Beauty of Submission

The Beauty of Submission

I Peter 3:1-4 (NKJV) Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

There is beauty in submission for the heart intent on surrender. It is a beauty far surpassing the outward appearance that leaves an indelible mark on the heart it touches. The heart must be soft, pliant, open, and humble to receive such instruction and not become hard and unyielding as pride senses a takeover. Submission is the utmost form of trust in any relationship. It denotes total surrender to the Lord for fulfillment of expectation releasing all other human counterparts. In the beginning it may be a bitter pill choked down rather than savored. Those who force it down will find it to be a seed of blossoming blessing that will lead to success in all relationships as we live and love from a gentle and quiet spirit confident in God’s Love, Grace and Goodness.

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands…

I will be the first to admit that I did not receive the “gift” of submission as one probably should. Preparing for a women’s conference at church with a fellow board member, I had spent the better part of a half-hour ranting about my husband and a disagreement the night before. She allowed me to vent thereby setting the groundwork for a message that would change my marriage forever. When I finally ran out of words, the room was silent. She crossed over to me with what I knew would be solid and profound advice. Holding my hands in hers and looking me right in the eye, she said, “You must learn to submit to your husband. You must be submissive.” If it were possible for my head to spin and steam come shooting out of both ears, it would have happened in that moment. I was so angry that not a single word could be formed and my mouth was hanging open. Had she not heard the injustice? Had she not listened to my hurt? Did she not understand that it was all his fault? I thought she was on my side. She was. She was the godly influence who would plant a seed of truth in my open and exposed heart that would grow, develop and mature into a beautiful marriage of mutual responsiveness and respect.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

I am woman hear me roar…not so fast tiger. Inner beauty within our heart is the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that God finds very precious. I am an extrovert and my husband an introvert. Our personalities are very different as are our life experiences. Coming together in marriage is to leave all other relationships and establish a primary connection with our spouse. To become one together. Just as two people traveling in different directions do not end up at the same destination, one of the two must submit. It is our gift and calling as wives to do just that. To become a reverent partner to the man who God has joined us with is to honor and revere God with total trust and dependency. I trust my husband. I love him. He is just as human as I am and we both make a lot of mistakes. The Grace of God is the glue that keeps our marriage strong as I have learned to submit to God’s Authority and my husband but boy oh boy was it a fight.

Ephesians 5:22-24 (NKJV) 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.

To submit means to be humble and compliant. It is a perceived vulnerability yet must be pursued for complete faith. Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. As wives, women are called to respect, regard and deeply care for her spouse. To reverence or be in awe of as translated from the Greek word “phobeo”. All believers are called to live in mutual submission. (Ephesians 5:21) As a wife I am called, according to God’s Word in Ephesians 5, to serve, honor and edify my husband. Does such a statement rub you the wrong way? Are you irritated at the thought of it? Good, so was I. My life as a wife is to be lived as unto the Lord. I do these things for my husband out of reverence for God and His Word. This should end the argument but it usually causing a warring in our heart and mind. What about me? Who’s going to take care of me?

The husband is called to lay down his life and sacrifice his interests for his wife. He is tasked to support her growth and development spiritually. He is to cherish, warmly care for and attend to her needs, wants and desires. He is to love her as Christ loves the church. He holds the most responsibility in this thing called marriage. God holds husbands accountable for their wives. We must only trust the Lord. This is important unless marriage is deemed impotent because it is out of order or misaligned.

Submission to each other following the guidelines set forth by God creates mutual responsiveness. Just as the Body of Christ is formed by leaving the things of this world and clinging to God through Christ and His Way – marriage is the same process. To become one body in marriage or in the Body of Christ requires leaving and cleaving. Cleaving is to adhere firmly and closely with all loyalty unwaveringly to something. Genesis 2:24 sets forth the marriage principle that “a man shall leave his father and mother to be joined with his wife and they become one flesh.” I wonder what the success rate of marriage might be if both partners embraced these roles fully and completely as designed by God made possible through Jesus Christ. Would revival break out in the Body if it became one?

I Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV)  Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

Smith Wigglesworth was a great man of faith. One of the forerunners in faith for the modern day church. His wife, Polly, was a mighty woman of God in her own right. When his plumbing business became very successful, Smith began to work long hours. He missed services and his heart grew cold toward the Lord. Polly faithfully continued serving the Lord. One night she was later than usual returning from church and her husband rebuked her saying, “I am the master of this house and I am not going to put up with you coming home at such a late hour.” Polly told her angry husband, “You may be my husband, but my master is Christ.” Smith put her out the back door in anger forgetting to lock the front door. She came around to the front entering the house in laughter. Soon her gentle spirit and sweet response had both parties dissolved in fits of laughter.

