I was thinking about Kayla’s guest post from the other day. You can read it here – about Wives’ #1 Fear about Respect and Submission.
And I was thinking about some of the emails I get from women who are beyond discouraged in their marriages and their lives. How my heart breaks with them for the suffering they have endured and are enduring.
And it hit me.
That fear that wives have about respecting and submitting to their husbands – the fear that we will do all that hard work and that our husbands won’t repay us in kind with love – or that we will go to all that trouble to meet their needs and they won’t lift a finger to meet our needs – that we’ll put in all the effort and they will do nothing… or, in my case, that if I do all that stuff, what if I still can’t have what I want? What if I can’t control my husband with respect and submission?
Those are the fears we have with our men.
But aren’t those the very same fears we have with God?????
I KNOW I used to subconsciously think things like:
- if I obey You, You will owe me.
- look what a GREAT Christian wife I am! I love my husband and constantly think of him and try to help him all the time and want to connect with him – even though he doesn’t seem to love me at all. I am so much better at this than he is. God, you HAVE to change him. He’s not in your will at all. If he wasn’t spending all his time doing worldly things, maybe he’d have time for You and me. You need to change him TODAY.
- if I spend 4 hours praying for my husband to pray with me a few days per week – You HAVE to answer my prayer. I prayed Your will, after all! And I prayed so long and so fervently. So now You have to give me what I want – regardless of how prideful and self-righteous I was as I looked down my nose at my husband in my prayers.
- If I read my Bible for 30 minutes per day – I’ll be close to you and I will get to have the desires of my heart, even if I am putting those desires above my desire for You.
- if I do what You say – then You have to say yes to me.
- if I am nice to You – You have to reward me in ways I want to be rewarded.
See – I used to actually try to control GOD, too.
I used to think that if I was a”good enough” Christian – God would have to do X, Y and Z for me. He would be obligated.
“God, You owe me a wonderful life, free from burdens and suffering – full of amazing relationships, fun, health, comfort, pleasure, feelings of being loved, feeling romanced, feeling like my husband is a really godly man and strong leader that I can easily respect, healthy children, a long life, no tragedies, no big problems, no tests or challenges to my faith”.
I was actually quite disrespectful towards God in my prayers. I was demanding. I was controlling. I disrespected my husband’s God-given authority and tried to skirt around his authority and complained about him constantly to God. I told God all about how unspiritual and carnal my husband was. I told him all about how ungodly, unloving, selfish, unplugged and uninvolved my husband was and how much he needed God to change him. I told God what a horrible spiritual leader my husband was – and meanwhile… I refused to follow when he tried to lead. And I was being disrespectful to my husband. I was being controlling. I was being PRIDEFUL. I was resentful, unforgiving and bitter. I was looking down my nose at my husband and I was acting just like the Pharisees did. And I didn’t even see it.
That is exactly the mindset we wives often have when we start to learn about respect and biblical submission:
“Oh! If I do these things, then my husband has to do what I want!” And we really think that this is a way that we can control our husbands and make them do what we want.
- I can’t control God.
- I can’t control my husband.
- God is sovereign and is able to work things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
- God uses suffering to make us stronger and more mature, to test us and to expose our weaknesses and sin so that we might grow.
I am SO THANKFUL that I can’t control either of them! If I could – I would never see my own sin and I would never realize what a wretched sinner I am and how much Jesus has paid for me on the cross and I would never see the heights of grace and the depths of mercy God has for me. I wouldn’t need God’s Spirit. I would think I could handle everything on my own. PRAISE GOD He doesn’t let me control Him or my husband! What a blessing!
My motives matter to God. I have to do the right thing for the right reason.
- If I do the wrong thing for the wrong reason. That is sin. i.e.: Steal money to get things for myself that I want and covet.
- If I do the wrong thing for the right reason. That is sin. ie: Steal money to give to the poor.
- If I do the right thing for the wrong reason. That is sin. ie: give to the poor so that others will be really impressed with my generosity
- I must do the right thing for the right reason to please God. ie: give to the poor because I love God and love people and want to obey God.
I must respect and submit to my husband in the right way and for the right reason. And the right reason is because I love God with all my heart and because I reverence Him so much that I want to obey Him and please Him regardless of the results. If I am obeying God to try to get what I selfishly want. It won’t work! I won’t experience God’s Spirit filling me. I obey God’s Word because I love God and want to be close to Him and because I want His Spirit filling me and I want to share His love with others – and I leave the results up to Him. I obey Him without knowing what the end result will be. That’s faith! I lay down my own will and desires and plans and I seek God’s will, desires and plans. I die to myself. And I live for Christ. I lay down my wisdom and pick up His wisdom. That is the path to abundant life, my friends!
Help us to treat You with the utmost respect. You alone deserve all glory, honor, praise and respect. Help us to see our sin and humble ourselves before You. Break us. Let us mourn over our sin. Let us seek to know You more than anything. Let us desire Your presence. Let us seek Your will and Your glory – not our own. Your will, not mine, be done!
In the Name and power of Christ,
“My grace is sufficient for you. For My power is made perfect in weakness.” II Cor 12:9
For more on God’s purposes in suffering and trials, read: