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Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

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Submission... Here is a subject in which the Lord has been dealing with me for many years now, right from the time of my conversion. At first, it was all too new to me and uncomfortable so I brushed it off. But the Lord continued to show me that submission to God and to our husbands is the very essence of being a godly woman and being a servant of the Lord. And as I’ll share later, God, through His Word, tells us that this whole subject of submission to our husbands is extremely valuable and precious to Him.

Recently, I have spent much time meditating on certain scriptures pertaining to this topic and I will share what the Lord has spoken to my heart about them. Before I even begin on this topic of submission, I want to confess that I still sometimes struggle in this area. In fact, much work still needs to be done here and this is probably one of the areas I struggle most in. However, I do strive to obey the Lord in this area. I strive to submit to the Lord and submit to my husband as unto the Lord. Because in all actuality, my submission to my husband is my submission to God. If I am not submitted to my husband, then I am not submitted to the Lord. And If I am not submitted to the Lord, then He cannot work in or through me. And if He cannot work in or through me then I cannot live in His will for my life.

Probably the first question that comes to mind is “what is submission?” I’m sure we all have our definitions of what we would like it to be, or what we fear it to be. The actual definition as best as I can derive from the Bible is... “Humble, reverent, cheerful obedience to another’s will.” To be able to submit to another, we must put aside our own will and desires and we need to do it from a willing, cheerful heart. If we are pushing our own will and what we want, then we are not able to submit to anyone. However, as Christian women, this does not need to be a difficult task as we have the Holy Spirit of God within us to help us in this area.

The Lord addresses woman and their role here on earth in His precious Word. He gives us some very clear and specific scriptures and if we listen closely, we will hear His very heart on these matters. He tells us how to be godly mothers and wives.... how to be godly women. Come delve into the scriptures with me, so together we can hear the Lord’s heart on these things...

I began my meditation in Ephesians chapter 5. In verse 22-24 it says... “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the savior of the body. 24 Therefore, as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” The scriptures here tell us that we are to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. I meditated on that for awhile. The words “as unto the Lord” kept ringing in my ears. It doesn’t just say “submit to your own husbands” it adds “as unto the Lord.” What this speaks to my heart is that the Lord is saying “Submit yourself to your husband as you would to ME.”

“Oh, yes Lord” is my first thought- but the truth is, I don’t always do that. The Lord has brought great conviction to my heart as I continue to reflect on these words.

Many women struggle with submission to their own husbands. Some question why they even need to submit at all. We are given reason right here in the passage above as to why we need to submit. It is because of God’s order. In His infinite wisdom, God has set into place His perfect order of things. 1Cor. 11:3 confirms this also, it reads, “ But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God.” His way is truly the right way. If we were to try and change or ignore this order, it will lead us to failure and frustration. It leads to strife and chaotic homes with confused and rebellious children. It leads to exhausted wives, and bitter husbands. It just doesn’t work. God’s way is perfect and complete... we are to be in subjection to our husbands as the church is subject to Christ... if we can just grasp that truth, we are on our way to becoming godly women.

In verse 24 I also noticed two words that struck like a knife... In everything It says we are to be subject to our own husbands in everything. “Everything?” I thought. I went and researched the word everything to really understand what the Lord was telling me here. I found out what it means... everything. Possibly I was hoping for something different? It also means “In all things.” So, no disguises here. We as godly woman are to submit ourselves to our own husbands in everything. But again, we have the Spirit of the Lord who will help us to attain these things and obey these commands. There is one important point that I must stress, though. Although everything literally means “all things”, sinning against God is not included here. This is a scriptural principle found throughout the Bible. The apostle Peter tells us to, “Submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake (1Pet. 2:13) yet in Acts 5:29, after he was commanded by men in authority to be quiet about Jesus, which would have been being disobedient to God, he exclaims, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” So even though he teaches us to submit to every ordinance of man, clearly that means submit in all things until man tells us to blatantly disobey God. Our obedience is to the Lord first. Nothing nor any man should come before Him in our lives. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that we should not submit to our husbands if he requests for us to do something we do not like or something we think is not good. I am speaking of blatant sin against the Lord.

And finally, in this same chapter in verse 33 it says... “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Here, we are told to reverence our husbands. I had to look more closely into this one. To show reverence means to show great respect and honor towards them. Sarah, we are told, called Abraham, “lord” and is commended for doing so. That is showing esteem and honor. Reverence toward our husbands will also lead us to have a sincere desire to please them in every area. To continually be looking for ways to please them and support them, while esteeming them and serving them. To do these things, we must put aside our selves.

