Submitting to your husband...(1 Peter 3:1-6)

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any {of them} are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be {merely} external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but {let it be} the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”

A story was told about two women that had escaped from prison. After they had gotten outside the fence, the guards found out and they took off in hot pursuit. As the guards and the dogs closed in on them, the first woman decides to climb up a tree and hide. The second woman, seeing, what she had done, decides to climb up a different tree.

When the guards arrived, the dogs came to the tree with the first woman and began barking loudly. In a panic, the first woman decided to try to throw off the dogs by making a sound like a bird…a cooing sound. “Coo, coo.” At the bottom of the tree, the guard pulled back on the leash and said “let’s go, there’s nothing but a dumb bird up there. Once they left the first woman, they came upon the tree that the second woman was in and began to bark wildly again. The second woman, who had heard what the first woman done, asked herself “What sound should I make?” And then it came to her, and she let out a loud “Moo, moo.”

Cows don’t live in trees!! You see, when you are confused about your role, you wind up making the wrong noise at the wrong time in the wrong place. A lot of women are making a lot of noise. Complaining about their husbands…complaining about what is wrong with their man. When they have forsaken and neglected their Biblical roles. They’re “mooing” when they ought to be “cooing.”

In Ephesians 5:33, we saw in the early part of this study, the roles defined for husbands and wives:

“Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must {see to it} that she respects her husband.”

A man is commanded to love his wife, even when he doesn’t like her. And a wife is commanded to respect her husband, even if she doesn’t like him. Many women are learning their role in the home from the wrong people. Too much TV…and too many girlfriends. They are picking up their data from everybody but God.

Many of our ladies were raised in homes where there was no man, or raised in a matriarchal home where there mother was in charge and think that this is how their home is supposed to be. So because their momma ran their home, they think they should be running this one.

A woman is to respect her husband. Many men are bad husbands because they are married to bad women. Women that are operating far outside of God’s standard. Which reminds me of the true story of Winston Churchill and Lady Aster, who both served in Parliament together. Both hated each other. One day Lady Aster said to Churchill, “If I was your wife, I would put arsenic in your tea.” Winston Churchill responded, “And if I was your husband, I’d drink it!”

Now before some of you get into this and say that this is again a negative view of women, I want to again pose that this study will discover all marriages. Of course, if your marriage is following the Lord, then many of these problems do not apply to you because you are heeding God’s standards.

God commands a woman to reverence her husband. The concept of reverence is to hold in high esteem…to awe. To elevate. You see ladies, men don’t NEED your love. They want your love, and they will receive your love. But that isn’t what they need. While you like hearing “I love you,” we like hearing “I respect you.” Without respect, men shrivel up and die. In fact, it is our greatest need and highest motivator to do a better job caring for you.

Let’s make this clear…respect is NOT optional, just like love is not optional for the husband. A husband is supposed to love his wife, even if he isn’t into it. Because it is an act of the will. Respect is an act of the will, as you will see.

That raises the question: “God wants me to respect my husband…how do I do that?”

1 Peter 3:1-2, gives the first way that you respect your husband. “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any {of them} are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

The first way that a wife reverences her husband is through her submission. Now, some of you are ready to close this screen down right now because this word is a hated word. And the reason it is hated is because its meaning is not understood, or been misused. Submission isn’t a bad word…but when bad people take a good word and make it bad, then it becomes bad.

Many groups like NOW protest that this word makes women second class citizens. But the President of NOW expects the VP of NOW to submit to her. She has no problem with her VP submitting to her!

If you are at work ladies, and you have people working for you…and then they don’t submit to them…you go off! Because you are the one in charge. You see, the word is only bad in an arena we want it to be in. It’s God’s word, so it cannot be bad.

It is from a Greek word meaning to line up underneath. And it is a voluntary word, which means that you submit by choice.

The best way to illustrate this word submit is with a Yield sign. If you come to an intersection, and you have a yield sign…and then you insist “I don’t have to yield, I got here first.” Then you set yourself for a major collision. Because if another car has the right-of-way, and you refuse to yield…then your rebellion will lead to a major collision.

