Marriage Big Issues

I recently read a book by Joel and Kathy Davisson, Man of Her Dreams, in which they address a tendency by some men to make the wife’s “submission” a key issue in marriage.

As they see it, Biblical marriage teaching popularised in the 1980’s ended up making “submission” the key issue in Christian marriages, leading to various ways in which wives have suffered. To bring redress they seek to wind back the significance of a wife’s submission and call upon men to lay down their lives for the wife.

It seems that the 1980’s teaching promised that if a wife submitted, the marriage would be wonderful. So the Davisson’s replace that erroneous idea with the proposition that if a husband submits to the vision of the marriage as directed by his wife, then they will live happily ever after.

Joel and Kathy’s book prompted me to consider how I would address imbalanced thinking about the Biblical issues for husband and wife.

Mind Your Own Business

The readily identifiable responsibilities for husband and wife as given in the Bible are clearly that the husband must “love” his wife and the wife must “submit” to her husband.

Now obviously wives are to love their husband and husbands give attention to and work alongside their wives. Mutual affection and submission are obviously ideal in a good working marriage relationship. However, the clear directive is that the husband give supreme attention to loving his wife and the wife give supreme attention to submitting to her husband.

But take note that the clear instructions to love and submit are clearly addressed to the responsible party, not their spouse. Husbands are not instructed to enforce submission, nor the wife instructed to force her husband to love her. Each is individually accountable before God for their actions.

So, husbands and wives, “Mind Your Own Business!”

Marriage is not a battleground where you struggle to get your spouse to do their part. It is a place where you live in the fear of God and be the man or woman God has called you to be, through all the “for better or for worse” challenges.

Dear Husband Dear Wife

Let me show you, in your face, so you can’t miss it, that the instructions for a husband and wife are given to the relevant party. It is NOT your place to be an enforcement officer in your marriage, or anyone else’s.

Ephesians 5 is the most extensive Bible passage addressing the responsibilities of a husband and wife. Here we see the love/submit responsibilities stated repeatedly and expanded with reference to Christ and the Church. Yet at no point is anyone authorised to police the responsibilities, except the individual husband and wife taking responsibility for their own actions.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22

“Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:24

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” Ephesians 5:25

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:28

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

Note that the last verse does not say, “Husbands see that your wife reverences you”.

The Focus on You

When Paul repeats to the church he planted in Colosse the personal responsibilities of husband and wife he goes on to show that these are personal responsibilities before God. The point is, therefore, that we are not accountable to our spouse, but to God. And our spouse is not accountable to us, but to God.

In Colossians 3:18-25 Paul addresses wives, husbands, children, fathers and servants in a common instruction regarding their personal challenges.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men;

Knowing that of the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ. But he that does wrong will receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.”

Note that the Lord will reward those who do right and will see that wrong actions receive due response, because all we do, as wife, husband, child, father or servant, is really done in service of Christ our Lord.

Beware the Human Heart

Marriage issues in western Christian homes are rarely about the husband or the wife not knowing their role and responsibility. The problems spring from the selfish evil human heart we all carry within us.

Men fail to love their wife. They do so often because of laziness and selfishness. They also do so because of resentment toward the wife.

Women fail to submit to their husband. They do so because of such things as self interest, self will and resentment.

God is watching our heart and will reward us according to how our heart responds to the various challenges that come our way, including the challenges that come from our marriage and family.

I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:10

Always Show Grace

The most common issue in marriage is that husband, wife or both have given up giving grace to each other. We all know that when we are in a good mood we suffer all manner of frustrations, but when we are troubled by ill will toward our spouse we find it impossible to show grace.

Human selfishness is counter to God’s grace. We are sinful but God is perfect. We are instructed by Christ to show God’s grace so we too may be perfect.

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; So you may be the children of your Father in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.” Matthew 5:44,45

Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

However our human heart rebels against blessing those who we feel have wronged us. And that is toxic to a marriage.

Enter Resentment

Newlyweds find many things to resent in their newfound spouse. We enter marriage with hopes, dreams, delusions, false ideas about ourself and our spouse, fears, insecurities, unrealistic expectations, and so on. It is a recipe for hurts and disillusionment.

