“ Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. …For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” – 1 Peter 3:1-7.
We have been discussing the subject of submission this week in the daily devotional. But since we spent time on what submission means, I thought it wise to spend a few moments talking about what submission does not mean.
Submission is not about forced control. When a man leads his wife, he is leading her to depend on Christ, not on himself. The kind of leadership a husband provides his wife is to encourage her growth in grace and prepare her to be an equal heir in the coming kingdom. Biblical submission does not mean that the wife is in any way inferior to, or less than her husband. Nor does it mean the wife should be a docile or passive participant in the marriage. Biblical submission does not mean agreeing with everything your husband says and giving up independent thought.
Biblical submission is not putting the husband in the place of Christ as if the husband is some sort of absolute authority. Biblical submission does not mean that a wife gets her personal and spiritual strength from her husband. She gets her strength from God. And it does not mean putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ.
Submission is also not about belittlement, inferiority, or worthlessness. Scripture teaches that we are to “encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). It also says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29). And “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” (Colossians 3:19).
A wife’s submission is also not blind and absolute. Ultimately, Christ is the wife’s final authority. As a wife follows her calling to submit in marriage, she is ultimately submitting to Christ. She also gets her spiritual identity and ultimate strength and meaning through Christ and not through her husband.
- Did this week change your view of submission? If so, how?
- We talked about the wife, but how do these principles apply to the husband and the children?
- Is there one area that you need to make changes in?
- Pray and ask God to help you make the changes needed to move closer to his standard for submission.