Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Building a Strong Marriage (Part Six)

Building Block of Mutual Submission

Usually when we think of submission in marriage, we think of Ephesians 5:22, “Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” But it is important that we read the verse in its context. This actually follows a verse that is addressed to all believers which says, “Submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord” and it is in a section of verses that go back to “do not be drunk with wine…but filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). The idea of being submitted to one another is one of the evidences of a Spirit filled life!
There is no contradiction between mutual submission and a relationship of leadership and response. Mutual submission in marriage doesn’t mean that both partners must submit in exactly the same ways. Christ submitted himself to the church in one way, by a kind of servant-leadership that cost him his life. And the church submits herself to Christ in another way by honoring his leadership and acknowledging His headship. 

The question might be asked, “How can a husband fulfill his role as a spiritual leader and "head of his wife" and be mutually submitted? We only have to look at the Lord Jesus to see this demonstrated. In John 13 He washed the disciples' feet and then asked them, "Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13:12-14). In essence, Jesus was saying that if all believers, including husbands and wives, really loved one another as He has loved us, we will be willing to die for one another. John later explains this when years later he wrote: "This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16). Just as the Lord Jesus submitted to the will of Him who sent Him and served His disciples and even serves us today, we should submit to one another.

Submission and love go together. We know that God is love and we see that love through the great humility and submission of the Lord Jesus when He went to the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). In Christian marriage, the husband and wife ought to submit to what the will of God is for each of them. If both partners have the mind of Christ in them, this will produce mutual submission, which will help them fulfill the roles in their marriage that the Lord would have them live out!

Tim Hadley Sr.

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