It is human nature to be caught up in our rightness and miss the point of righteousness. We are Kingdom builders which is all about relationships. Building relationships requires submission. Successful marriages are marked by wives who embrace the role of submission and empower their husbands to take the leadership role and fulfill the assignment of accountability for our life. Grace is the gold of submission. We serve in all positions of life as unto the Lord including our marriage partnerships. Each member of the Body of Christ has a role that must submit to the headship of Jesus. Without submission – all things will remain broken. Those who embrace and strive to live a submissive life will inherit a blessing far greater than pride could ever yield. Be submissive. Take on your role given by Christ, whatever that is, fully embracing the calling clearly defined by His Word. You will prosper as your soul prospers.

Ephesians 4:4-6 (NKJV) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

 

Advertisements

The Bride

The Bride

Revelation 19:6-9 (NLT)

Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

It has been almost year since our daughter got married, I think I still suffer from “post traumatic wedding syndrome.” I had no idea how much work went into such an occasion until I was deemed the esteemed honor of mother-of-the-bride. I already have begun coaching my other two daughters on the advantages of elopement. Maybe I am overreacting or perhaps it is because the blessed occasion was just three months after returning from our son’s bone marrow transplant on the heels of three years of cancer treatment. Call me crazy, but I found it all a bit stressful. Thankfully there have been a few other moms who were recently in the same position, I found that they had the same experience. When our now son-in-law came up with the brilliant plan to marry our daughter, it was right before our son’s transplant was to begin. How could he know that this would be a bitter fight with the insurance company, medical boards, executive committees and hospital administrations that would drag on for months delaying treatment? I remember the day that it was decided the wedding must be postponed as treatment started much later than expected. I felt terrible as my daughter wept with disappointment. One month to a young bride anticipating the beginning of a fairytale seems like forever. But thankfully from that point on, the favor of God surrounded us without any more setbacks. Our son successfully completed treatment and stood by his sister, the most beautiful bride on her very special day.

Over the course of her engagement, countless hours of planning and preparation went on. It was fun. It was exciting. It was stressful. It was expensive. But when she walked through the doors on the frigid November day, she was a breathtaking bride. As her father led her to the aisle, her groom openly wept at the sight of her. Overtaken by the moment and the beauty before him, he hung his head with tears streaming down his face as his dad put his hand on his shoulder. Surveying the wedding party in front of me for the first time in what seemed like forever, I took a deep breath. The Lord is good. All of my precious children stood before me together, alive and well just as He promised me from the beginning.

We are the bride of Christ. I wonder if somehow we have forgotten what it feels like. Maybe you have never experienced such an event firsthand only watched from the sidelines. We must maintain our position as bride-to-be with the same anticipation that a young girl feels for her betrothed. At some point right before the big event, my daughter told me in the midst of wedding details that she just wanted to be married. Yeah, no such luck young lady, we are too invested to turn back now. Where is our love for our beloved? When will begin preparing for the big day when He comes for us? Are we ready? Do we even care?

Jeremiah 2:32 (NLT)

Does a young woman forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me.

 

I wanted my daughter to have the perfect wedding day. Everything had to be just what she wanted so early that morning while the rest of the wedding party and family were getting ready her dad and I headed out to the reception hall to prepare for the big party after the ceremony. Thank God for Pinterest as it is the birthplace of miracles or at least great ideas for weddings. Armed with the details for her place settings and a young lady who would be a godsend. We lovingly and carefully set each table for each guest right down to the silverware. Each centerpiece adjusted and readjusted right down to the little hand-cut special order confetti on the table. For hours, we poured over every detail until finally time was up and I had to get ready. Once I returned, my friend who would take over the schedule for the day had arrived to help do the very things completed that morning. She just shook her head, “You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?” We have been friends for a very long time. She knew my heart – it had to be perfect.

