April and Greg – August 2002
Sometimes, when we are first studying about being godly wives – and we read about respecting our husbands and honoring their God-given leadership – we might be confused.
There is a danger in seeking to become a godly wife that we might think we must suppress our personalities, stuff our feelings, pretend to have no opinions, and ignore our needs.
We may think godliness means we trash our emotions, become fake, act happy while we are dying inside, and give up our influence as women in our marriages.
You may be very relieved to know that that is NOT AT ALL what the journey to become a godly wife or woman is about!
Our brothers in Christ have the exact same journey to make. We all learn to count ourselves dead to our old sinful selves and to this world, to take up our crosses daily, and to live by the power of Christ for His greatest glory.
None of us can do this in our own power. We desperately need Jesus to change us for us to be the godly women He calls us to be! It is only as we discover that He is Real Love and Real Life and that we fully surrender ourselves to Him that we can experience His spiritually abundant life.
WHAT DO WE LOSE AS GODLY WIVES?
– We lose the power of our sinful flesh.
That includes things like: pride, self-righteousness, a critical spirit, covetousness, and idolatry (putting something above God in our hearts).
We lose lust, the power to destroy others, gossip, slander, disrespect, contentiousness, argumentativeness, a divisive spirit, hatred, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
We no longer desire to find security in things other than Christ, lies, ungodly ideas, unbelief, lack of faith, complaining, a desire to control, worrying, or fearfulness.
We lose our sinful lack of love for God or people, apathy, addictions to anything, worldliness, etc…
These things are all garbage in God’s sight. They are toxic poison to us – and He wants them gone for our own good and the good of others and for His pleasure.
The main things we need to focus on giving up are sinful things. Sinful words, sinful attitudes, sinful thoughts, sinful motives, and sinful actions need to go. We lose the warped and distorted version of femininity (and masculinity) that we had before.
– We also lose our previous understanding. Our human wisdom.
We lose the thought from our culture that men and women must be exactly the same in how they think, process, and communicate.
Men and women are very different in many ways. That is not a bad thing. But we do need to lose the idea that men should be just like women. That is not going to happen.
It’s good that God designed us to be different. As we begin to understand how men really think, feel, and talk – we can see them with God’s eyes and with His love.
Apart from Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we tend to go to one of two extremes:
1. Too aggressive – we tend to become controlling, disrespectful wives who attempt to destroy our husbands and who try to usurp their God-given authority in the marriage.
2. Too passive – we tend to become quiet, voiceless, opinionless slaves who cannot think for ourselves and cannot or will not share our hearts or thoughts.
Neither of these extremes honor God. God desires His beloved daughters on both sides of these extremes to come to Him and to find healthy balance through the power of God’s Spirit to become the women He desires and commands us to be.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.
They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want… Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16,17,24
WHAT DO WE RETAIN WHEN WE FOLLOW CHRIST?
We retain our identity in Christ, our personality, our abilities, our interests, our feminine perspective, our womanhood, our dignity, our self-respect, our personhood, our sexuality, and our bodies.
We retain our feelings, our thoughts, our intelligence, our talents, our resources, our free-will, etc… All of those things are still ours. But we bring them all under full submission to the Lordship of Christ.
We begin to understand God’s definition of femininity, masculinity, marriage, and we begin to understand God’s heart and wisdom for every aspect of our lives.
That is what Christ Jesus asks of ALL believers – total submission of all that we have and all that we are to Himself.
We lay down our will, our wisdom, our time, our health, our money, our desires, our sinfulness, our weakness, our worldliness, our sinfulness.
We receive Christ’s death for us, His victory over sin, His victory over hell, His righteousness, His power, His holiness, His will, His wisdom, His desires, and we seek His glory above all else.
- I am not advocating that women become wives who live to please their husbands above all else and who mindlessly do whatever their husbands say.
That would be a way of making our husbands into a god and giving up the influence God has given to us and the responsibilities God has given to us in marriage and in our families. That is never what God asks us to do! (It IS possible to be TOO submissive or TOO respectful)
- I am not advocating abuse of wives in any way – or abuse of husbands or anyone else.
- I am not advocating that women are inferior to men in any way or that men are inferior to women in any way. We are all of equal value and dignity in the sight of God (Genesis 2, Galatians 3:28).
WHAT DO WE GAIN WHEN WE FOLLOW JESUS AS LORD?
This is my favorite part!!!!!!
We gain the Holy Spirit, the power of God, the resources of Christ, the spiritual riches of heaven, and all that belongs to Christ Jesus. When we are in Christ, all we have is His, and all He has is ours. What an amazing thought THAT is!
So, we do lose our sinful power to destroy our husbands and marriages. Some women worry that if they don’t have that sinful power anymore, they will have no voice and be powerless. Not at all!
We gain the power of God’s Spirit to enable us to bless, build up, encourage, respect, honor, and empower our husbands. We gain God’s power to bring healing into our marriages and families.
We gain the power of prayer and access to the throne room of the omnipotent, omniscient, wise, holy, loving, righteous, just, merciful, gracious God of the universe!
When we walk in obedience to Christ and to His Word through the power of His Spirit filling and transforming us to be more and more like Jesus – we have the power to be godly women.
- the power to be partners with God to draw our husbands to Himself. We don’t get in God’s way anymore.
- the power to receive eternal rewards for our obedience to Christ no matter how our husbands respond here on earth.
- the discipline, pruning, and refining of God as he purifies our hearts, minds, and motives on this journey.
- God’s desire to walk in obedience to Him just because we want to please and honor Him, and we want to bless our husbands. We begin to want God’s best for our men rather than trying to control them.
- God’s agape love for our husbands and others. I Corinthians 13:4-8
- God’s design for us as women and as wives and mothers.
- the capacity to be real, authentic, and vulnerable without destroying our husbands.
- the ability to share our hearts, minds, ideas, thoughts, needs, and concerns respectfully, humbly, and gently.
- the ability to influence our husbands in good ways that honor God and our husbands and that ultimately bless us and our families, as well.
- the mind of Christ, the heart of Christ, and the eyes of Christ.
- the power to walk in victory over sin, trials, obstacles, frustration, and opposition.
- the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – when we are walking in the power of Christ living in and through us, and we are abiding in Him (John 15).
- a thankful spirit.
- power and victory over our fear.
- greater faith and trust in God that replaces our worry, anxiety, and doubt.
- We gain an understanding of the amazing, beautiful differences between masculinity and femininity.
- We get to learn the mysterious (to us) masculine language of respect.
- We gain the ability to communicate with our husbands in ways that build them up and bless them, rather than tearing them down. (Proverbs 14:1)
- We learn to embrace godly femininity
I’d love to hear about what you had to give up on this journey, what you retained, and what you have gained!