Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is the Relationship Worthy of Marriage: The Chain of Command

Is the Relationship Worthy of Marriage:  The Chain of Command

 

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. – Ephesians 5:22-24
Submission.  When a woman hears that word, her defenses go up, her ears close, and she’s put on guard to protect the rights she has!  Some may have just stopped reading after the first words of this devotional that say “Wives, submit”.  But I encourage you, ladies of God, continue reading.  It’s not all about us.  Husbands have to submit too!

In any successful organization, whether it is a business, military, or even government, there is leadership.  It’s a chain of command, and levels of responsibility.  Those at the top of the chain are most powerful, and with each lower level the power is less and the responsibilities are less. God’s chain of command in marriage is no different.
Like it or not, women are the weaker sex.  It is simply how we are designed, and it’s a design by God so there is no shame in it.  1 Peter 3:7 says that husbands are to give “honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel”. 

We have to go back to the Garden of Eden to see where it all started.  Yes, I’ve heard those sweet little poems about where the bone came from, and that it wasn’t from the head so she could rule over Adam, but how God took a rib from his side so she would be equal.  The fact of the matter is, yes, that was what God intended…until sin came along.  Once sin same along, the chain of command was established through the curse.  God came into the garden looking for them, knowing already what had happened.  He didn’t call to Eve, who had been first to sin.  Genesis 3:9 says “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” He called for Adam – not Eve.  And later on as the curse is being spoken over Adam, Eve, and the snake, God says to Eve in Genesis 3:16, Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Read that last part again….”he shall rule over you”.  God’s words – not mine.
Move out of the Garden of Eden, and look at the relationship between Abram and Sarai.  This was a marriage blessed beyond any other.  In Genesis 17, God told Abraham (not Sarah) that he would make his children as many as the stars, and he would be the “father of many nations”.  Then He gave Abram a different name – Abraham.  Secondly, God speaks of Sarai and says she will be the “mother of many nations”, and names her Sarah.

A new name given by God is something to be reverenced!  But Sarah didn’t call Abraham by his God-given name.  Instead she called him “Lord”, showing reverence and submission to him as her husband.  In 1 Peter 3:1-6 wives are given instruction with Sarah as the example.  It says “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,  as Sarah obeyed Abraham, CALLING HIM LORD, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. Sarah acknowledged and showed reverence to Abraham even in how she addressed him.  Notice also that a woman’s beauty was to be in her heart, where God sees, and not on her flesh.  It is through her “chaste conduct accompanied by fear“ of God that her unbelieving husband may become a believer.  To be beautiful to God, possess “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”, which is “very precious” to God. 
In 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul says, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”  So the chain of command is like this: God, Christ, Husband, Wife.  Does that mean the wife does not submit to Christ?  Of course not! Christ is a higher authority, and you will submit to Him even over that of your husband because your husband is lower than Christ.  When differences arise in what Christ says and what your husband says, you are called to follow Christ.

Husbands, you have to submit to Christ.  Your responsibility is greater than that of your wife.  You are to be the spiritual head of the household.  You are to be the one that says “Let’s go to church”, “Lets pray”, “Let’s raise our children to honor God”.  You are an example to your household, and it is your reputation that your children will be known by because they carry your name.  You are to have the final word, and therefore, the final responsibility on all decisions.  When arguments arise, and decisions are to be made, you answer to Christ in all matters.  When the wife submits, you are in full responsibility.  You cannot afford to be lax in your relationship with God.  Your entire family depends on you to lead, and be led by Christ. 
Proverbs 31:10-31, the passage about the Virtuous Woman, says two important things about the relationship of a good wife and her husband.  It says that her husband trusts her, and he praises her.  These two characteristics show more than just trust and adoration.  It’s a relationship built on responsibility one to another.  It’s honor and love.

Ladies, as wives you have a new calling on your life to be under your husband’s authority.  Arguing, going behind his back to do things your way, shouting at him, ordering him around, degrading him, are all breaking the chain of command.  Until you are ready to follow God’s chain of command, you are not ready for marriage.  You’ll create a house of torment for yourself, your spouse, and your children.  
Gentlemen, if you cannot submit to Christ now in all things, you’re not ready to marriage.  Submit your life, you words, your job, your character, your reputation, your time and even your money to Christ.  When you can follow Christ without breaking the chain of command, then you are capable of leading a wife.  But be sure that the wife you find is capable of submitting to your authority.

A marriage is only as strong as the links in it's chain of command.

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