comes from the Lord.
Proverbs 29:25, "The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe."
Proverbs 1:33, "But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil."
Isaiah 41:13, "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
2 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Hebrews 13:6, "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Isaiah 43:2, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
Psalms 91:4-6, "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy sheild and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday."
Psalms 27;1&3, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident."

Discontentment poisons the fabric of our families. God's Word instructs us to be content in all our circumstances.
Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones."
Hebrews 13:5, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Proverbs 15:15, "All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast."
Proverbs 14:30, "A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy the rottenness of the bones."
1 Timothy 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain."
Proverbs 23:17, 18, "Let not thine heart envy sinners; but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off."

Behavior that accompanies discouragement testifies that God is a liar. The Bible tells us over and over that God is faithful to His Word.
Deuteronomy 7:9, "Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations."
Psalms 105:8, "He hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations."
Hebrews 10:23, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;).
2 Timothy 2:13, "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself."
Isaiah 25:1, "O Lord, thou are my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth."
Psalms 9;10, "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."
Psalms 119:160, "Thy word is true from the beginning; and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."
Psalms 89:34, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips."
Isaiah 54:10, "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."
Isaiah 46:11, "...yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass, I have purposed it, I will also do it."
Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."

In being submissive toward our husbands, wives are responsible for: (paraphrased from "As Unto The Lord, A Tool for Wives Who Want to Glorify God", by Pam Forster)

~ Obeying the Word of God. Luke 8:21, "And He answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God , and do it."
~ Showing honor and respect to her husband as God's appointed head over her and their family. Ephesians 5:22-23, 33, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 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. (33) Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
~ Bringing her spirit under God's control and praying for her husband as she quietly submits herself to whatever leadership her husband offers. 1 Timothy 2:1-3, "Exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving thanks, be make for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our saviour."
~ Respectfully confronting her husband when he is in sin. (one must take caution not to become the nagging contentious wife as referred to in Proverbs 21:19 and Proverbs 27:15) 1 Peter 3:1-2, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear."
~ Managing her home. Proverbs 31:27, "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."
~ Training her children. Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Titus 2:4, "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children."
~ Obeying God rather than man if her husband asks her to participate in what is truly sin, ie. immorality, breaking of Ten Commandments, committing a crime. Deuteronomy 4:2, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I commanded you."

Wives have many responsibilities. However, no where does the Bible tell us that we are responsible for changing our husbands' hearts. Only God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, can change hearts. When a wife is virtuous and submissive toward her husband, his heart naturally softens allowing God access to do a work within.

I have a desire to be praised by my husband, children and neighbors. I have a desire to be hardworking, a good manager, possess good business sense, respected, strong, kind to others, spiritual, wise and productive. I have a desire to be valuable enough to be preserved and protected. I have a desire to be a godly and virtuous woman as described by the Bible.

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Thank you for taking time to read my blog and leave a comment. I try my best to respond to each one. God Bless You, Mrs.B