Choosing a dress took trying on countless gowns. Picking out jewelry consumed hours of shopping and ordering until we had it custom made. Every detail mattered. Why aren’t we the same when it comes to our wedding to Christ? Where is the need for perfection? The life of the family of the bride is consumed with the smallest detail and the tiniest whim, yet we balk at the request of the Lover of our soul. Have we forgotten the Bridegroom? Throughout the day, I could have paid for the wedding each time my daughter asked about a detail or item. Where is this? What about that? Each time I assured her its right here. “Honey, it is taken care of don’t worry.” When will we begin to prepare for our wedding day like a bride to be? When will our bridegroom become our first love?

Matthew 25:1-12 (NLT)

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’”

Our son-in-law is an extravagant giver who loves to bless our daughter. He sets the bar high for future men that will one day court our two other girls. From the moment, he decided to ask her to be his wife. He began planning their engagement. His love for our daughter evident in every detail. What more could a first love do then die for His Beloved? Jesus died on the Cross so we could be a bride dressed in white and come to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Perhaps this sounds like mumbo jumbo to you. The Love of God for His People was demonstrated on an old rugged cross high on a hill when His Son, His Only Son, was tortured, abused, and ridiculed, nailed with pegs to die the most brutal death possible in that day. He was humiliated. He was perfect, He was sinless. He died for His Bride. Have we forgotten? Why are we so ill-prepared? What will it take to get us excited about the return of our bridegroom? When will become a giddy bride rather than a wandering one? In my heart, I can hear the Spirit saying come – it’s time to get ready. This is not a religious call but a jealous whisper straight from the mouth of my Bridegroom. This isn’t a call to good deeds but a life of love. He wants me to love Him like I first did when I gave Him my life. The Lord wants me to be excited about the day we meet again with the same heated anticipation that He has. He wants a lover. He wants me. Now I must show that I want Him, too.

Song of Solomon 2:16 (TLB) My beloved is mind and I am his…

 

People who are in love understand the longings written in the Song of Solomon. Just before this declaration of love, it says, “The little foxes are ruining the vineyards. Catch them, for the grapes are in blossom.” Distractions. Schedules. Appointments. Routines. I know that there were days during the execution of her wedding that our daughter was ready to elope. Run off and marry her love. Weddings do not always bring out the best in people. It is all about love. The love of two people who want to become one. Isn’t that our life as a believer? We are one person who wants to become totally consumed by Jesus Christ. Why? Why make such a commitment? Without love, what’s the point? The only way that we will ever become the Bride of Christ is to fall hopelessly, head-over-heels in love with Him. It is in the confession above all others I choose you that we discover the Love of our life and are willing to serve Him.

Isaiah 61:10 (NLT)

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.

Are you overwhelmed with joy in the Lord today? He dressed you (and me) with the clothing of salvation and draped us in a robe of righteousness… like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. Our perception of salvation is flawed if it is anything less than extravagant love. Endless and copious amounts of grace come from blind and jealous love. God passion for His People is matchless. No one can or will ever love us like Jesus loves us. So why are we not excitedly preparing our life to meet our beloved? I am asking myself this question today. Why are there some things that I am not willing to do to meet Him? Why wouldn’t every detail be important? Why don’t I want to please Him in every motive and action? Have I lost my first love? Obedience and submission are gifts for my natural husband. Things I choose to give him but certainly do not have to according to this world. In return, he loves me like Christ loved the church. We both do these things to the best of our ability for one another. Why do anything less for Jesus? He is our Bridegroom who will return one day! Will He recognize us as His Bride? This is not an arranged marriage. He chose to die for us. In doing so, just like a young man offering a girl a ring, He offers us salvation to enter a covenant union with Jesus forever. It is a love affair of epic proportions not forced or arranged. I chose to fall in love with Jesus. Or have I? Those who approach their relationship with the Lord as their Beloved will enter the greatest courtship ever known. As I surrender my heart, mind and soul to Jesus as my Beloved and not as a chore, I suddenly become like that beautiful bride waiting for her bridegroom again. It is all about love. Without love, there is no marriage. Without commitment, there is no covenant. We are offered it all in our relationship with Jesus Christ if we are willing to become like a bride! Our daughter was radiant on her wedding day. I am bias. She is a beautiful girl. But the moment she saw her beloved she absolutely glowed. This is the relationship that we are after with the Lord, it is the one that He desires, too. To love and be loved for the rest of our life. To live and prepare for our wedding day paying attention to the tiniest of details. If only we would live like a bride waiting for our groom!

Jeremiah 33:10-11 (NLT)

“This is what the Lord says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the Lord. They will sing, ‘Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for the Lord is good. His faithful love endures forever!’ For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the Lord.”