An old adage goes like this: ‘a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still!’ I hate to admit that as a child I had a slight (very slight) problem with authority. I disliked being told what to do. I had to know what everyone else was doing first and if I thought it was fair, then maybe, I would obey without grumbling. And if that person spoke with that tone (you know; that one!), then I suppose, I was not the one being spoken to; or perhaps it was a suggestion. I did not really have to obey, if it was just a suggestion, right? I learnt pretty early that way was rather painful, to say the least. Now it doesn’t mean that I changed my mind, I just looked for another way to do what I wanted to do. Remember that old adage? There it was being played out in my life.
Do you know what I realized about the Word of God? There are no suggestions found in the Bible. Additionally, the Lord uses that tone and language to tell me what to do. In this verse alone, there are three examples of commands from the Lord: Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Sorry, Brenda, these are not suggestions, there isn’t room to negotiate. These are direct commands! Yes, you are being told what to do! Imagine that!
Do you know something else? Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. And again Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. I suppose the Lord knew the difficulty I would have with that command, He said it twice! I once told a friend, I usually submitted to my husband’s authority EXCEPT when it was about something I cared for deeply. She responded by saying ‘submission is usually evident when there is sacrifice.’ That was a light bulb moment! Of course! Was it really obedience, if I submitted only when it was convenient? Secondly, the following verse instructs the man to love his wife. But what if he doesn’t? Does the previous mandate depend on the obedience of the latter? Should I wait for Benny to love me (my way) in order to obey the Word of God? I somehow do not think it works that way. God’s Word has to be obeyed on an individual basis. I have to obey despite what my husband does. I should insert here that that is easier to write than it is to do. I admit the Lord is still working on me. At a Bible Study, we were reminded, that on the days when submission is hard, we have a most powerful and profitable weapon: prayer. The truth is sometimes, we are insightful about certain situations or events and our way is perhaps the better way. The desire is for us to nag or complain until we get our way. Perhaps now would be the best time to practice another command: Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Getting my way isn’t the most important issue here, even if I may be right. God’s ordinance didn’t leave any room for negotiations. It was a direct command with no attachments, and has not been amended over the years. It doesn’t depend on my spouse and it doesn’t leave room for me to decide when the best time to obey is. He expects me to trust HIM to work it out. He expects me to be confident in HIS judgment. This does not mean that I allow my husband to make all decisions without having an input. I can give counsel, but he has the final say EXCEPT when it conflicts with the Word of God. Then obedience to the Lord supersedes man’s. Are you struggling with submission? Trust the Lord more and let us commit to doing better in 2017.