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Darlene

Ephesians 5:21-27

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Heavenly Father,

 

I can't help but get a little excited as I get nearer to the end of this study. I'm starting to think, "wow, I'm actually gonna finish this! lol"...

 

It's by Your hand, Your leading, Your faithfulness, all for Your glory that I will.

 

Thank You Lord...You know how much it means to me to finish this study.

 

 

21. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

Clarke comments, "Submitting-one to another] Let no man be so tenacious of his own will or his opinion in matters indifferent, as to disturb the peace of the Church; in all such matters give way to each other, and let love rule.

 

In the fear of God.] Setting him always before your eyes, and considering that he has commanded you to love one another, and to bear each other's burdens; and that what you do in this or any other commanded case, you do as unto the Lord. Instead of en fobw qeou, in the fear of GOD, en fobw cristou, in the fear of CHRIST, is the reading of ABDEFG, with all others of most value; besides the Syriac, Coptic, Sahidic, AEthiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala; Basil the Great, and Chrysostom. Neither reading makes any difference in the sense."

 

Henry writes, "Here the apostle begins his exhortation to the discharge of relative duties. As a general foundation for these duties, he lays down that rule v. 21. There is a mutual submission that Christians owe one to another, condescending to bear one another's burdens: not advancing themselves above others, nor domineering over one another and giving laws to one another. Paul was an example of this truly Christian temper, for he became all things to all men. We must be of a yielding and of a submissive spirit, and ready to all the duties of the respective places and stations that God has allotted to us in the world. In the fear of God, that is, so far as is consistent with the fear of God, for his sake, and out of conscience towards him, and that hereby we may give proof that we truly fear him. Where there is this mutual condescension and submission, the duties of all relations will be the better performed."

 

Calvin comments, "Submit yourselves. God has bound us so strongly to each other, that no man ought to endeavor to avoid subjection; and where love reigns, mutual services will be rendered. I do not except even kings and governors, whose very authority is held for the service of the community. It is highly proper that all should be exhorted to be subject to each other in their turn.

 

But as nothing is more irksome to the mind of man than this mutual subjection, he directs us to the fear of Christ, who alone can subdue our fierceness, that we may not refuse the yoke, and can humble our pride, that we may not be ashamed of serving our neighbors. It does not much affect the sense, whether we interpret the fear of Christ, passively, thus, — let us submit to our neighbors, because we fear Christ; or actively, — let us submit to them, because the minds of all godly persons ought to be influenced by such fear under the reign of Christ. Some Greek manuscripts read, “the fear of God.” The change may have been introduced by some person, who thought that the other phrase, the fear of Christ, though by far the most appropriate, sounded a little harsh."

 

22. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

 

Clarke writes, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands] As the Lord, viz. Christ, is the head or governor of the Church, and the head of the man, so is the man the head or governor of the woman. This is God's ordinance, and should not be transgressed. The husband should not be a tyrant, and the wife should not be the governor. Old Francis Quarles, in his homely rhymes, alluding to the superstitious notion, that the crowing of a hen bodes ill luck to the family, has said:-" Ill thrives the hapless family that shows A cock that's silent, and a hen that crows: I know not which live most unnatural lives, Obeying husbands or commanding wives." As unto the Lord.] The word Church seems to be necessarily understood here; that is: Act under the authority of your husbands, as the Church acts under the authority of Christ. As the Church submits to the Lord, so let wives submit to their husbands."

 

This is very true and in turn puts a huge responsibility upon the husband to be a Godly man, worthy of submission. The church submits to Christ because of His sacrifice and love for His bride, therefore the husband's walk with the Lord should mimic Christ.

 

Henry shares, " From v. 22 to the end he speaks of the duties of husbands and wives; and he speaks of these in a Christian manner, setting the church as an example of the wife's subjection, and Christ as an example of love in husbands.