We are having major collisions in our homes because of women who refuse to submit. Now I know what some of you are saying: “I’m smarter than my husband, I’m more educated than my husband, I make more money than my husband, I have more common sense than my husband. I cant submit to him!”

Well, let’s suppose a tractor trailer was coming up the onramp to the highway and had the yield sign. And on the interstate was a VW Bug. Now, the tractor trailer has more stuff…it is bigger than the VW. But the VW has the right-of-way. Can the 18 wheeler say “Because I have more than you have, you must stop on the highway and let me on?” No. If there is an accident, it will be the 18 wheeler ticketed because even though it has more stuff, it is operating illegitimately.

Submission has nothing with how much you bring to the table. It has nothing to do with your education, or money. It has to do with God’s ordained roles. To submit is to recognize that God has given the role of the wife in the marriage the yield sign.

Now, I know what you are thinking: “That’s not fair.” So let me also add that the husband must also yield. The Bible says that the husband is under Christ, so the husband has to yield also. Everybody has to yield.

Submission has to do with FUNCTION, not BEING. It has nothing to do with your internal value or essence. It does not signify weakness, inferiority or passivity. How could it be if it is the Word of God?

The woman in Proverbs 31, the most glorious woman described in the Bible, is not some imbecilic water girl, waiting for instruction because she has no brain power, no skills. No, she has her MBA because it says she is negotiating with merchants from afar. She has her real estate license, because it says that she is buying and selling land. She manages the family checkbook, because it says that she writes out from her resources. She has her own ministry, because it says that she ministers to the poor. So this is a glorious woman. But the point of the text is that this woman’s husband has totally benefited by her submission to his leadership role.

So, submission doesn’t mean that you give up who you are. It does mean that after everything is on the table, and a decision has to be made…you have the Yield sign. It is your responsibility to yield to the final decision of your husband.

Now, you are saying “How often should I do this?” Ephesians 5:22-24 states “Wives, {be subject} to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself {being} the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives {ought to be} to their husbands in everything.” The Bible says that the wife is to subject herself to her husband in every classification of life. This is a broad principle in the Bible. It says that people are to submit to God, employees are to submit to employers, church members are to submit to pastors. In everything, with one exception.

What is the one exception? When the one that you are submitting to, overrules the one they should be submitting to. Every wife has an “out” when it comes to submission. That is if your husband is calling you to do something that is against the Lord and His word, then you do not have to submit. For it says that a wife ought to submit to her husband, AS TO THE LORD.

Submission has nothing to do with your equality. Every woman is equal to every man. He says this in verse 7: “You husbands in the same way, live with {your wives} in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” A fellow means equal. And equal heir. Submission is not talking about equality, it is talking about doing a program.

The reason God creates hierarchy or a chain-of-command is because he is about doing a program. In this case, the program is the “ongoingness” of the home. And for a home to go well, like an army to go well, like a business to go well, like a government to go well…there must be a chain-of-command. And the woman is called to submit. The man is too, to Jesus Christ. But the woman is called to submit to her husband.

How do you do this? What is the manner of this submission? The Bible describes this relationship as the same as the relationship between a head and a body. Look at 1st Corinthians 11:3: “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” So whatever this submission thing is goes straight to the Godhead.

The Bible declares Jesus the Son is equal to His Father. But at the same time it declared that He was here to do God’s will. How can Jesus be equal to God on one hand, and submissive to God on the other? Easy. His equality has to do with His essence, His submission has to do with His function. His equality has to do with the fact that He has all the attributes of His Father, but His submission has to do with Him carrying out the program of salvation.

Wives, you are equal to your husbands in EVERY way. You were created in the image of God, you have the same grace of God bestowed upon you on salvation, you’re made of the same basic materials. But when it comes to the program of the family, you are to yield to his headship. The husband is the head of the wife.