1 Peter 3:1-4 is rich and really says some spectacular things when you truly grasp what it is saying. It reads... “Likewise ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the Word, they also may be won by the conversation of the wives. 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be outward adorning of plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on apparel;4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” In this passage, it tells us that even if our husbands “obey not the Word” we still need to be in subjection to them. When we think about it with our finite minds, this makes no sense at all. And we wonder why we should listen to anybody who is disobeying God’s Word. But the Lord tells us why right here in this passage... It is because as we obey and subject ourselves to them, we are displaying our fear of God and our godly conduct and this is something they will take notice of. “while they behold your chaste conversation (conduct) coupled with fear.“ I looked deeper into the word “chaste” as it seemed to be of great significance in this scripture. It means... Pure, holy (as being free from defilement), innocent, modest (this topic I cover in my article “Serving the Lord in Modesty“) and pure from carnality. What this scripture is teaching us is that when we are living in the spirit (pure from carnality) and we are exhibiting pure, innocent conduct, being modest and holy (free from defilement), these behaviors along with our fear of the Lord (which is expressed by our obedience to God) will be noticed or beheld by our husbands. Don’t think they won’t notice sisters... the Lord says they will. And not only will they observe these things but they will be won over by them also! Oh, the glorious wisdom of God! The Lord says we must submit to our husbands even if they are not in obedience to His Word. The Lord isn’t trying to torture us with these commands... He is giving us clear instruction on how to live in peace and joy and in complete cheerful obedience to Him. Praise God that He gives us these clear instructions. He surely could have left us out in the blue floundering on our own. But no, He loves us immensely and sees the things we cannot see and so He so lovingly instructs us. How grateful I am for that! I’m sure I’d be in trouble if I had to wing it and guess how to live life as a godly woman. But Praise God that I don’t! Praise God for His Word!

Sisters, believe me when I say I understand how difficult it can be to submit to our husbands when we feel that they are not making a right decision, or doing the right thing. But the reality is that we feel that they are not making the decision in which WE think is the right decision. Think about this...the times when we don’t agree with our husband’s decisions and want to say or have our say in a dominant way- we are really (now sit still for this one) full of pride. We think in our hearts that we can make a better decision, or have a better solution or possibly even are better equipped in dealing with whatever it is. That is pride sisters. We need to recognize it for what it is and deal with it. We all have it. It rears its ugly head over and over again in my life. But through the blood of the Lord Jesus and by His Holy Spirit we can overcome this.

In verse 3-4 of 1 Peter Ch. 3, It says “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” I’ve read this scripture many times but oh how it penetrated my heart as I meditated on it this time. The Lord doesn’t want his children adorning themselves externally. Not with fancy hair dos or wearing gold jewelry or fashionable clothing. No, not with those corruptible things. But let it be the hidden man of the heart. The Lord truly was showing me something very important here. Even in times when I submitted to my husband in action, it was external. My actions showed submission but my heart, oh my hesitant heart, was full of rebellion and revolt. That is not true submission. True submission stems from a pure heart. Our inner man- the hidden man of the heart which is NOT corruptible. It’s not corruptible because what is in our hearts is pure and true and can’t be phony when we are submitted to the Lord. It’s real, It‘s genuine. There’s no pretending when it comes to the heart.

Reading on, I cringed at “meek” and Quiet” spirit- I am an Italian woman who was raised in Long Island, New York... this seemed like an impossible thing to me! Meek meaning gentle, and quiet well uh... show me a quiet Italian... you can’t... they don’t exist! But praise God by His Spirit I can be both those things and more. The Lord has graciously (and with long suffering) been dealing with me on these things. Here, it tells us that these things are of great price to the Lord! A meek and quiet spirit is a valuable thing to the Lord God Almighty. Shouldn’t this be something we ought to strive for? Might I add a side note that I do not believe that woman are to not speak at all and just sit around quietly all day long. However, I do believe there needs to be wisdom is what is to be spoken, how it is to be spoken, and when. Here again, the Lord is doing some hefty work in me. As we submit to the Lord and are led by His Spirit, He will direct our speech.

To sum up what the Lord has spoken to me.... submission is a crucial part of being a godly woman. In fact it is the essence of being a godly woman. Submission is godliness. If we are not submitted we are not being godly at all. And as we are submitted to our husbands, we are submitted to the Lord. But again, the wonderful news is that the Lord can do this work in us. He can give us godly desires in our hearts to do these things. It is by His grace and His Spirit that all Christian women can be godly servants. Let us press on as we strive to be godly women and true servants of the Lord!

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