 

I. The duty prescribed to wives is submission to their husbands in the Lord (v. 22), which submission includes the honouring and obeying of them, and that from a principle of love to them. They must do this in compliance with God's authority, who has commanded it, which is doing it as unto the Lord; or it may be understood by way of similitude and likeness, so that the sense may be, "as, being devoted to God, you submit yourselves unto him." From the former sense we may learn that by a conscientious discharge of the duties we owe to our fellow-creatures we obey and please God himself; and, from the latter, that God not only requires and insists on those duties which immediately respect himself, but such as respect our neighbours too."

 

Calvin writes, "Wives, submit yourselves. He comes now to the various conditions of life; for, besides the universal bond of subjection, some are more closely bound to each other, according to their respective callings. The community at large is divided, as it were, into so many yokes, out of which arises mutual obligation. There is, first, the yoke of marriage between husband and wife; — secondly, the yoke which binds parents and children; — and, thirdly, the yoke which connects masters and servants. By this arrangement there are six different classes, for each of whom Paul lays down peculiar duties. He begins with wives, whom he enjoins to be subject to their husbands, in the same manner as to Christ, — as to the Lord. Not that the authority is equal, but wives cannot obey Christ without yielding obedience to their husbands."

 

23. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the savior of the body.

 

Clarke writes, "For the husband is the head of the wife] This is the reason which the apostle gives for his injunctions. See above.

 

He is the saviour of the body.] As Christ exercises authority over the Church so as to save and protect it, so let the husband exercise authority over his wife by protecting, comforting, and providing her with every necessary and comfort of life, according to his power."

 

Henry comments, "The apostle assigns the reason of this submission from wives: For the husband is the head of the wife, v. 23. The metaphor is taken from the head in the natural body, which, being the seat of reason, of wisdom, and of knowledge, and the fountain of sense and motion, is more excellent than the rest of the body. God has given the man the pre-eminence and a right to direct and govern by creation, and in that original law of the relation, Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Whatever there is of uneasiness in this, it is an effect of sin coming into the world. Generally, too, the man has (what he ought to have) a superiority in wisdom and knowledge. He is therefore the head, even as Christ is the head of the church. There is a resemblance of Christ's authority over the church in that superiority and headship which God has appointed to the husband. The apostle adds, and he is the Saviour of the body. Christ's authority is exercised over the church for the saving of her from evil, and the supplying of her with every thing good for her. In like manner should the husband be employed for the protection and comfort of his spouse; and therefore she should the more cheerfully submit herself unto him."

 

Calvin writes, "For the husband is the head of the wife. This is the reason assigned why wives should be obedient. Christ has appointed the same relation to exist between a husband and a wife, as between himself and his church. This comparison ought to produce a stronger impression on their minds, than the mere declaration that such is the appointment of God. Two things are here stated. God has given to the husband authority over the wife; and a resemblance of this authority is found in Christ, who is the head of the church, as the husband is of the wife.

 

And he is the savior of the body. The pronoun HE (áὐôόò) is supposed by some to refer to Christ; and, by others, to the husband. It applies more naturally, in my opinion, to Christ, but still with a view to the present subject. In this point, as well as in others, the resemblance ought to hold. As Christ rules over his church for her salvation, so nothing yields more advantage or comfort to the wife than to be subject to her husband. To refuse that subjection, by means of which they might be saved, is to choose destruction."

 

24. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

 

Clarke states, "In every thing.] That is, every lawful thing; for it is not intimated that they should obey their husbands in any thing criminal, or in any thing detrimental to the interests of their souls. The husband may be profligate, and may wish his wife to become such also; he may be an enemy to true religion, and use his authority to prevent his wife from those means of grace which she finds salutary to her soul; in none of these things should she obey him."

 

Henry writes, "So it follows, Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ (v. 24), with cheerfulness, with fidelity, with humility, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing—in every thing to which their authority justly extends itself, in every thing lawful and consistent with duty to God."