So, let’s investigate that. What is the job of the head? The job of the head is to give guidance to the body. The job of the body is to follow the lead of the head. My fingers are typing now, not because of their own will. It is because my head is telling them to type. They are typing, not because they decided to go out and do their own thing…they are typing because my head said for them to do so.

If my head tells my fingers to stop, and my fingers keep typing…I need a doctor!! If I get up from the table and start walking, and my head says “Don’t walk anymore” and my body decides to walk anyway: “Head, you aren’t going to tell me what to do”…then I’m sick. When you see folks with involuntary body movements, what do you say? “What’s wrong with you? Something has to be wrong, because that isn’t normal.”

Here it is…a wife who refuses to yield to her husband is spiritually sick. Hold it now. If your body doesn’t respond to your head, do you need a doctor? When a wife does not yield to her husband, she needs a spiritual doctor because she is spiritually sick. She is not functioning in line with a body’s relationship with its head.

When a wife will not yield to her husband (unless he is leading her from Christ), God will not respond to the woman. Many of you ladies are not getting your prayers answered because of your refusal to submit. And God will never respond to rebellion.

Many a man here (which doesn’t excuse him from not taking his leadership role) is discouraged from taking his rightful leadership role because he is sleeping with the enemy. Everyday he comes home to a woman who has made up her mind that my job in life is to find out where you are taking me, and go the other way. “I am not going to follow you. I am not going to submit to you. I am not going to recognize you as my leader. I am not going to honor you as my leader. I am not going to do it. I aint having no man telling me what to do.”

It was because Eve refused to recognize Adam’s headship, that this whole world is messed up today. She started talking to snakes! Now, Adam is ultimately responsible because he yielded. But it was set up because Satan did the great reversal. He made Adam the wife, Eve the husband…and all hell broke loose. Ladies, if you are the head of your home, you have invited the Devil to take over your family. And the Devil has taken over many a family because the wife has refused to submit to the legitimate Biblical authority of their husband. And so, there is spiritual dysfunction.

Your husband is your head! Your body is to look to your head for direction, clarification and inspiration. Satan wants to create things in your life to keep you from doing that. He wants to bring people into your life that are going to tell you “Well honey…I wouldn’t take that from him…I’d leave him if I were you.”

Your submission has a lot to do with how much of God that you see in your home. Because God will not help, participate in, strengthen, or bless an environment of rebellion. A wife not submitted to her husband is not submitted to God. I don’t care how many church services you go to, how many prayer meetings you participate in. If you are in rebellion to your husband, God says…you are in rebellion to Me. Now you aren’t going to hear this from your girlfriends or from TV. But I have the Bible…what have they got?

Now, I understand the trauma you ladies are going thru right now. There are probably involuntary movements going on right now!! In fact, God understand the trauma…and He included it in the text.

It says “so that even if any {of them} are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” Now let me tell you the trauma some of you ladies are going thru. You’re going thru “How do I follow a parked car?” You’re saying “You said in the earlier part of the study that my husband ought to be my savior, my satisfier, my sanctifier…he ought to show me time and attention…and he’s not doing it. If he’d start doing it, then I’d submit to it. As soon as he starts doing it, then I’ll start doing it. As soon as he starts obeying the word, then I’ll start obeying the word. I’m not responding to a man that isn’t treating me right.”

God understands your objections and He included it in the text. It says you are to submit to your husbands even if they are not doing right. Now don’t get me wrong, you aren’t submitting to the wrong that they are doing (wrongness NOT meaning leading you from God), you are submitting to them. Because, he is your head by position, even if he isn’t your head by practice. If he is leading you from Christ, you don’t have to go there. But in everything else, you have the yield sign.

Now, this raises the question…it says that even if they aren’t obeying the word, that they can be won without a word by the behavior of their wives. Now, I know you are getting nervous because you saw “without a word.” And you have never been without a word. He comes home everyday to a word. He wakes up to a word. And I know you are thinking “Is God telling me that I am not to open my mouth?”

