Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Day Nineteen - Fixing our Minds on Christ

Are you ready for a challenge today?

I'll be honest I was really tempted just to put today's challenging verse together with a group of other verses and kind of glaze over it. But I really felt the Lord prompting me “No. Slow down and take this verse all by itself and talk through it.”

So, I hope I pray that I have established enough to trust with you as we've gone through this devotional series that you will listen to my heart and that you will hear me on this. 

“Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” 
Colossians 3:18 (HCSB)

Most women fall into one or two camps and I know there are a bunch of other camps in between so I'm not trying to categorize you here. Chances are that either you can say “yes, I submit to my husband it's not a problem. I enjoy it. It's a wonderful blessing.” Or you say “There ain't no way I'm submitting to that man.” 

So, which camp do you fall in? Maybe it's one or the other, or maybe it's somewhere in between. Before we dig in, we need to take this verse just as we take all of the verses in the Bible, in its context.

Important Context

So, if we go back all the way to Colossians chapter 1 we see in verses 15 through 20 that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Everything was created by Him in heaven and on earth. All things have been created through Him and for Him. He's before all things and by Him all things hold together. We learned that Jesus is love. We learned that the mystery is Christ in us the hope of glory. We learned that He is full of grace and mercy and forgiveness and patience. 

When we get to verse 18 of Chapter 3, we have to put all of those things into our minds as the picture of Christ before we start to try to understand this verse. So, if Christ is who He says He is, if He loves us if He means His best for us, why would He give us this command in verse 18 intending to throw all of that goodness away? 

He wouldn't.

He loves us as women. He cares for us. He wants what's best for us and in that context, He is telling us to submit to our husbands as a fitting in the Lord. First of all, we need to trust Christ. Second, this is probably something that we need to grow into. Give yourself room to grow. Give yourself grace and understanding as you work out your salvation and start to submit to your husband.

Growing in Obedience

I will tell you that my husband and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this year. We did not always have a relationship where I was submissive to him, at all. I was independent. I was smart. I was well-educated. I really didn't feel like I needed a husband but I loved him and I wanted to marry him. We wanted a family and to spend our lives together and we got married. 

Our spiritual lives also have grown tremendously over the last 30 years. I'll tell you that when we got married we were both believers in Jesus Christ but neither one of us truly were living for the Lord. It took some deep potholes and some crater-sized mistakes that we had to go through before we surrendered our whole lives to Christ and begin to follow hard after him.

It was then that I suddenly realized that I was supposed to be submitting. That my husband was supposed to be the spiritual leader of our home and when I looked at him he wasn't. I was. I was the one who was in Bible studies. I was the one the one who was growing in Christ. He was off,  busy working shift work with the Sheriff's Office.  He was not really home very much. He worked opposite shifts from our family schedule. It felt to me like I was a single mom. It was necessary for me to make all the decisions because he was always off at work. That was our season of life. It's not right or wrong it's just where we were.

Another piece of that puzzle is this: My husband came from many generations of very strong spiritual giants - who were women - in his family line. He had seen it modeled,  generation to generation to generation, women who were the spiritual leaders of their homes. So it was very easy for him to just give me the reins and let me do it. It's just what he had learned. But scripturally that's not what the Bible says. Our men are supposed to be our spiritual leaders and as women, we are supposed to submit to our husband as is fitting to the Lord. 

Now, I know that you know that submitting doesn't make us doormats and it doesn't make us silent and miserable partners in our marriage relationships. We have gifts. We have roles in our marriage that our husbands can't fulfill. We are called to be their helpmeet. Which means that we stand side by side with them to get done the work the Lord has given us as a family. So, trust that and walk in it and know that you are as important as your husband. One spouse is not more important than the other but the role of leadership, scripturally, goes to your husband.

Begin with Prayer

So, my challenge to you today is very simple. Pray and ask the Lord to help you take the first steps necessary to be a wife who submits to her husband. 

I had a prayer partner with for many years and one of the prayers that we consistently prayed was that our husbands would rise up to be spiritual leaders of our homes. God has answered that prayer in our family well beyond what I could ask or imagine. My husband has moved into that role and I’ll also share with you that it's a blessing for me. 

By doing these things . . .

  • Submitting to my husband
  • Allowing him to be the leader
  • Putting my focus and energy into my marriage 
  • Doing what needs to be done through the roles that God has assigned to each one of us,
  • Understanding that the ultimate leadership and responsibility for our household lies with my husband

. . . it gives me tremendous freedom in the Spirit to be who God has called me to be. Why? Because I don't have to do roles that belong to my husband. I do the roles that God designed for me.

--> I hope this will encourage you. Walk in the truth, learn to love it and learn to embrace the freedom that comes with it. So, this is my heartfelt devotion to you today.  We're not going to hit the brakes and skip over this verse we're going to face it head on. 
If you haven't already done so, start to pray about being submissive to your husband. Start to pray that he will rise up and be the spiritual leader of your home - even if he is an unbeliever because God can change hearts and I've seen it happen. 

Trust the Lord. You've  got this girlfriend. 

Cathy McIntosh is the author of Victorious: Finding Triumph When Hope Seems Lost. When you can’t see God’s activity in your situation, you might begin to feel hopeless. You’re tempted to doubt His care and involvement in your life because He feels so . . . absent. Victory feels elusive as if God intends it for everyone but you.

But God is never absent. He is as involved in your life today as He was when He protected Queen Esther and the entire Jewish nation from annihilation, and He will bring victory.  Click here to purchase.

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