But in the honeymoon phase we tend to press past these bumps and show grace, in the hope that we can get our spouse to change, or in a trade-off for the benefits which marriage provides.

Eventually, however, our selfish hearts give up on grace and we give in to our selfish feelings. Not everyone pouts, seethes or revolts, but the tiny roots of disappointment, resentment, hurt, frustration, disillusionment and the like begin to sprout in our hearts.

What I call “resentment” is the soft term for “bitterness”. But westerners don’t like to be told they have such ugly things in their heart, so they will more likely accept the softer label of resentment, since resentment suggests we have a right to be resentful based on the failure or actions of the other party.

Enter Bitterness

Having softened you up with the ‘R’ word (resentment), let me switch it for the ‘B’ word, Bitterness.

The writer to the Hebrews warns us clearly that if we fail to show grace the alternative is BITTERNESS. Call it by any other name if you like, but if you are feeling hard feelings toward your spouse you are in bitterness! Sorry about that, but it’s actually YOUR FAULT. You are in deep trouble because your heart has rejected God’s grace and given in to the powerfully destructive bitterness plant growing in your heart.

See it for yourself in the book of Hebrews….

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” Hebrews 12:14-16

Let me paraphrase the message for you…

‘Live by peace and holiness, or you will never see the Lord. And be really careful about always giving God’s grace to people, because if you don’t a “root of bitterness” will spring up and trouble you and poison many people. And don’t commit spiritual adultery by putting other things ahead of your spiritual inheritance, like Esau did, selling his birthright for self indulgence.’

Be Not Bitter

Your selfish heart will readily enter into resentment (bitterness) and will justify those feelings based on the failure of your spouse.

Wives and Husbands will feel hurt, frustration, disappointment, shame, offence, defeat, death of their vision for the marriage, and all sorts of related feelings. Those feelings could easily feed feelings of self-pity, defeatism and depression. Those feelings make psychologists busy and profitable.

But God’s will is that we do not give in to those various expressions of bitterness. We are to show grace, like God does, and not fail to keep giving our best to those who don’t deserve it, just as God gives sunshine and rain equally to the good and the evil.

No matter what our spouse puts us through God is watching our heart to see how we react. He wants us to react in a perfect expression of His grace. Our flesh wants to react with anger, manipulation, retaliation, indulging our hurt feelings, and so on.

Note Paul’s specific word to husbands in Colossians …..

“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Colossians 3:19

The Big Issue is the Heart

The big issue in marriage is not the wife’s submission. And it is not the perfection of the husband’s love for his wife. The whole trouble with marriage is the resentment and bitterness that springs up in the human heart, producing hardness toward the spouse and justifying those bitter thoughts and the resultant actions they produce.

What comes out the husband’s heart and what comes out of the wife’s heart are the “issues of life” for that couple. Well, it is actually the issue for the individual, since the spouse does not really get affected.

Ooops! Did I hear a reaction to that statement?

Remember that you are in control of your heart. Your rebellious wife or your uncaring husband are not your issue. They are each accountable before God for their rebellion against God’s will for their lives. All that is important for you is that you show grace to them.

If you fail to show grace, then your heart reaction will become a serious issue in your marriage. What comes out of your heart determines the issues of your life and marriage.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:23

Hidden Man of the Heart

The Bible reveals we have a hidden personality in our heart. It is our most private part.

Peter encourages women to let the beauty of their hidden inner heart attitudes of submission be more important to them than dressing up with clothes and hairdo.

“Likewise, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the lifestyle of the wives; While they behold your chaste lifestyle coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1Peter 3:1-4

Your wife is married to your hidden man of the heart. Your husband is married to your hidden inner man.

Is your hidden man of the heart one with a meek and quiet spirit? Does it live by the fear of God? Or is it defiled with seething self interest, selfishness, pouting, resentment, bitterness, and such like?

The Problem with Your Marriage

The problem with your marriage is your heart. It is not your wife’s lack of submission or your husband’s insensitivity.

