Here’s the gospel – what Jesus did. Here’s what to reject as a false gospel – what certain leaders say you have to do. Here’s your responsibility – what you will do if you believe.
Honing in on Paul’s instructions on responsibilities, Colossians 3 leaves little room for error. He’s told the Christians things like don’t lie or envy, avoid idolatry and anger, be kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving, thankful, accountable, prayerful, and unified.
But Paul doesn’t stop there. Paul puts the flesh on. He knew we sheep would need more information. So what does kindness, patience, and forgiveness look like? Where and when do we most need to be humble, accountable, and prayerful? Paul targets specific human relationships – namely the most common ones.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.
Submit. What does that look like? I don’t believe Christian women go into marriage thinking of ways to disrespect their husbands. But somehow we often find ourselves doing just that. This is our natural tendency and biggest temptation.
Submission goes hand in hand with respect. Respect is asking my husband before I make purchases and listening when he vetoes. It is placing his priorities for my time above my own. It is speaking respectfully to him and about him. Submission is following my husband’s lead even when I think he is wrong. It is giving him the reigns and trusting God for the outcomes.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed in this area despite vowing to “honor and obey” him. But I can tell you what I’ve learned.
Submitting is better than refusing, even when I disagree with my husband’s decisions. God says this is my responsibility. In order to obey God, I must obey my husband. It is my husband’s responsibility to make God-honoring, wife-loving choices. If he fails, I may indeed suffer. But I will not suffer as one who has disobeyed God. That kind of suffering is never in vain. If, on the other hand, I choose to usurp my husband and do as I think is better, I will suffer and be disciplined for my own disobedience to God.
Perhaps there is a reason Paul chose to start with wives. Our influence and attitude matters immensely. It effects how easy or how difficult it is for our husbands to love us well. Our submission is not weakness, it is strength. It does not mean we are inferior, it means we trust God’s design more than our own ideas. It means we trust God’s order more than we fear our husband’s flaws.
I aid my husband’s ability to love me well when I surrender to God by submitting to him. This is God’s will for those he calls to be wives.