OK, before we go on, we have to deal with the ugly Elephant in the room: submission.
Eph 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
It sounds good on paper. But let’s face it, neither man or woman want to submit to anybody else. I don’t.
So, let me be clear. Submission to others is a necessary fruit of the Holy Spirit. It does not come from our own DNA. Doesn’t that explain so much?
Men, when the Spirit is filling you like wine to a drunk (Eph 5:18), what will begin to pour out of you? What will be noticeable? What will the primary gospel presentation be to a lonely world?
Answer? In spite of every fiber of your former being fighting it, you will find yourself, miraculously wanting to love others over yourself.
What Paul says next is less a command and more of a permission to do what the Holy Spirit is empowering and compelling you to want to do.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
It’s a miracle of grace that happens when husbands are beginning to be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 5 is after Ephesians 3 for a reason). Men, filled with the Holy Spirit, will be the opposite of patriarchal, misogynistic, neglectful, and indifferent husbands. Among Adam’s seminal sins was neglect and indifference. He was an observer of the temptation of his bride but did nothing. By the way, doesn’t this sound typical of so many guys?
But, men, we have another shot at this. Filled with the power of the Spirit, we can move toward the ‘other’ and actually engage with a risky love. We even begin to want to.
When the world sees this, they get a powerful gospel presentation. When Satan sees it, his head is crushed a little (Gen 3:15) because he knows that the power to unravel the Fall has now been invested in humanity.
Women, your primary (though not at all exclusive) gospel presentation is categorized a bit differently—but also dangerous to this lonely world. Like the men, it cuts against your flesh. Our culture’s initial reaction is criticism and judgement.
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Like the men and their intrinsic neglectfulness and indifference, the trial is inviting daughters of Eve to participate in the overturning of the Edenic fall and the defeat of the curse. Let me clarify one thing. The curse was defeated and overturned by Jesus alone and His work on the Cross. However, we participate in His victory in our daily trials.
Among the issues related to Eve was the clinging to illusions of control that were spun by Satan. She did not choose to depend upon God and run to Him for clarification. That is all she had to do.
Now, daughters of Eve, you have the honor of participating in ‘redeeming’ her error. Do not be dependent upon your flesh which must have assurances and control, but filled with the Spirit, give up all illusions of control and to throw all concerns and anxieties upon God. How?
Use the Simple Uncluttered Gospel that we spoke about in the last article until you begin to feel more and more safe and secure in the arms of God. That feeling of trust and faith is a fruit of the Spirit. It is God-sourced. It is just not in your DNA.
I want a check at this point. Women, are you hearing Paul or I say that that women are destined for a secondary lesser role? Hardly. You are called to stunning glory. In Christ there is neither male nor female. Keep it up. Next time we will continue to look at submission and how we have misunderstood it so badly.