17 years and 360 days ago, a little boy was born.
“Marriage was designed by God most deeply, most importantly, to be a parable or a drama of the way Christ loves his church and the way the church loves and follows Christ.” John Piper
Being a bride means—above all—that we imitate THE bride, the church. We are to respect, follow, love, and submit to our husband as the church does to Christ. “As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands (Eph. 5.22).” That’s a pretty tall order, for sure.
We have to admit, though, that our husbands might have the tougher assignment: they are to imitate Christ who “gave himself up for us” (Eph. 5.25). We have to follow, but they have to die! This series is not about the husbands, though. We want to focus on God’s calling for us as wives.
Submission (Eph 5.22) and respect (Eph. 5.33) comprise the primary role of a bride, and that’s who the command is addressed to. Submission was not our husbands’ idea, and neither are they responsible to enforce it. This command is not divine permission for husbands to assert authoritarian leadership. Nowhere in Scripture does it say, ‘Husbands, see to it that your wives submit.’ That’s our job.
The requirement to submit to our husbands comes straight from God to us as wives. And we are answerable to Him for our obedience. We cannot blame our husbands for our lack of submission. The responsibility is entirely ours!
And notice to whom we are to submit. As married women, we are not called to submit to all men (and neither are single women, for that matter), but rather to our husbands. Conversely, we should not seek leadership from other men, apart from our husbands, no matter how worthy they are of honor or respect. We are to follow our husbands.
But as I said, this isn’t always easy. We’ll talk about why, next time. Stay tuned.
(adapted from Feminine Appeal)
The gospel makes it possible for us to be gospel wives. But what does this look like exactly? Over the next few weeks we’re going to talk about who we are called to be:
I am his bride…
I am his lover…
I am his best friend…
I am his equal…
I am his helper…
I am his glory…
We need to be reminded of God’s ideal for marriage, because so often our own ideal gets in the way. We don’t naturally want to be a gospel wife. Our natural drift is toward the selfish ideal of marriage idolized by our culture. And so without realizing it, we can often struggle, strive, long, and even pray for a marriage that fits our selfish, worldly ideal (and usually includes our husband changing big-time!).
If we don’t keep God’s ideal for marriage front and center, we’re going to be headed in the wrong direction. That’s why we must be continually transformed by the renewing of our minds through God’s Word, and we must ask God to give us hearts that long to be gospel wives.
“God works in the faithful to restore them to their ‘gospel’ relationship.” Bruce Waltke
Your hopes and dreams for an “ideal marriage” were preceded by the purposes of another. From the beginning of time, God had a purpose for your marriage: to forge a gospel relationship.
“Remember this and stand firm…” God encourages his people, “‘My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isaiah 46:8-10, emphasis mine). As the ESV Study Bible comments, “The only true God will succeed in his glorious purpose for his stubborn people.”
Marriage is the union of two stubborn sinners. Yet God will succeed in his glorious purpose to restore an ideal gospel relationship.
You may think your problems are too high or your rut too deep. But do you really imagine that the Creator and Restorer of marriage throughout all generations is going to throw in the towel when he gets to you? To put it another way: Do you really think you are the exception to the rule of God’s faithful purposes?
In the days ahead we will talk about how to be a gospel wife. But we must start—and return often—to the truth that our work is effective only because He works. Our faith is possible only because He has redeemed us. Our hope is realistic only because He has promised to accomplish His purposes.
God will succeed in His glorious purpose for marriage. In fact, whether we see it or not, whether it feels like it or not, He is succeeding right now.
We have all been praying for the people of Japan as they continue to endure unimaginable suffering following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to read John Piper’s prayer for mercy for the Japanese people.
This morning, Justin Taylor posted information from artist Makoto Fujimura about a reputable relief organization in Japan and we wanted to pass it on to you:
“CRASH (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support, and Hope) volunteers in Tokyo are mobilizing to provide aid to victims of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck the northeastern coast of Japan on Friday….CRASH Japan, working closely with JEMA (the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Association), has a large network of experienced volunteers who know the culture and language…
According to JEMA President Dale Little, “CRASH is the second-to-none relief network in Japan. No other agency is able to assess the needs on the ground like CRASH, and then take steps toward meeting those needs. The effectiveness of CRASH includes linking closely with local churches in Japan.”
About the disaster, CRASH Japan director Jonathan Wilson made the following statement: ‘Many of us are wondering how we can best respond to the news of the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated Japan. As the television screens pour out images, we pour out our hearts to the Creator to take care of this great nation.’”
You can learn more about CRASH and contribute here.
One year ago we launched The 52home Project, and on Friday, Janelle completed fifty-two weeks of pictures. We hope you’ve enjoyed this year in pictures as much as we have.
Today we’re pleased to announce that Janelle has agreed to sign up for another year. Each weekday she will continue to post a picture of ordinary life, but with a few new twists on the original idea. The mission for 52home remains the same, and is best summed up in our introductory post:
Every weekday for the next 52 weeks, Janelle will post a picture of ordinary life—our ordinary lives—as seen through the lense of her camera.
Ordinary is where we all live most of the time. And yet our mundane, repetitive days are full of enduring work. Homes are being built. Families are being knit together. Little souls are being shaped for eternity.
The tedious is, in fact, momentous—when done for the sake of Christ: “…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10).
This truth can get lost in piles of laundry and dirty dishes. We need help to see the glory peaking out from behind the ordinary.
Our hope is that you’ll see your own ordinary, yet glorious life in these pictures. That you’ll glimpse the faithfulness of God that undergirds his faithful ones. That you’ll see reflections of the eternal in the everyday.
“So teach us to number our days that we will get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
Looking forward to another ordinary, glorious year!