 

Calvin shares, "But, as the church is subject to Christ. The particle but, may lead some to believe that the words, he is the savior of the body, are intended to anticipate an objection. Christ has, no doubt, this peculiar claim, that he is the Savior of the Church: nevertheless, let wives know, that their husbands, though they cannot produce equal claims, have authority over them, after the example of Christ. I prefer the former interpretation; for the argument derived from the word but, (ἀëëά,) does not appear to me to have much weight."

 

25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

 

Clarke comments, " Husbands, love your wives] Here is a grand rule, according to which every husband is called to act: Love your wife as Christ loved the Church. But how did Christ love the Church? He gave himself for it - he laid down his life for it. So then husbands should, if necessary, lay down their lives for their wives: and there is more implied in the words than mere protection and support; for, as Christ gave himself for the Church to save it, so husbands should, by all means in their power, labour to promote the salvation of their wives, and their constant edification in righteousness.

 

Thus we find that the authority of the man over the woman is founded on his love to her, and this love must be such as to lead him to risk his life for her. As the care of the family devolves on the wife, and the children must owe the chief direction of their minds and formation of their manners to the mother, she has need of all the assistance and support which her husband can give her; and, if she performs her duty well, she deserves the utmost of his love and affection."

 

Henry writes, "II. The duty of husbands (on the other hand), is to love their wives (v. 25); for without this they would abuse their superiority and headship, and, wherever this prevails as it ought to do, it will infer the other duties of the relation, it being a special and peculiar affection that is required in her behalf. The love of Christ to the church is proposed as an example of this, which love of his is a sincere, a pure, an ardent, and constant affection, and that notwithstanding the imperfections and failures that she is guilty of. The greatness of his love to the church appeared in his giving himself unto the death for it. Observe, As the church's subjection to Christ is proposed as an exemplar to wives, so the love of Christ to his church is proposed as a pattern to husbands; and while such exemplars are offered to both, and so much is required of each, neither has reason to complain of the divine injunctions. The love which God requires from the husband in behalf of his wife will make amends for the subjection which he demands from her to her husband; and the prescribed subjection of the wife will be an abundant return for that love of the husband which God has made her due."

 

Calvin shares, "Husbands, love your wives. From husbands, on the other hand, the apostle requires that they cherish toward their wives no ordinary love; for to them, also, he holds out the example of Christ, — even as Christ also loved the church. If they are honored to bear his image, and to be, in some measure, his representatives, they ought to resemble him also in the discharge of duty.

 

And gave himself for it. This is intended to express the strong affection which husbands ought to have for their wives, though he takes occasion, immediately afterwards, to commend the grace of Christ. Let husbands imitate Christ in this respect, that he scrupled not to die for his church. One peculiar consequence, indeed, which resulted from his death, — that by it he redeemed his church, — is altogether beyond the power of men to imitate."

 

26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word;

 

Clarke states, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it] The Church is represented as the spouse of Christ, as the woman is the spouse of the man; and, to prepare this Church for himself, he washes, cleanses, and sanctifies it. There is certainly an allusion here to the ancient method of purifying women, who were appointed to be consorts to kings; twelve months, it appears, were in some instances spent in this purification: Six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours and with other things, for the purifying of women. See the case of Esther, Esth. ii. 12; see also Psa. xlv. 13, 14; Ezek. xvi. 7-14.

 

With the washing of water] Baptism, accompanied by the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit.

 

By the word] The doctrine of Christ crucified, through which baptism is administered, sin canceled, and the soul purified from all unrighteousness; the death of Christ giving efficacy to all."

 

Henry writes, "The apostle, having mentioned Christ's love to the church, enlarges upon it, assigning the reason why he gave himself for it, namely, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next: That he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the word (v. 26)—that he might endue all his members with a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin. The instrumental means whereby this is affected are the instituted sacraments, particularly the washing of baptism and the preaching and reception of the gospel.

 

Calvin writes extensively, "That he might sanctify, — or, that he might separate it to himself; for such I consider to be the meaning of the word sanctify This is accomplished by the forgiveness of sins, and the regeneration of the Spirit.