God has set you up with a spouse that will constantly fail you and test your heart. As far as you are concerned, God is focussed on your heart reaction, not your spouse’s selfishness. It is up to God to deal with your spouse. Their willingness or unwillingness to be the husband or wife they are supposed to be is a matter of God’s judgment on their life. You have no stake in the matter.

You have a huge stake in your heart reaction. And you have a HUGE stake in the question of your resentment or bitterness toward your spouse.

So, get over the fact that your wife is a tyrant and your husband is a jerk. Get serious about your heart response. That’s the only thing you have to care about.

Woman Beware

As a dad and as a pastor giving guidance to young people I have written very little for young women.  Following the pattern of King Solomon in his instructions to his son, I am starting out with some cautions.  And much of what I share here comes from the wisdom of Solomon.

The Heart of the Matter

For all of us the heart is the “heart of the matter”.  Our actions are less significant in God’s eyes than our motives.  So any guidance to youth is really guidance for their heart.  This is particularly so for young women who can be distracted by externals, such as their own appearance or competing with the beauty of others.

King Solomon instructs us to be very diligent in protecting our heart, because the reactions of our heart become the “issues” we have to live with and deal with in our lives.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

“Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.”  1Chronicles 28:9

Womanly Issues

From my counselling experience and from my reading of the Bible I am aware of several issues which women are likely to struggle with.  I want to draw them to your attention with the caution that these areas deserve careful consideration to keep the heart free.

I note, for example, that women are more concerned about security and preparation for the future than their husbands often are.  I note, too, that women want to feel “loved” and yet their husbands can often neglect them without realising it.  I also note that women can fall into contention, argument and having the last word, when they are upset with their husbands.

Then there is the reflection about womanhood that I once heard from Iverna Thompkins.  She observed to a large group of women that men tend to have a pigeonhole for everything – from work, to the kids, to the car, wife, dog, etc.  A man can therefore shut off to his unhappy thoughts or feelings about work (or some other issue) when he faces something that is not in that pigeonhole, such as playing with his children.

Iverna observed that women operate differently.  “For us girls,” she observed, “it’s just ONE BIG HOLE!” What she meant is that if a woman is upset about one thing her feelings spill over to everything else as well.

This leads to the observation that women must pay attention to Solomon’s advice to gain “rule over your own spirit”.

“He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28

Proverbs 31 Woman

It is often observed that the last chapter in the book of Proverbs provides a description of an ideal woman.  Many women, therefore, take note of that description and try to match the various qualities, such as rising early, running a home business, and so on.

Let me remind you that it is not our actions but our heart that is the heart of the matter.  Despite the many activities described there, the key verse for women is not about wool, flax, food, enterprise or rising early.  The key verse is about the heart.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

The true “Proverbs 31 Woman” is defined by a heart to fear the Lord.

So let me point out how having such a heart makes you a very rare woman indeed.

Humility and Faith

I believe the two most powerful qualities a young woman can develop, and which will save her from the many traps that womankind falls into, are humility and faith.

Pride is a terrible thing in a woman because it leads her to fight and argue with her husband, which is the very opposite of being submissive and fitting in with his plans.  Let me show you how that works.

A contentious woman is proverbial, both in modern society and in the Bible.  King Solomon made repeated references to how terrible it is to be around a woman who is contentious.

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”  Proverbs 21:19

“… the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:13b

Putting up with a contentious woman is like Chinese water torture!

So where do contentions come from?  Contention is evidence of Pride!

Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”  Proverbs 13:10

And a fruit of pride is that people look down on others, scorning them, and holding them in contempt.  That’s why getting rid of a “scorner” removes contention.  Scorn is an evidence of pride of heart.

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.”  Proverbs 22:10

Scorning the Husband

One of my lovely daughters-in-law related a few years ago how she attended a ladies group in her church and all the women did was complain about their husbands.  These young wives held their husbands in contempt.  They “scorned” them.  This means they had pride in their own heart about how much better they, as women, were, compared with their husbands.

When a wife lectures her husband, scolds him, belittles him, treats him like a naughty schoolboy, takes control over him and the like, she is in pride and is scorning her husband.

