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Pandemic Perspective – Part 118 Searching for Security and Significance – Part 2

Ephesians 5:21-29

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.

If our security and significance comes from God then what is the purpose of marriage? Ephesians 5 reveals that one of our most basic responsibilities in a Christian marriage is to become reinforcers of the security and significance that God gives to us. While it is true that our most basic need for security and significance can only be met through our relationship with God it is also true that God wants to use husbands and wives as His principal instruments to develop within each other a conscious awareness of unconditional love and personal worth. While spouses cannot add to the fact of one’s security and significance, they can help create an environment where those needs can be met. You see once we believe, understand, and appropriate these truths, it frees us to reach out in love to our spouse. Sadly many spouses instead of being reinforcers become rejecters of what God wants to do in their spouse’s life. We get so wrapped up in our own feelings that we fail to fulfill the Fathers Will and meet the needs of our spouse. Instead of ministering to our spouse by modeling God’s concern for their deepest needs we end up manipulating them to fit into our own agenda. One of the most overlooked reasons for our marriage relationship, is that like a mirror it should reflect the relationship of Christ and His church. The husband has the privilege of portraying the headship of Christ over the church through his loving and sacrificial leadership. While the wife’s privilege is to symbolically represent the church in its submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s Head. What is important to note is that while there are only 3 ½ verses addressed to wives, there are over double that, 8 ½ written to husbands. But before the specific instructions to each spouse verse 21 begins by speaking to both spouses, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”Scripture makes it clear that it is sin to try and exalt ourselves over our spouse. Instead just as Philippians 2:3 says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” We are called to humbly submit to our spouse by choosing to focus on their needs and serve our spouse instead of serving self. While the roles for husbands and wives differ the principle submissive heart of humility should be practiced by both. In this blog I am going to focus first on the role and responsibility of the wife and next time we will look at that of the husband. Scripture clearly teaches that the wife’s primary responsibility is to submit to her husband, as to the Lord. It is here that God’s call to submission creates a head-on collision with the beliefs and practices of our current culture. Many are tempted to write this passage off as the ranting of an ancient male chauvinist pig. The truth is this is how God set it up and we need to be careful not to dismiss God’s Word based on the beliefs of the world. When it comes to the responsibility of the wife what becomes crucial is to recognize that the emphasis here is upon the Lord. There are three statements in these verses that serve as guiding principles: 

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (verse 21) 

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (verse 22) 

“As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (verse 24) 

You see the central and critical component in these verses is Christ. What Paul is saying is being devoted to Christ, in a like manner, submit to your husbands. The wife is to be subject to her husband not because he is perfect but because she has a previous and primary relationship with her Lord. Submission to your husband is really a reflection and outworking of your submission to Christ. Now it is important to point out that women are not called to submit to men, only to their husband. Part of this call to submit is in response to the fulfillment of God’s plan in Genesis 2:20, that tells us that the first wife was created to be a “helper” for her husband. She is not called to be a slave but one who willingly comes along side to help her husband. This is where many wives fail because true submission is not only challenging it is impossible when we try to do it on our own. Wives you will never succeed in submission when you try to do it in your own strength. Remember this section of Scripture, with its high standards, follows immediately after Paul’s teaching about being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18: “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” It is only as the Holy Spirit controls our life that we can have the will and the ability to obey His commands. God does not just call us to live out His Word He equips and empowers us to do so. So why do we struggle so much when it comes to submission? The reason we struggle is sin, in Genesis 3:16 we discover that one of the consequences of original sin is that complementing and coming alongside was replaced with competing: “Then he said to the woman, “you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” When we submit to the Spirit of God we will experience success in the area of submission, but when we submit to our sinful nature submission will always be a struggle. The only way for wives to successfully submit to their spouse is through the strength of the Holy Spirit not through the strength of self. When wives fulfilled their role of submission they reinforce God’s spoken word of significance. So wives how are you doing, are you striving to submit, or striving towards strife? Are you being a reinforcer or a rejecter of God’s Word? Real submission requires self-sacrifice just as a husbands choice to love also requires self-sacrifice. Submission reflects not only a wife’s respect for her husband but her reverence for Christ. It’s easy to dismiss God’s call to submit to your spouse but remember dismissing God’s mandates for marriage results in disobedience. When it comes to submission we need to stop listening to the culture and start listening to Christ?