 

Washing it with the washing of water. Having mentioned the inward and hidden sanctification, he now adds the outward symbol, by which it is visibly confirmed; as if he had said, that a pledge of that sanctification is held out to us by baptism. Here it is necessary to guard against unsound interpretation, lest the wicked superstition of men, as has frequently happened, change a sacrament into an idol. When Paul says that we are washed by baptism, his meaning is, that God employs it for declaring to us that we are washed, and at the same time performs what it represents. If the truth — or, which is the same thing, the exhibition of the truth — were not connected with baptism, it would be improper to say that baptism is the washing of the soul. At the same time, we must beware of ascribing to the sign, or to the minister, what belongs to God alone. We must not imagine that washing is performed by the minister, or that water cleanses the pollutions of the soul, which nothing but the blood of Christ can accomplish. In short, we must beware of giving any portion of our confidence to the element or to man; for the true and proper use of the sacrament is to lead us directly to Christ, and to place all our dependence upon him.

 

Others again suppose that too much importance is given to the sign, by saying that baptism is the washing of the soul. Under the influence of this fear, they labor exceedingly to lessen the force of the eulogium which is here pronounced on baptism. But they are manifestly wrong; for, in the first place, the apostle does not say that it is the sign which washes, but declares it to be exclusively the work of God. It is God who washes, and the honor of performing it cannot lawfully be taken from its Author and given to the sign. But there is no absurdity in saying that God employs a sign as the outward means. Not that the power of God is limited by the sign, but this assistance is accommodated to the weakness of our capacity. Some are offended at this view, imagining that it takes from the Holy Spirit a work which is peculiarly his own, and which is everywhere ascribed to him in Scripture. But they are mistaken; for God acts by the sign in such a manner, that its whole efficacy depends upon his Spirit. Nothing more is attributed to the sign than to be an inferior organ, utterly useless in itself, except so far as it derives its power from another source.

 

Equally groundless is their fear, that by this interpretation the freedom of God will be restrained. The grace of God is not confined to the sign; so that God may not, if he pleases, bestow it without the aid of the sign. Besides, many receive the sign who are not made partakers of grace; for the sign is common to all, to the good and to the bad alike; but the Spirit is bestowed on none but the elect, and the sign, as we have said, has no efficacy without the Spirit. The Greek participle êáèáñίóáò, is in the past tense, as if he had said, “After having washed.” But, as the Latin language has no active participle in the past tense, I chose rather to disregard this, and to translate it (mundans) washing, instead of (mundatam) having been washed; which would have kept out of view a matter of far greater importance, namely, that to God alone belongs the work of cleansing.

 

In the word. This is very far from being a superfluous addition; for, if the word is taken away, the whole power of the sacraments is gone. What else are the sacraments but seals of the word? This single consideration will drive away superstition. How comes it that superstitious men are confounded by signs, but because their minds are not directed to the Word, which would lead them to God? Certainly, when we look to anything else than to the word, there is nothing sound, nothing pure; but one absurdity springs out of another, till at length the signs, which were appointed by God for the salvation of men, become profane, and degenerate into gross idolatry. The only difference, therefore, between the sacraments of the godly and the contrivances of unbelievers, is found in the Word.

 

By the Word is here meant the promise, which explains the value and use of the signs. Hence it appears, that the Papists do not at all observe the signs in a proper manner. They boast indeed, of having “the Word,” but appear to regard it as a sort of enchantment; for they mutter it in an unknown tongue; as if it were addressed to dead matter, and not to men. No explanation of the mystery is made to the people; and in this respect, were there no other, the sacrament begins to be nothing more than the dead element of water. In the word is equivalent to “By the word.”

 

27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.

