Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Descending Into Greatness
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Married folk are not to act as they now usually do. The men are almost lions in their homes, hard toward their wives. The women, too, everywhere want to domineer and have their husbands as servants.
That assessment of the state of marriage could very easily have been written recently, but it wasn’t. It was actually written by Martin Luther in the 1500’s. Relationship problems resulting from an improper understanding of submission have existed since marriage began.
Men, it’s time for Peter, and for me, to address some serious issues that we need to get right or our relationships will be all wrong. Over the past few days of devotionals, you may have been tempted to think that it’s been good to have someone writing about what’s wrong with your wife. Now I’m going to give your wife the same opportunity, so get ready to take your medicine too.
When Peter told wives to be submissive to their husbands, he put it in the context of what he had just written on the subject to others. He used the words, in the same way. Hey guys, pay attention, he says it again. Husbands, in the same way… So every one of us men is responsible to go back to every point made about how women are to live in relationship to their husbands, and apply those principles to ourselves.
The first thing we’d better get right is that the responsibility to submit to them is greater for us than it is for them to submit to us. How do I know this? First, the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 5:21 that we are to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Then, he tells the wife to submit to the husband as unto the Lord – in a living relationship. And finally, he tells the husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, in a dying relationship. The call upon men to submit demands more than the call for women to submit.
Think about this for a minute. God created woman from man. She was created with a nature to help. Man was created to rule over all of creation. Woman was commanded to help man rule. Women will more naturally submit to leadership, while men aspire to be leaders. When Christ gave up His life for the church, He did so even though He was perfectly qualified to rule and reign, and was already in that position. Men, we are called to do the same. Our call to submit demands the total sacrifice of our lives and position for the sake of our wives. We are only able to do this if we have the same motivation as Christ – LOVE.
Kevin A. Miller, an editor in suburban Chicago, writes, I’d just finished mowing the lawn, and it seemed like the perfect time to spray Weed & Feed on the grass. Except I didn’t have any Weed & Feed.
“I’m going to the store,” I told Karen.
“But the kids and I are waiting for you to go to the pool with us,” she said.
“That can wait,” I said.
“Honey,” she said, “we promised the kids we’d all go.”
Next thing I knew, we were having a heated argument. I knew what I wanted; what she wanted could wait.
Most of us stumble over the words of Ephesians 5:21 because we’re concentrating on what’s fair. But if we insist on playing out our marriage that way, we only bring pain to our spouses and ourselves. To paraphrase Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, “If you insist on an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, you’ll both end up blind and toothless.” God wants to spare us that pain, so he gives us a better way: “Submit to one another.
That doesn’t come naturally. Scripture has to remind me: Exaltation comes after humility. You have to descend into greatness.
So, men, start learning to submit. You are not the lord of the land nor are you the king of your castle. You are the servant of the daughter of the King. She is your princess. Treat her like your queen.