Sunday, July 31, 2005

Who’s the Boss?

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Many Christians (mostly men, but not a few women) look at this passage and think it is about who’s the boss. They completely miss the point. It is the sort of question people ask who don’t understand very much about intimate, personal relationships.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26)
Notice that Paul does not say, “Husbands, boss your wives,” or “Husbands, make your wives submit.” Nothing of the kind. Rather, he says something completely different: “Husbands, love your wives.”

Then Paul gives definition to that love. It is not the world’s idea of love, but God’s idea. We see this clearly portrayed in the Lord Jesus Christ: “Just as Christ also love the church and gave Himself for her.”

The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8), and it is the nature of love to give and serve. God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Jesus came, not to serve, but to be served, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

So Paul is not talking at all about “who’s the boss.” Rather, he is talking about “who’s the servant.” When he says, “Husbands, love your wives,” he is saying, “Husbands, give yourselves to your wives, and serve them.” BIG difference!

Some husbands go to God and complain, “Lord, that woman you gave me won’t submit.” They sound like Adam when he was caught in sin: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). As if that made any difference at all concerning his own responsibility.

Husbands are to love and serve their wives regardless of whether their wives submit to them. In fact, husbands are to submit to their wives, for Paul speaks in verse 21 of “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Husbands are supposed to submit to their wives every bit as much as wives are supposed to submit to their husbands.

In fact, the greater obligation is on the husband to love, serve and give — even if the wife does not submit.

Husbands, forget about who’s the boss — you will not like where it leads you. Focus instead on who’s the servant-lover, then you will be much more like Christ. For God is love, and love gives and serves.