 

Clarke writes, "That he might present it to himself] It was usual to bring the royal bride to the king in the most sumptuous apparel; and is there not here an allusion to Psa. xlv. 13, 14: The king's daughter (Pharaoh's) is all glorious within, her clothing is of wrought gold; she shall be brought unto the king (Solomon) in raiment of needlework? This presentation here spoken of by the apostle will take place on the last day. See the note on 2 Cor. xi. 2.

 

A glorious Church] Every way splendid and honourable, because pure and holy.

 

Not having spot] spilov? No blemish on the face; no spots upon the garment; the heart and life both holy.

 

Wrinkle] rutida? No mark of superannuation or decay. The word is commonly applied to wrinkles on the face, indicative of sickness or decrepitude.

 

Holy and without blemish.] In every sense holy, pure, and perfect. Now it was for this purpose that Christ gave himself for the Church; and for this purpose he continues the different ordinances which he has appointed; and, particularly, the preaching of the word - the doctrine of reconciliation through faith in his blood. And it is in this life that all this purification is to take place; for none shall be presented at the day of judgment to him who has not here been sanctified, cleansed, washed, made glorious, having neither spot, wrinkle, blemish, nor any such thing. How vain is the pretension of multitudes to be members of the true Church while full of spots, wrinkles, blemishes, and MANY such things; fondly supposing that their holiness is in their surety, because not in themselves! Reader, lay thy hand on thy conscience and say, Dost thou believe that this is St. Paul's meaning? See the notes on chap. iii. 14, &c."

 

Henry writes, "And that he might present it to himself, &c., v. 27. Dr. Lightfoot thinks the apostle alludes here to the Jews' extraordinary carefulness in their washings for purification. They were careful that there should be no wrinkle to keep the flesh from the water, and no spot nor dirt which was not thoroughly washed. Others understand him as alluding to a garment come newly out of the fuller's hand, purged from spots, stretched from wrinkles, the former newly contracted, the latter by long time and custom. That he might present it to himself—that he might perfectly unite it to himself in the great day, a glorious church, perfect in knowledge and in holiness, not having spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing, nothing of deformity or defilement remaining, but being entirely amiable and pleasing in his eye, holy and without blemish, free from the least remains of sin. The church in general, and particular believers, will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. From this and the former verse together we may take notice that the glorifying of the church is intended in the sanctifying of it: and that those, and those only, who are sanctified now, will be glorified hereafter.—"

 

Calvin writes, "That he might present it to himself. He declares what is the design of baptism and of our being washed. It is, that we may live in a holy and unblamable manner before God. We are washed by Christ, not that we may return to our pollution, but that we may retain through our life the purity which we have once received. This is described in metaphorical language appropriate to his argument.

 

Not having spot or wrinkle. As the beauty of the wife produces love in the husband, so Christ adorns the Church his bride with holiness as a proof of his regard. This metaphor contains an allusion to marriage; but he afterwards lays aside the figure, and says plainly, that Christ has reconciled the church, that it might be holy and without blemish. The true beauty of the church consists in this conjugal chastity, that is, in holiness and purity.

 

The word present (ðáñáóôήóὟ) implies that the church ought to be holy, not only in the view of men, but in the eyes of the Lord; for Paul says, that he might present it to himself, not that he might shew it to others, though the fruits of that hidden purity become afterwards evident in outward works. Pelagians were wont to quote this passage in order to prove the perfection of righteousness in this life, but have been successfully answered by Augustine. Paul does not state what has been done, but for what purpose Christ has cleansed his church. Now, when a thing is said to be done that another may afterwards follow, it is idle to conclude that this latter thing, which ought to follow, has been already done. We do not deny that the holiness of the church is already begun; but, so long as there is daily progress, there cannot be perfection."

 

Heavenly Father,

 

It's been interesting to study this portion in Ephesians today. I can see what Your intent is in the relationship between a husband and wife...in many ways, mirroring the relationship with Christ and His Bride, His church, Your children...

 

I have seen many distortions and abuses in the institution of marriage that You originally gifted to us, and it's gotten so convoluted over the years with human reasoning, to the point where it no longer feels like a holy union in the world, at least not in the holy way that You originally intended...

