Filed under Biblical Womanhood 52home
11:58 a.m. Operation stink bug in progress.
If we want to have an ideal marriage by God’s standard, then we will strive in God’s strength to be a gospel wife. As our husband’s bride we will be submissive; but no less important, we must also remember that we are our husband’s equal. We must not allow godly submission to slide into subservience.
Let’s look at Genesis 1:27, reading it carefully: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
What do we learn from this verse? Here we find that both male and female are created in the image of God. In this first chapter of the first book of the Bible, God establishes that man and woman are equal in value and dignity in His sight. A conviction of our equal worth is essential to understanding submission in the context of the marriage relationship.
Scripture makes no allowance for male dominance or male superiority. For this reason, theologian Wayne Grudem appeals, ‘To all societies and cultures where these abuses occur, we must proclaim that the very first page of God’s Word bears a fundamental and irrefutable witness against the evil of thinking of men as better than women.”
Neither is submission a position of inferiority or demeaning in its application. For although God has designed men and women to fulfill differing roles, He unequivocally affirms they are equal in worth and importance. As it says in 1 Peter 3:7, husbands and wives are heirs together in the grace of life.
Our equality before God should underpin our thoughts and actions as a gospel wife. If we don’t start here, we’ll quickly get off course. What problems can this cause exactly? More on that question when our series continues.
—adapted from Feminine Appeal
“My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring—that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as He is pleased to keep them in it….He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.” Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, March 4, morning.
Submission is not a static character quality. It is a powerful, dynamic force that can actually influence an unbelieving husband. Look at 1 Peter 5:1 “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” (emphasis mine)
And if submission can have such profound sway over an unbelieving husband, imagine the influence it can exert upon a Christian husband who may not be obeying God’s Word. Our submissive conduct actually provokes our husbands to be the leaders God intends for them to be.
For instance, have you ever had someone lean on you with his or her full body weight? What happened? Of course, your natural reaction was to exert the counter-pressure necessary to hold that person (and yourself) up. This is a picture of the effect of submission on our husbands. It places godly pressure on them. It allows them to feel the full weight of their responsibility. More often than not, they rise to the challenge.
As Elizabeth George eloquently expresses it: “Our submission to our husband—whether or not he is a Christian, whether or not he is obeying God—preaches a lovelier and more powerful sermon than our mouth every could!”
That’s what it means to be a gospel wife.
—adapted from Feminine Appeal
If there is one area in which it is both easy and hard for me to help my husband, it’s with our finances. I’ve always had an interest in all things related to math and accounting. I took accounting courses in college and most of the jobs I’ve had have been in bookkeeping. So it is a joy for me to serve Brian by sticking to a budget, frugally managing household resources, and keeping him informed so that he can intelligently oversee our finances. However, at the point where my helping and his leadership intersect, I am sometimes tempted to respond in an unhelpful way.
Several nights ago, Brian suggested allocating some of our resources to do something special for me. As grateful as I was for his thoughtfulness, it wasn’t my preference to use our money in this way. I already had other plans for these particular funds. I informed Brian about the money we currently had available, and explained that I thought it would be better to hold off on this expenditure for now.
Brian listened and considered, but after hearing the facts, he still thought that this was the best way to go. So I have an opportunity this week to help Brian—not just by serving him with the administration of the finances, but also by making it easy for him to lead in decisions about our finances.
I am learning that as helpful as I might be to my husband with my aptitude in financial matters, I can help Brian best by trusting God for his leadership. I must trust God that He is the one who has ordained for Brian to lead and me to follow. I must believe that He will work all decisions—even (and often especially) the ones I disagree with—for my good and His glory.
If I exercise faith toward God for Brian’s decisions, I will radiate peace and joy and make it easy for Brian to fulfill his God given role. I am still growing and learning, but I pray that God will continue to give me grace to be a truly helpful helper to my husband!
—from the archives
Last Wednesday Mom and I were having one of our early morning book-writing conversations. As often happens on these calls, we got to talking about other stuff—she told me about waking up in the middle of the night to a stink bug on her pillow (yuk!), and I asked her a question about serving a group of women in my church. Really, it’s so easy to get distracted when you have work that needs doing.
That morning we also talked about our concern for people who set up complementarian straw men—meaning they take an extreme practice on the part of a few or generally misrepresent the majority—and then knock it down, taking the rest of us with it. This seems to happen most often when a person begins with a negative experience and works backward to make their case. And it is most damaging when this approach is used by people who are themselves complementarian.
We wanted to write a post appealing to these folks: Please make your case from Scripture! Please don’t start with your experience! And please, don’t misrepresent all complementarians because you struggle with a few!
But, we had a book to write (remember?), so we shelved the idea. The very next day, we saw that Mary Kassian had written the article for us—straw women and all—and much better than we could. In “‘Dora the Doormat’ and Other Scary Straw Women of Complementarity” she humorously profiles some of the most common caricatures and encourages us all to focus on what Scripture actually says.
Mary closes with these words:
Standing for truth rarely affords us the luxury of fighting on only one front. Satan will warp truth by bending it to the left and the right. Are there, in fact, “uber-complimentarian” people who promote a biblical application that is narrow, rigid, and legalistic?...Yes, sadly there are. And I am the first in line to call them to account. But to say that these caricatures accurately represent the views of complementarians is like saying the Unabomber accurately represents the views of environmentalists. So please stop doing it!
If you want to talk ideas, let’s talk ideas. Let’s talk hermeneutics. Let’s talk presuppositions. Let’s talk biblical exegesis. Let’s talk principles of interpretation and application. But stop misrepresenting the complementarian position…most of all, please stop parading out those silly straw women!
Amen, Mary, and thanks for writing this. We can get back to our book now.
“One of those days” for us girltalkers today. Nicole woke up with the flu and it was her day to post. Not good.
I was supposed to cover for her but mom and I had a mid-day bug crisis after a visit from the exterminator revealed that we actually had more bugs in the house than we even thought. Not good.
I think Kristin’s day was good though. No flu or bugs for her.
So today’s post is a 52home and post combo. Mom and I did a little something new to one of our dining room walls recently and it was super easy. We already had two old windows and some little wreaths but it needed something more. So all the credit to mom, she came up with the idea of taking some pictures of scrabble pieces with phrases meaningful to our fam and hanging them on the windows. I took the pictures and had them mounted on a piece of styrene. Kinda like foam board. We simply adhered them to the windows and we were done. Below I included the finished product as well as a close up of each of the pictures for you to see.
Hoping tomorrow has no sickness and no bugs!
Thanks to one of our favorite pastors, Bill Kittrell, for passing along this week’s Friday Funny.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Nicole for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
A Homeless Man’s Funeral
As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Kentucky back country.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”
Apparently I’m still lost…. it’s a man thing.