As this holiday season comes to a close, I really felt God prompting me to write on something that I have seen all too much of or heard all too much about. It grieves my heart. It aches my soul. It is like a punch to the gut every time I witness the very act that I am speaking. It starts out biblically, but then it twisted and turned in so many grotesque ways that it is more fictional than biblical. What could possibly cause me to react in such a way? The total misuse, and mishandling of Ephesians 5:22, which says, “For wives, this means to submit to your husbands as to the Lord,” according to the NLT version.
Backing up to my title for a moment; of course, the chicken came first. God created the chicken. Going back to Genesis, God created man first. God gave him dominion over all that was created. Let’s take a quick look at the temptation story. Picking it up from Genesis 3:6, “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” Men, let me ask you a question. Why didn’t Adam say anything at his time? Why was he just standing there? Why wasn’t he demanding submission from his wife then? Think about that for a minute. Go back one chapter to Genesis 2:16 where God first warned Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve was not yet alive. Adam was directly given this commandment. Yet, when the time came to speak up, he was silent. Unfortunately, just as many men are silent today until they want to throw their “lordship” around. Then the declaration of submission is shouted from the mountaintops.
Let’s go back to Ephesians for a moment and take a look at the verse just before Ephesians 5:22. Ephesians 5:21 says, “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Men, why are we missing this? It says to submit one to another. There is a two-way street of submission. Why?; out of reverence to Christ. Every move we make is to be made out of our reverence to Christ. Reverence is defined as a deep respect for someone or something. Respect is further defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Gentlemen, within these definitions, I do not see words lord over, king of the castle, what I say goes. We are to submit to one another.
Verse 23 also gets taken out of context, or men just stop reading halfway through. Ephesians 5:23 says, ”For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.” So, men, yes, God said the husband is the head of his wife. He also said as Christ is the head of the church. What did Christ do for the church? Well, first and foremost, He died for the church. So, men, my question is: Have you died for your wife? Have you sacrificed for her? Have you placed her above all your needs? Gentlemen, if the answer is no, then you cannot declare this verse over your wife. It is a critical aspect to understand just how sacrificial Christ was. He left the Kingdom of Heaven to come down to live among us. He modeled for us for three years what it was like to be a real man. He willingly went to the cross to die for every one of our sins. He chose to be apart from his father while He lay in the earth for three days. So, gentlemen, before you go around claiming what you perceive as your right as a husband, have you been the head of your marriage as Christ was the head of the church?
To further accentuate the point, verse 25 says, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her.” The Greek translation of love in that verse is agapao or agape, which means selfless love. Have you loved your wife with a selfless love? Or have you waited to be served dinner, or had the house cleaned, or let her deal with the children. Gentlemen, if you are allowing this to occur on your marriage, do not dare claim submission by your wive. As a side note, if you are partaking in things that men of the world participate in such as pornography, gambling, over drinking, flirting, things of this nature, you are not loving your wife.
Men, there is good news. God is a forgiving God. If this article convicted you and has moved you to change, don’t wait to change. Any woman who has a Christlike husband will be more than willing to submit on her part because she will know that God is guiding the husband. There is nothing better than to be submitted to each other with God at the center of everything. Think back to when you were first courting her. Every time you saw her, you put on your best. Don’t let that fade. This can be an incredible journey for both of you. Isn’t that what you imagined on your wedding day?