Yet it seems very easy for a woman to do that.  So beware of your heart.

Wives are commanded to submit to and honour their husband.  If you do not rule your heart properly you will probably find contentions coming from you because you scorn your husband.

The Place of Faith

I mentioned the need for both humility and faith.  I have shown that humility is important, to neutralise pride that leads to scorning and contention.  So, what about faith?

Wives are instructed to submit to their husband.  Yet many wives struggle with the lack of care, wisdom and planning they see in their husbands.

Because women are geared toward a need for security, the impulsive, undisciplined actions of her husband can make a woman fearful.  From that place of fear, combined with scorn for her husband’s lack of care for her, a woman can take control of the home and family, so she will feel secure.

This is where “faith” comes in.  Since it is God who commands the woman to submit, she must seek to do so with all her heart.  If she is insecure in the abilities and thoughtfulness of her husband, then she must focus her faith on God, not her husband.

A wife may pray something like this: “Lord, I know You want me to submit to my husband.  But he is so irresponsible and I am afraid for myself and our children.  He wastes money and makes decisions on impulse, despite all the times I try to get him to grow up!  But Lord, I want to worship You by obeying Your instructions.  So I choose to submit to my husband and honour him.  I do this as an act of faith in You.  I give You my fears and my needs.  I ask You to protect me from my husband’s foolishness.”

Such a prayer places the woman’s faith where it is supposed to be; on God, not the husband.

Out of Order

The ideal woman is one who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30), and rules her own spirit, having both humility and faith.  So what is a woman like if she does not follow this wisdom?

A woman who does not fear God allows her pride and fear control her, so she then seeks to control the man and children in her life.  This is where we get the idea of the matriarch who rules the family, or the woman who makes her husband a “hormone hostage”.

Manipulation and control are a ready pitfall for a woman who is out of order.  King Solomon has a description of such a woman.

“And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: the one who pleases God will escape from her; but the sinner will be taken by her.”  Ecclesiastes 7:26

Note that a man will feel like it is better to be dead than to live with such a woman.  That has echoes of the comment about living in the desert rather than putting up with a contentious woman.

I have had to counsel both men and women who struggled with the manipulation and control of a mother or wife.  Such control is more than just emotional, it is devilish, because it is rebellion against the will of God.

Witchcraft in the Home

While a godly woman is a most wonderful thing, a rebellious and contentious woman is a bitter thing.  However the deeper danger is the spiritual curse such a woman can bring in a marriage and home.  So let me add this observation to caution your heart.

A woman driven by fear, pride, scorn, self-will and an out of control heart will be in rebellion against God and he husband.  And “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”  1Samuel 15:23a

If a wife was to practice witchcraft in the home then spiritual oppression would come upon her, her husband and the family.  So, when a wife practices rebellion against God’s instruction to submit to her husband, she also brings spiritual oppression upon herself, her husband and the family.

This is part of the “snares and nets” problem a woman can be in a home.

What is Ruling You?

If a wife gives in to her impulses, fears, pride or reactions, she will be out of control.  She will not be under God’s headship, nor will she be under her husband’s headship.  Instead she will be ruled by her fears and other things that are ungodly.

If she then tries to contend, manipulate, control, argue and the like she is exalting that wrong spirit over the home.  Her husband should not give in to her, otherwise he is saying to Jesus, “You can’t be the head of this home right now, because my wife wants that spirit of anger to rule her and me.”

A wise husband will resist his wife’s manipulation and control, tantrums, outbursts, verbal attacks, contentions or the like, because he wants Jesus to remain as the head of the home, not some out of order attitude or spirit that wants to rule through the wife.

A Good Thing

Don’t think that these cautions mean women are terrible or evil.  All men and women have fallen short of God’s glory.  The challenge for each of us is to be holy as our God is holy.  For women that involves some challenges different to men, and vice versa.

It is God’s favour to give you as a godly wife to a man the Lord blesses.

Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour of the LORD.”  Proverbs 18:22

Godly women want to be a blessing.  And you are.  You are a gift to your husband.