 

I'm not saying that there are not many who are obedient to You and live their lives according to Your instruction found in Your Word...I am saying that it's getting rarer and rarer to see.

 

In my mind, what I'm seeing, if I take it a little deeper is that our human union is to mirror our spiritual union with You, our Father, with Christ, our Groom, with Your Holy Spirit. So, to comprehend the depth with which You intended our earthly unions, I have to look at it in some ways through my spiritual union with You...

 

I could not truly or totally submit to You till I developed a deeper understanding and a real relationship with You. You caused something inside of me to begin to hunger to know You better and I began pursuing that. It was skerry at times Lord. Many times it was taking a risk to trust You when I could see nothing. But You were there every step of the way because You always always always gave me Your peace. Your Spirit began wooing my heart and I took notice of it. While I expected consequences and judgement and retribution for my rebellious sin, You gave me Your peace, compassion and love. You loved me when I was most unloveable and that moved me...that captured my attention, and it was as if I had my back pressed against the furthest corner of the room afraid, yet curious. Perhaps there was a part of me that wanted to be wrong about fearing You because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there was nothing in this world that could fill the holes in my heart.

 

So, over the last couple of years You gently, lovingly, patiently and softly wooed my heart. You somehow miraculously got me outta of that corner I was pressed into, took my hand and stood me up...never forcing Yourself on me, always patient, always knowing how slow or fast I could go in this relationship with You. Over the last couple of years, You culminated it to the point where I was no longer just standing there observing You, waiting for the boom to fall...I somehow began to pursue You instead, wanting more of Your goodness and love. As I began to walk towards You, that walk turned into a jog, and then into a full fledged, desperate run...desperate for You, willing to lay all things down, no matter how much they hurt at the moment, willing to trust You above all other, willing to take that risk because I felt I had nothing else to lose.

 

And You were there, and are there. Every morning I put my whole entire life on hold because I just can't bear to start without You. I need my time with You in the mornings...sometimes the mornings blend into afternoons and I don't care. I know that You will somehow cause all the things I need to address in my life, to be accomplished, because You are God and I am not. lol

 

Now when I look over all that I just wrote and try to figure out how all that happened, I notice one thing. I notice that this transformation that You are birthing in my heart is one based out of love. It's a love that is deeper and more fuller and more satisfying that any love I've had for any human being...it is a holy love, a perfect love, a Godly love. I can't even begin to explain the dynamics to it, but the intimacy that is unraveling is in turn, unraveling me. Nobody could ever make me do anything in life...I couldn't be threatened, I couldn't be forced, I couldn't be brow beat into submission. But the ONE thing I've never had a defense against, is genuine love...and Your love is not only genuine, it's holy.

 

So, Father, I'm finding myself losing myself in You. When I think of myself as being a part of the Bride of Christ, I notice all this sin in my life and it embarasses me, it saddens me, it causes me to feel shame that I can be so bold as to think that there is anything in this world that is worth more than You. I find myself furiously cleaning house, willing to lay down before You, all these things that I've held onto because I was afraid to not have them in my life. 'How could I ever live without this person, or that person, or this thing or that thing?'...

 

You never demanded I lay this down, but You did ask me. And because I'm beginning to fall in love with You, I WANT to lay it down. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes my heart breaks laying it down because it gets skerry, but I've made that decision, that choice that I want You more. I've trusted just about everything in life I wanted to trust and it yielded me nothing, so I know that for a fact. I just have to take this risk and trust You in a way I've never trusted You before.

 

And because I've made that decision, that choice, ooooooooooooooooooh Father God, I feel Your presence like I never have before. I sense Your kingdom decending down into my life in such a glorious way...I never could have dreamed or imagined it. I still have issues and pressures in my life but they no longer fill me with fear or dread. Your perfect peace really DOES wipe out all fears and I feel free like I've never felt before. Free and peaceful...I never knew it could be like this.

