So I know that this post isn’t Valentine’s Day material…but maybe in a way it is? Because every relationship we have is governed by the LORD. I am one of those people who cannot help but say what is on my heart, and this is it today. Maybe YOU don’t struggle with this problem as a woman, but then you would be the exception, so read on to understand the rest of us!
Who’s the boss? I have wanted to be my own boss since I was a toddler – just ask my mom! Guess it took me over four decades to learn that I am, most definitely not, my own boss. Sadly, getting married delayed this process because I had a whole new person to struggle against (sorry Sweetie!). But, what I didn’t learn was so simple. El Elyon/El Shaddai/Jehovah/Yahweh‘¦He is well-named. The LORD is over all; and He is surely the boss of me.
Now this thing, I did “know” it before, in my head. But I would not go there with my heart. I had the head knowledge but my heart was still making excuses for getting my own way. What does this understanding mean to me now? Since the LORD is the boss: I have no right to question Him, give Him orders, criticize His plans, abandon Him, or turn and rebel against Him. Instead I must: obey Him, agree with Him, praise His goodness, seek to be at peace with Him, and desire to please Him.
So how does God-as-Boss relate to marriage? Honestly, this is the key to both marriage and parenting, as well as getting along with just about anybody else at work, or at church, or in the neighborhood. In Shepherding a Child’s Heart (amazon link), Tedd Tripp, explains the importance of teaching your child to know they are “one under authority”. We will talk more about the parenting aspect next week, but how does this apply to marriage?
I started life out, under a very real authority, as the daughter of a Marine Corps Officer. But my heart? It was wild and rebellious. And this rebellion spilled over, gushed into, and flooded my relationship with Yahweh, the Ultimate Authority. But my mother, all the while she was sowing the seeds of the Word, into that heart. And finally, it has been my understanding of the authority of the Word that has led to the discipline of my heart. If you believe that the Word is the Truth, your own opinions will not be able to stand against it. This is what has happened to me:
- Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people (1 Peter 2:13-14).
- Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God…Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed (Romans 13:1, 7).
- Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
- Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5).
- 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 (1 Peter 3:1-2).
- Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands (Eph 5:1-2, 22-24).
You can hear many arguments against God’s plan for authority in the family: “God’s Plan was different in the Garden, before sin entered the world”; “don’t forget about the man’s responsibility to love his wife” (Eph 5:25-30); “love and respect are a two-way street” (Ephesians 5:33). And we also could find excuses to disagree by talking about exceptions like abusive relationships or, physical/mental incapacity in the husband, or infidelity; but those examples are just that, exceptions, so we will not go there today.
What we cannot deny, even though it is counter culture (hello feminism!), and though it goes against the grain of our nature (our sin nature), is that God has determined for the man to be the head of the house. When he is not, there is a departure from God’s plan. When we depart from God’s plan we are choosing our own way over His and this is sin. Let’s remember the He is the designer of the family, so He knows best how it works. All of this is a sort of Torah, His instruction, that is meant to provide the best for us and is also meant to help us to be a reflection of Him.
So, here is where this impacts you even if you are not married. Submitting to the authorities that God has instituted is simply agreeing with God. If you cannot be at peace with the idea of the man being head of the house, you probably have absolutely no peace when this country elects a President you don’t like; you might disregard speed limit signs and despise the cop who pulls you over; you may talk against your Pastor or the elders in your church; and if you don’t like your boss, or your husband’s boss, then probably everyone knows this because you can’t help but say it. Acknowledging the man as head of the household, as head of the woman, is only offensive if we cannot acknowledge that God is the head of us and that He knows best.
In fact, ideas of headship are not so much about our own personal relationships, as they are about our relationship with God. Honoring others above ourselves is about us honoring God above ourselves: Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord (Romans 12:9-11).
All of that being said, knowing what is right, and being at peace with it, are two different things. I will get to the part about having peace next time. Until then, keep these words in your heart on Valentine’s Day: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1-3).