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 117 Searching for Security and Significance – Part 1

Ephesians 5:21-29

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.

Sadly today there are a lot of jokes and one-liners about marriage, probably because as marvelous as marriage is it can also be a major mess. In our current culture marriage is under attack. According to statistics over 50% of marriages end in conflict and divorce, and of those that do make it less than 10% actually achieve intimacy and oneness in their partnership.  It was George Burns who said, “I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.” Rodney Dangerfield, the man who gets no respect, says, “My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” And Henny Youngman has said, “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” Yet the secret to a happy marriage is not found in what society says it is found in scripture. The truth is marriage is a complex relationship, and perhaps the most intricate because marriage is the only relationship where God calls us to become one and commit till death do we part. Unfortunately, many fail to realize this when they say, “I do.” We have bought into what I call the happy Hollywood belief that love just magically happens. As a result we end up basing love on our feelings instead of faithfulness. We have become a people who fall into and fall out of love because unlike faithfulness feelings are fickle. We may think that the dynamics of a good marriage just happen, or that they are dependent on some mysterious blend of having the “right” people together. But the truth is when it comes to marriage the difference between a mess and a masterpiece has more to do with submission to the master. Unfortunately, when marriages crumble many times we hear people say, they were just “wrong” for each other. More often than not, being right or wrong for someone depends not on some mysterious compatibility quotient, but on how willing and able we are to help meet our spouse’s needs. Scripture reminds us that success is the result of submission to the Spirit coupled with seeking to serve your spouse instead of serving self. I think the reason we have bought into this bogus belief that marital success rests more in finding the right person than being faithful, is that if it all falls apart we don’t have to take personal responsibility for the relational failure. If it’s based on compatibility then we are not culpable. The beauty of this belief system is that we are not to blame but the beast of this belief system is that we will always be left in pain. Believing that marital success depends on finding the perfect person is like chasing after a magic potion. It’s here in Ephesians 5 that scripture makes God’s commands for spouses very clear. Husbands are to love their wives and wives are to submit to, and respect, their husbands. I believe that one of the reasons marriages often end up more of a mess than a masterpiece is because we are using it as a means to try and satisfy our deep desire for security and significance instead of as a vehicle for service. Our two most basic human needs are for security and significance. Security is an awareness of being unconditionally and totally loved, where significance is the realization that I am valuable and that what I am doing is worthwhile. When we lack these two core needs we fail to function effectively in our marriage relationships. Now Security is generally of greater importance to women while significance is often of greater importance to men, yet having said that we need to understand that both are essential for every one of us. I think that one of our most basic problems in marriage is that we are look to the wrong source for security and significance. God never intended a wife to find her ultimate security in her husband, or for a husband to find his total significance through his relationship with his wife. Instead of trying to find our foundational security and significance in our spouse we should be trying to find it in the Savior. The truth is that our core needs can only be met through a relationship with God. That is why the Bible is filled with page after page that points to God’s unconditional love for his people. Soaking in scripture builds and solidifies our sense of security? We are loved by an unconditional and unending love, a love that we can never earn and a love that we never have to because it is a love that is freely given and a love that can never be lost. When we look to God to meet our need for security we will not be vulnerable, because He will never fail us. As Deuteronomy 33:27 says “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Are you looking to the Savior or your spouse for security? Not only does scripture speak to Gods love for us but also His constant involvement in our lives from the very moment of conception to our very last breath. We have a creator who has crafted us, gifted us, and prepared a plan for us, this is where scripture speaks to our significance? Romans12:4-6 says: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us…” So here is the second question, are you looking to the Savior or your spouse for significance? Because God loves us unconditionally and is the only one who can truly love us this way, He is the only real source of security. Also because God created us, gifted us, and called us to serve in His kingdom our significance and self-worth must also be found in Him. Processing and practicing these truths will make an incredible impact on your marriage. When you realize that you are secure and significant already, then it frees you up to minister to your spouse instead of wasting energy building walls to try and protect your heart from hurt. Are you getting your sense of security and significance from God so that you can serve your spouse or are you still trying to get them to serve you? 

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