 

As I go through my days, hand in hand with You, my heart is constantly touched by the tender little blessings You bring into it. Whether it's happening upon an obscure little gas station that has gas 7 cents cheaper than anywhere in town, to 'just happening upon' a sale where I can buy my daughter who I love with all my heart a little gift that normally costs $20, but that You lead me to for $4...tons of tiny little blessings that most people would find no big deal, but that fill my heart with love for You because I know that Your hand is in it.

 

Some of the most special times is when all of a sudden, in the middle of my day, I'll think of you and stop and tell You that I miss You. My heart has missed all kinds of people in my life that I have loved, but there's just something different when those times strike me and I miss You. So, I start to pray and tell You how I'm feeling and once again, because You are so tender and precious, You fill my heart with Your presence and I revel in it. I don't ever wanna go back to the emptiness I felt my whole life. I don't ever want to lose You again because of me. And I know, and I trust that You will keep me from that heartache again...

 

So, as I experience all this with You, I begin to comprehend what Your original intent was for a husband and wife. As a woman, and from my perspective, it is right and good that a wife submit to her husband. When the husband mirrors the love, care and attention that Christ has over His Bride, then it is safe for his wife and You will bless and protect that union.

 

Anyway, I know this is a long winded, written out prayer, but this is how I talk with You these days Lord. I don't know if anyone else will understand what I'm trying to put into words, but I know that You understand what lies in my heart.

 

I love You.

 

In Jesus Name,

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This simple principle of submitting (not subjecting) to one another is one of the great mysteries of how the Kingdom of God (vs the world) works effectively. I remember clearly when I 'learned' about what it means to 'be' willing to lay down one's life for another human being. It was actually only a few months ago when I 'knew' that I was willing to do that regardless. It means (for a man) being willing to lay down his life physically as well as die to himself in favor of 'being two as one'. I assume the same thing is true for women but I just suspect that maybe somehow it's different for men simply because of the way we're made. I also think that part of the responsibility that the husband takes on is to provide protection (spiritually, emotionally, physically) for his wife so that she can grow into what God has called her to be and to flourish.

 

I've got so many friends that I know love the Lord. And their marriages are upside down. It's so painfully clear in the way they interact and the way decisions are made without mutual discussion and consent. I think it's meant to be a true partnership of equals but some structure has to be there for making hard decisions after careful consideration and input from both parties. Men are in the position of being accountable to the Lord for the decisions made in the home which is not an easy place to be sometimes. But, when the two do agree (usually after prayerful consideration) the Lord seems to honor those prayers and the 'seeking His Kingdom first' in remarkable ways. I think that's why daily family prayer is so important. It's like pulling the weeds from the garden before they take over and providing a healthy place for all of the seeds to grow and be nurtured. Just consider the example of Sarah and Abraham and the fruit of Sarah's decision in having children. Ishmael was the firstborn. Generations of mankind have been living with her decision since Ishmael is regarded as the 'father' of the Arabs.

This gets really interesting a few verses on. There's another set of scriptures in 1 Peter that address some of these same issues as well. It's really pointing to a woman's natural beauty and strength (regardless of outward appearance) as well as 'what it means' to be a 'man' scripturally regardless of what humans think. An interesting word study is to look up Ish and Isha in Hebrew (husband and wife) to get their original meanings from the Hebrew language.

Part of Adam's sin was not standing guard over the garden and his wife. Apparently he was standing right there when the 'serpent' was talking to his wife and never said anything about it. (Ever wondered what 'language' they were speaking if they were using words at all?) It's a balance (from my perspective) of the husband 'watching over' his wife and discerning. Also, one of the things the Lord has been showing me is how important it is to 'trust' a woman's intuition when she's honestly seeking the Lord. Even if it results in conflict, sometimes that intuition is right on and the Lord is faithful to give us (me at least) that discernment regardless of the outward apparent facts. It's part of Him working that balance into a loving relationship that is submitted to Him first regardless.

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