The Real Reason for Submission
By: Jennifer Waddle
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (Ephesians 5:21-23)
I am sad at the way today's culture has distorted the roles of both husband and wife. Between strivings for control and misconceptions of what biblical submission really means lies a chasm of mistruths that stand in the way of healthy, godly marriages.
I'd like to speak a word of wisdom to wives for a moment, encouraging them towards a heart of submission that seeks the will of God first. For if we cannot submit to the will of the Father, which is good, pleasing, and perfect, how will we ever find peace under the authority of our husbands?
In turn, if I may encourage husbands, I'd like to remind them that being the head of their marriages, as Christ is the head of the church, is the most gentle, loving, protective role in the world. What a divine position you've been given! What a privilege! Please step into your role with both meekness and assurance.
Oh, the beauty of God-ordained submission! It looks nothing like the world's battle for dominance. It doesn't compare to the petty and shallow conflicts that consume marriages today. Instead, God's blueprint lays out a clear and beautiful foundation of submission to one another out of devotion to Christ.
And there, my friends, lies the real reason for submission — reverence for Christ.
Once we wrap our minds around this biblical concept, and more importantly, envelop our hearts around it, we can rest assured that submission is the most pure and beautiful way a marriage can exist. No longer are we threatened by our husband's role. No longer are men confused about their place in the marriage. The relationship is made whole when both are living in reverence to Christ Jesus.
If submission has been a contention in your marriage, please spend some time in Ephesians chapter 5. Ask God for wisdom and clarity concerning this misunderstood principle. Then, come together and determine to live out God's design for your marriage.
Here are some things to consider as you move forward.
- When husbands have a clear picture of what Christ did for the church, they will better understand their loving and self-sacrificing role as head over their wives.
- When wives stop feeling threatened by their husband's God-given role as head over them, they will actually be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be strong and fruitful helpmates to their spouses.
- The word submit also means to acknowledge, surrender, relent, and yield. We acknowledge one another as beloved and cherished. We surrender to one another in love and grace. We relent our wills for the perfect will of the Father. And we yield to one another often, letting our agendas fall at the feet of Jesus.
- The real reason for submission isn’t to feel “less-than.” It’s to be fully devoted to Jesus Christ and live in reverence to Him. When we see submission in that light, it becomes a missional privilege rather than a dubious requirement.
Please don't let the culture distort your view of the blessed roles in marriage. Prayerfully consider who you were created to be and accept it as a divine calling. There is great peace and contentment in godly submission.
Jennifer Waddle is a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where “Discouragement Doesn’t Win.” She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
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Originally published Friday, 07 July 2023.