Your faith in God is not a personal or private matter. People will know what you believe by how you live. Our interactions with others underscore our spirituality.
Paul shows in Colossians 3, how faith in Jesus Christ will enhance every relationship. He gives specific instructions for a variety of common relationships. This will be a two-part series as we first dive into marriage.
The Bible’s instructions are the roadmap for a follower of Jesus. We were built for relationship. When each person in a relationship is giving, no one is a taker.
We learn from scripture how marriage is the act of two people becoming one flesh. This is symbolic of God creating Eve, by taking a rib from Adam. Marriage is not two people living together, but a man and woman united together before God in holy matrimony.
The symbolism of creation explains the pain divorce causes within a family because it separates something that is not meant to be separated.
Paul’s says, “wives to submit to your husbands” and “husbands to love their wives and not to be harsh with them.” The word submit is different from obey. In Greek, submit implies voluntary.
Submitting is used often in scripture in the context of the Christian life. Jesus said often, I don’t say or do my will but what I hear and see the Father say/do. Jesus modeled submission.
Our resistance to this scripture is the result of false assumptions, here are three.
#1 Paul is not saying women are to submit to all men.
This would make women inferior. The Bible emphatically states there is no difference between Jew or Gentile, male or female.
#2 Submission doesn’t involve a compromise of my faith, morals, or character.
Paul is not teaching that wives are to do whatever their husbands ask them to do, even if it would compromise their faith or character.
#3 Submission suppresses my opinions, feelings, or emotions.
To submit infers you have all of these at work in your marriage but instead of demanding, you discuss them and if necessary, voluntarily submit.
The caveat to the submit instruction is the phrase “as is fitting in the LORD,” and this supposes a couple of things.
#1 Submission does not diminish value.
“28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28
Jesus’ submission did not make Him any less God. By submitting, we gain not lose.
#2 It is a component of transformation.
Voluntary submission further develops us and makes us into God’s image. Wives submitted to their husbands does not subject them to him but to the will of God.
On the other side of the coin, husbands are instructed to “love their wives and not be harsh with them.” The word for love in this verse is not eros, which is an intimate love, nor is it phileo, which is a “friendship” love.
Instead, he uses the word agape, an unconditional love that’s given without limit or merit; given without the promise of reciprocation and transcends every prerequisite and requirement.
Agape love gives because it is needed. This is how husbands are to love their wives and not to be harsh in word or action with them.
We are to love not because we want something in return but because wives need to know that we love them as much today as the day we said I do. Wives need to know that they have all our love.
Paul’s statement strikes at the heart of our most basic need in marriage. A husband’s greatest need is to feel respected, and a wives’ greatest need is to feel loved. Our marital security and fidelity build on this fact.
When these two characteristics are absent in a marriage, it will cause tension and create distance. Paul understands the human need for fulfillment in marriage and the danger when husbands or wives are no longer committed to the marriage.
If marriage is not bringing joy and fulfillment, don’t point the finger at your spouse, measure your activity in marriage by Paul’s commands.
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