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Posts Tagged ‘submit’

Sarah? I’m to emulate Sarah, wife of Abraham, a major control freak who convinced her husband to take his servant/concubine [Hagar] to bed in order to “get on” with God’s promise already. Culture prevailed (a norm). And so it was with Peter’s women.

I Peter 3:3a, 4, 6a
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, . . . Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. . . like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.

All right, I’m sorry, but as many of you know, most of the female to male submission passages are hard on my digestion. It’s not that I don’t want to show respect to my husband as a person, I do; I should. I certainly don’t denigrate him to others, and after almost 30 years of marriage, I think we’ve worked out a lot marriage kinks (leaving others for heaven’s explanations).

It’s also lovely to be reminded by Peter that a person’s beauty (male or female, I believe) comes from within. It has to so; otherwise, the aging process would send us all to the looney bin. Love, marriage, friendship: they all have to be rooted and grounded in the “person” who resides inside the body, who is eternally young and vital, who is not of this three dimensional world.

Since the whole idea of marriage or male & female appears to be a non-issue “in” heaven [see both Matthew 22:29-30 & Galatians 3:28], men and women are seen equally by God, doesn’t that truth balance out this very specific teaching of Peter (that same Peter who hedged and refused to eat with gentiles in the face of certain powerful Jews)?

Peter was asked constantly by God to think outside the box (creatively & innovatively). He broke several essential Jewish laws when he entered the home of Cornelius and shared both the gospel of Christ as well as a meal with gentiles. He left his wife and family to follow Jesus for months at a time. He challenged his own belief in miracles, tried walking on water, shared in the multiplication of food, and experienced the transfiguration. Everywhere he turned, Jesus stretched and pulled him away from the norm of the day. And for a long while, he allowed his beloved Master to take him there.

But Peter was also a slave to his culture. He was no different from the other disciples, mostly unidentified, who marveled and wondered at the relationships that Jesus had with women, from the woman at the well to the woman who washed his feet with her tears and hair to Mary of Magdala, one cursed and healed of seven demons.

Both the liberal view and the conservative view of women can be found in scriptures. What do I believe? Which verses will corroborate my presuppositions?

The last time I encountered the bold words of Paul and his passages on submission of wives to their husbands [Ephesians 5:21-32], I accepted their literalness but took a pass on embracing them purely on a male/female basis. Instead, I chose, instead, mutual submission, which I still believe to be more fitting. So, I do the same today.

We could all argue until we are blue in the face about these passages. It’s not worth it. Instead, I’ll opt for that gentle and quiet spirit and may it yield an unfading beauty that transcends human interpretations, mandates, and rules about being a Christian woman and wife. Selah.

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If love is a type of submission, as I believe it is, then that is the best place to start with this controversial passage about wifely submission. You see, if ALL are to submit to one another, why must the “wife to husband” submission be “greater” or more submissive as some people imply?

Ephesians 5:22, 24
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. . . . Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

I’m still taking baby steps when it comes to loving as Christ loved others. Here’s my theory: if I can love/submit to my husband a fraction of what Christ models for me to love/submit to everyone, we’ll have a transformed marriage.

The same habitual sins I experience with others in my daily life are magnified at home. For instance, if I judge others, even people I don’t know in the grocery line or sitting in a restaurant, is there any surprise that I judge those closest to me?

Probably, the love/submission relationship was supposed to be easier with our mates, after all, we’ve made a promise to love them, to cherish them, to stand beside them through joys and sorrows, to create families, to build a microcosm of the Church (i.e. Body of Christ). Instead, we build mini-cultures that reflect the culture in which we live. In some families, that means an environment of greed, ambition, violence, mistrust, disease, and manipulation.

I missed something along the way and forgot that my own husband is “sacred other.” He is Holy Spirit illuminated too. And that is the One to whom I am to submit within him. It is not the veiled man, but the core that is holy. And it is the core of man that is more than worthy of love and yes, even submission.

Some of his veil I caused. When two people hurt each other or become estranged in any way, the darkness covers the light within on both sides. I have been looking through two layers of sin: my own and his.

It’s a uncertain business to begin peeling the layers of “outer self” in a relationship while the other is fully clothed and protected. But I am pretty sure that “outer me” cannot love/submit to anyone in the way of Jesus.

Today, I have intention and mindfulness with love and submission for the Holy Spirit.

(FD 9)

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This verse precedes several verses that have been held in great controversy, particularly by women. I am no different. But before I get there, I think I have slid over this first verse that actually stands alone: submit to one another and why . . .

Ephesians 5:21
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

I don’t think anyone would have trouble with this verse if it said, “Love one another out of reverence for Christ.” But, because the word is translated as “submit” or “to be subject to,” we get a little hinky about it. It sounds like doormat material. But, isn’t love about submission?

Unlike the idea of “one-upmanship,” a believer is to practice, “one-downmanship.” It’s seeing enough good in another to give him/her the opportunity to rise up, to go first, to try first, to speak first. It’s about valuing other. And that’s love, isn’t it?

In business, managers are encouraged to give credit to the team, to lift them up, to count their praises because it’s the team that makes the whole operation work better. It’s the ones on the frontline who make the leaders look good. A supervisor who praises his/her staff profusely (and authentically), is usually much appreciated and much loved by that staff.

It is no different in daily life with people I encounter every day.

Why does Paul tell us to do this? If we submit and love others, the Christ (that anointed One) will experience our reverence. And we do it because we want to show reverence. We want to be in that place of holiness.

Two Rivers by Mark Bausch

When I read about wisdom, I am told it begins with the fear (reverence) of God. Now, I get a detail, (again) if I submit/love (look to the very best in) others, then I can enter that reverent place. I am in a confluence with Christ. And that is pleasing to the Holy Spirit within.

I can’t make someone submit/love me. I can only do my share. Granted, it’s supposed to be mutual. But just because I’m not getting that sweet treatment doesn’t give me permission to act differently.

This is what so many of us fear. If I “submit,” what promise do I have that the other will submit to me? Answer: no promise, no guarantee. In fact, the other may never reciprocate.

But submit/love comes from a place of personal strength backed up by the power of the Spirit within. Jesus was the ultimate example in submission/love.

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