I was preparing to present a Bible Study to a group of mixed strangers, friends and acquaintances, when God gave me this word that halted me in my tracks and had me investigating the origin thereof: 'No woman can look up to an insecure wimp!' I balked at the idea of sharing this with the group and decided to give a watered down version on the night in question. This was harsh! Yet, when the time came, and I tried to give it my softened spin, God would not let me, but insisted I repeat it exactly the way I had received it. Afterwards, I was informed that, unknown to me, there were people present in the group who needed to hear those words.This set my mind to thinking about relationships, though. I figured it would be best to take a look at Ephesians 5 to see where the idea of submissive wives originated from. The community of believers (the Church at large), will often quote verse 22 of this chapter to substantiate a number of ways in which to put a woman down.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord."These words hold great truth and value for restoring and building relationships. However, not the way I constantly hear and see them applied. The verse is part of a greater context, and the letter to the Ephesians should be read in its entirety to truly grasp it. I will restrict today's writing to only Chapter 5 in order to make my statement shorter and more succinct. I do recommend you read the whole epistle, though.
In the first 7 verses of Chapter 5, the believers living in Ephesians are reminded to deal with each other in love. Take note of the fact that these are all people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and are part of the larger community of Christians, or believers, across the world. This letter was not written to people who do not believe. These people are also expected to maintain a certain level of interpersonal relationships which does not allow for selfishness or egocentric behavior. Not even coarse jesting should be tolerated. Ask yourself how often you have allowed yourself to indulge in this 'innocent bit of fun'?
Verses 8-14 further expands on what the life of a believer should look like. It talks about bearing the fruit of the Spirit, of distancing ourselves from what is not Godly and about living our lives in full disclosure to each other. If someone were to open the doors of your life wide today, and expose all of your dealings with your colleagues, friends, and family members to the world, would you be able to stand the test of sanctity? Would you be found blameless? Imagine having a couple of hidden cameras put up around your house and workplace. You show up at church on Sunday and they put on selected clips of your life that week. Would there be anything you would like to keep hidden, that you would not want to expose to the Light? If you can think of just one such a thing, then you fall short of the ideal for husband and wife as described later in the chapter.
We now move on to verses 15-21. Here we see that we must seek out God's will for our lives. We must submit to God. We must speak to each other in ways that edify. We are even to sing godly songs to one another.
It is only after setting this tone, and painting this picture, that we now get guidelines for how to live as family members in verses 22-33.
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.Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.The wives addressed in this chapter, are married to godly men, who fear the Lord and seek out His will. They are married to men who submit to God and does not live egocentric selfish lives. They are not married to men who build their own egos on putting their wives and others down. They are not married to men who belittle them. Instead, they are married to men who realize that their wives are a gift from God that ought to be treasured. These men are secure in their identity, in who they are, because they have found their true identity in Christ. These men understand that their wives had been created to assist them in life and that as such, God has equipped these women with abilities, talents and intellects to do just that, which they were created to do.
An insecure man, dare I say wimp, reduces his wife to someone less than she was created to be. An insecure man puts her down with words and actions that belittle her. An insecure man feels threatened by the woman God has given to strengthen him.You need to inspect your own actions and your dealings with your wife, Sir, to see whether or not you are living up to the standard God has set for you as husband. If not, I guarantee you that your wife will not be able to look up to, or admire you. It is not natural. Equally, it is extremely natural for a woman to look up to and admire a man that does reflect the image of a godly man, who lives securely in the knowledge of who he is, who can ask for and accept assistance, and who knows how to love and respect his wife.
What is the first step towards restoring your relationship? Seek out God. Confess your sins, your weaknesses and your insecurities. Then submit to God's authority and put your own selfish ambitions aside. Now seek out God's will for both your own life, as well as your wives. Pray. Pray with your wife. And if need be, depending on how deteriorated your relationship has become, seek out a godly therapist to assist in bringing the two of you back together into the godly unity you were called to be.
I also rather like the idea of accountability. The early church of the New Testament times, held believers accountable to each other. Find yourself a godly mentor, a man after God's own heart and ask for guidance and assistance in this matter. Especially so, if your own father failed to set an example of what a godly man should look like.
I pray for the restoration of marriages, the healing of relationships, the forgiveness of sins and the preservation of a godly community of believers. Amen.
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