Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” Colossians 3:18
I have at times read the Bible absentmindedly. In those times, I am not purposely reading past a portion of the text thinking it does not apply to me or in an effort to avoid the truths therein. Typically I am either reading quickly or I simply miss the implication of what I am reading at the moment. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate “Stop and listen” cues that alter my speed reading.
This is one example of such a time for me. I read the first verses of Colossians 3 thinking about the text and its implication to my life as a believer…and comfortably stopped there.
Could I have read it a little more closely and looked at what this meant exactly for me as a wife? A mother? A daughter? A sister? A friend? Absolutely! But I did not.
When I began the next section and it started with “Wives”. This was my cue to stop and pay close attention to how this new holy living, the new self, the emphasis on the resurrected life were to apply to my life personally, beginning with the most important human relationship that I have, that of marriage to my husband.
If God uses marriage to illustrate the relationship between Jesus Christ and His bride, I better pay attention to how exactly the Bible tells me I must live as a wife. And as difficult as it can be to embrace at times; you know, when I feel that my husband acts in a less than dignifying way, or when I dislike what he has to say. The key word that comes up over and over when my role in marriage is discussed in Scripture is “submission” (I hope you didn’t cringe as I used to in the early years of being married).
Submission is a God-honoring, husband-loving act. It is an act of virtue, by women who are living a resurrected life, having died to an exaltation of self. Submission is done with our husbands in mind, but it is not dependent upon our husbands. We cannot say, “If he were more…, I would be more willing to…” This is simply doing what we can put a stamp of approval on, and it requires no effort on our parts and no sacrifice. Submission requires a renouncing of our human nature to embrace the biblical model of marriage.
Submission is also not something we can do of our own efforts and in our own strength. I tried it unsuccessfully for a long time, and continue to fall into this trap of self-sufficiency from time to time. I will be the first to tell you that the strength to honor God in this way comes from His Spirit dwelling in us and in the power of His word. On my own, I cannot submit to my husband, inasmuch as on my own I cannot love others and esteem them higher than myself.