No. Jesus was submitted to the Father, but regularly communicated with Him. The Father always knew where Jesus stood. The Father always knew how Jesus felt, even when Jesus was telling Him that He didn’t like what the Father was doing to Him. “Father, if there is any way, let this cup pass from me…I don’t like this…I don’t want this…I don’t prefer this…but no matter, let it be your will.”

Without a word does not mean that you are speechless. Without a word is a phrase that means “Don’t nag.” Don’t preach at him. It doesn’t mean you don’t communicate. It says that they may be changed (here is the woman’s way of changing the husband) or won without a word, without nagging…without negative, condescending, critical, “de-masculating” conversation. By the behavior of their wives.

Now, you have been nagging this man to change and he has not changed. So it should be obvious that your conversation isn’t the key here. It ought to be obvious to you that cussing him out isn’t going to change him, nagging him isn’t going to change him, being his mother isn’t going to change him. The Bible says you are wasting your time. God wants you to know that all of that energy has been lost. God says, can we change our approach here?

Let him see a wife that by her BEHAVIOR submits to him. Let him see what that looks like, because for many men, they have never seen that. But you say “No, no…he always has his way, I’m always submitted to him.” But verse 2 says it has to be respectful behavior! Not disrespectful behavior. Not behavior that says “I’m gonna do what you say, but I’m gonna make your life miserable while doing it. And you had better find another bedroom because you aren’t sleeping in here.” (Joke, gals…joke!!)

He’s not up to snuff, he’s weak, maybe he never had a man in his life to show him how to treat a woman. There may be a hundred different reasons but the problem is the same…he is a parked car and you are told by God to follow him.

Now let’s say you have a parked car in front of you. You have a car broken down in front of you and you have somewhere to be. So you start yelling and screaming and laying on the horn. Now after all of that fussing, that car has still not moved. Do you know what that car needs? That needs someone to come along and assist it with its movement.

I believe the Biblical term for this is “helpmate!”

Guess what the job of a helpmate is? To help. Too many women are hurt-mates, instead of helpmates. Because what you do is what everybody else does to your man: put him down, criticize him, complain about him, de-masculate him. And the very thing you are after, you are helping to destroy!

He is your head by position, even though he may be a failure in his practice. Some of you women give your bosses what you aren’t willing to give your husbands. Your boss says “Can you get me a cup of coffee?” And you say “Yes, Mr. Jones…right away Mr. Jones.” Your husband asks you to get him a cup of coffee, and you say “You had better get it yourself…do I look like a maid?” Your boss asks you to do something, you say “Yes, Mr. Stevens. Right away Mr. Stevens.” Do you know why you respect your boss? Because he has got your money in his pocket! He is responsible for your raise. Well, guess what God is saying? “I am responsible for your blessing, and you aren’t getting one.”

A lot of the wives today need to go home and say to your husbands “I am sorry for disrespecting you. I have talked to you disrespectfully. I have called you out of your name in front of the kids. I have disrespected you with my girlfriends. I have been unwilling to serve you in the way that God expects. And instead of me taking responsibility, I use your failures to excuse my irresponsibility. And before God that is wrong…and I apologize.”

That they may be won without a word.

You say “I don’t believe that can happen. I need to help God out here. My husband doesn’t need an invisible God, he needs a woman he can see. I have to help God out here.” That’s why you need to know the rest of this section because God says that the reason that you aren’t seeing me change him is because you think you are supposed to. “That they may be changed without your nagging, your fussing, your cussing and complaining.”

So ladies, some of you need to apologize. Because it has been years since some of your husbands got a kind word. Or you complimented him. Well ,you say “I would compliment him if he did something right?” Well, he did one thing right didn’t he? He married you! He thought you were good enough for him.

This behavior has to be observed. Not hear. And it must be respectful. The meaning of the word observe is to leave him with his mouth open. Shock him today with “whatever you say darling…I’d be honored to support you in that.” And then after you call the paramedics because he had a heart attack…

You’re not going to get this out in the world, in the secular society. But we aren’t called to follow the world…we are called to follow Christ.

Next up…Seducing your husband (1 Peter 1:3-4).