Christian men everywhere unite! It is time to help our wives toward biblical obedience once and for all! Women everywhere should answer their scriptural mandate:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord (Eph 5:22).
I know you have done everything to get these “weaker vessels” (1 Pet 3:7) in line. But in your frustration you have abdicated your responsibilities. In response the women were left to dictate the order in your home, define the family’s spiritual focus, work long, tiring hours away from the children, and run the churches you attend. No matter how much you complain, criticize, yell, sulk, or withdraw, those women just keep assuming control and overriding your authority.
But while you believe that you have exhausted your options, I bring one last hope for turning this mayhem around. It is a tricky maneuver to be sure; they will never see it coming…Let’s love them into submission!
Yes it is challenging and no it won’t happen overnight. But take heart…if we persevere these unique creatures can be transformed into wonderful helpers designed just for us! (Gen 2:18).
Step 1…Become a man under authority…
Submission conveys love, trust, and respect for authority. It depicts a willingness to sacrifice one’s desires in service to another. I know it has been a long time, but think back to high school physics class and recall the most basic physical law: “Every action yields an equal and opposite reaction.”
According to God’s Word, when you learn to submit (conveying love, trust, and respect), your wife will be compelled to do the same. Speaking of Christ, Paul wrote:
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph 1:22-23).
All authority belongs to Christ. A submitted man recognizes and honors this truth first and foremost. Seeking surrender and humility before the Lord presents a model for the wife to follow. An obedient man is a trustworthy and reliable leader because his motivations are not selfish, but rather his existence and aim is to the glory of God.
Step 2…Become a lover of God…
A man can only love his wife into submission by faithfully loving God. When asked, “What commandment is the foremost of all,” Jesus answered:
“The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31).
Notice the order of God’s instruction: the foremost commandment precedes the second; the second follows the first. You cannot love your wife (your closest neighbor) if you do not first love God. Attempts to generate a biblical love without a devoted heart for your Savior will prove futile.
The man who craves order in his home must desire the order of the Lord. The Bible is clear that our capacity for love comes only through the empowerment of His heavenly touch. John wrote:
We love, because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).
A husband who worships God will bear the ability to love his wife. Since submission is perhaps the greatest expression of love, the example to the wife is obvious.
Step 3…Become an imitator of Jesus…
Jesus Christ is not only our Savior, He is our example. This truth is advanced numerous places within the Word. Paul wrote:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (Eph 5:1-2).
To “walk in love” implies continuity. Paul isn’t speaking of an occasional expression of affection, physical or otherwise. Rather he is describing love as an aspect of one’s character. It is a trait that is deeply embedded in who you are and how you live.
And we know that love is the highest expression of Christian character (2 Pet 1:4-7) and identifies the believer as a true disciple (Jn 13:35). At the core of this nature is the sacrificial offering of self in the place of another. Paul reminds us:
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6).
Sacrificial love therefore is constant, not requiring anything in return. It is a love expressed even when circumstances are hard and others are seemingly undeserving. It is the love that headship is made of. Paul taught:
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything (Eph 5:23-24).
Clearly Paul draws a parallel between Christ’s authority over His church and man’s authority over his wife. But take note of the fact that submission is the natural and compelling byproduct of transformational love. The love of the Savior supernaturally changes the wayward heart, bearing the fruit of its application; subjection. Thus Paul presents the following charge:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…(Eph 5:25).
True heavenly authority rests upon the husband who loves “just as Christ also loved…” Without this connection and submission, the earth-based husband will be sorely lacking in the capacity to lead, and surely his family will lack the capacity to follow.
Step 4…Become a man of the Word…
God’s Word is the only suitable nourishment for the Christian soul. Feeding upon other sources of wisdom and following the examples of the world, will surely leave the believing husband grasping for self-control. The world’s notion of manhood does not resemble the call of Scripture. Only in scriptural obedience can we be led through the aforementioned steps.
The Bible demonstrates God’s authority as Creator, Savior, Helper, and Judge. Without the Word, any husband will lack a full understanding and reverence for the Almighty, resulting in pride and self-sufficiency; the antithesis of biblical leadership.
Scripture illustrates the character of Christ repeatedly, allowing the believer intimate knowledge the world does not have. Through study we are drawn into a personal communication with Christ that shapes and develops our capacity to guide those entrusted to our care. Peter conveyed the following reality:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Pet 1:2-3).
The multiplication of “grace and peace” would be an excellent strategy for any home, and it is found in the “knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Clearly Peter defines this knowledge as the source of “divine power” within our lives and marriages. Divine power is much superior to human will. God’s truth gives authority that is shaped in the nature of our Lord.
As men of the Word, we will educate our wives with Scripture, not human wisdom. Not only should the husband learn, he must teach, so that the entire family is well versed in the glorious mysteries of God. Paul wrote that the husband expresses the love of Christ:
…so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:26-27).
Men are called to “sanctify” their wives by “washing” them in the Word. To sanctify means to make something holy. Scripture is like a filtration system that separates the clean from the unclean (Lev 10:10). By reading the Bible to our wives we become active participants in their sanctification and preparation as servants of God. Through the conveyance of truth, the wife learns her role within the Kingdom’s order, even as the man is learning his.
Be encouraged men and do not grow weary in doing well (2 Thess 3:13): Godly order is at hand! Love, displayed at Calvary, defeated sin and abolished death; surely love can transform a home. God loved us into salvation; the submitted surrender to His Lordship. Now follow this example and see for yourself, the Gospel’s impact in your marriage.