Note, as a final word of caution, that you are a blessing when you are a “wife”.  A woman who is married to a man but acts as his superior, boss, mother, manipulator, jailer or the like is not his “wife”.  Being married to a man makes you a wife in human terms, but not according to God’s plan.

I call upon each of you to be a godly wife, by living in humility and faith and the fear of God, ruling your own spirit, so you do not give in to fear, pride, scorn, manipulation, control or any other thing that leads to rebellion against God.

And may the Lord bless you as you do.

Strident Spirit of the Willful

“Strident Spirit” describes a person’s determination to have their way on some issue or other. We are all prone to this level of self-will and determination at times, often over specific areas where we feel the need to take a stand.

If people believe they have been taken advantage of or hurt in some way, either by a person or situation, they can make an inner resolve about the person or process. Their resolve is basically that they will not allow themselves to be vulnerable again.

Rebellion Against God

The problem with our strident spirit is that it is rebellion against God. When we take our lives into our own hands and demand certain realities for ourselves, we take the place of God in our own lives.

A simple example is where a person says to God, “I will serve You where ever You send me, but I will not go to the jungles of Africa!” Or, “I will show hospitality to anyone, except that person who offended me!” Whenever we rule God out of some decision or option we withhold God’s right in our life.

We need to undo this inner resolve which offends God, and thus become free of our Strident Spirit.

If you are given to hard attitudes toward a person or situation, then you very likely have a strident spirit associated driving your will. You need to find God’s grace and humble yourself before Him.

Realise you are in rebellion against God and humble yourself under His authority.

Spiritual Slavery

We are warned that what we give ourselves to will rule us. And so, when a person gives their will to serve their feelings of resentment, independence, self-preservation, or whatever, the will comes under the power of a strident spirit which will frustrate the person’s future attempts to yield their will, even to God.

So this is not just a matter of personal strength of will, but a spiritual battle against an evil force which has claimed victory over your will. You must make it a priority to be free from the Strident Spirit, so you can fully yield your life to God.

The best way to do that is to die to your self-will, allowing God to ask what He will, and being determined to obey Him and trust Him. Once the strident spirit is broken, you will have much greater internal liberty to worship and serve God. You will be free from a terrible slavery.

The Pastor’s Wife

Imagine a pastor’s wife who feels offended by the women in the congregation because of their excessive expectations of her. They want her to take part in programs and activities which she is not interested in.

The pastor’s wife refuses to meet their expectations, so the women complain to the church leaders. Those leaders then speak with the pastor asking him to encourage his wife to fit in with the program.

The pastor decides not to ask his wife to help the ladies, even though he thinks it is the right thing for her to do. He is aware of her strident and self-assertive nature and knows how upset she already is about the women asking for her help. He decides not to make his demand of her, since he does not want to further strain his relationship with his wife.

The Wrong Spirit in Control

Now there is no resolution. The women are unhappy. The pastor is caught in the middle. The wife is determined to hold her ground. The church leaders are embarrassed about the predicament.

So, who is ruling this situation? The most powerful spirit operating in this mess is a strident spirit, not the Spirit of God. The wife’s determination is being exalted over the whole situation.

Imagine, then, the Lord speaking to the pastor’s wife in a dream. He reminds her that He called her to serve Him and that she agreed to do so as a little child. He reminds her that her entire ministry is a gift from Him. He then points out to her that her heart is now not controlled by His love and grace, but by her own determination. He asks her if she would yield her will and do whatever HE asked her to do.

The wife agrees that she wants to give glory to God and honour Him. She agrees that she will obey Him. God gives her only one instruction, “Submit to your husband”.

The Challenge of Submission

When the wife wakes she struggles with the challenge to submit to her husband, because she does not trust him to always be sensitive to her needs and wishes. However, she realises that submission to her husband comes at a cost. It is a penalty to her own will, and requires her to yield her heart to God and to trust Him to protect her from the husband’s thoughtlessness and failings, and his own weakness of will.

When the wife tells the husband that she wants to submit to him and will do whatever he asks, she is aware of many areas where she has been a difficult wife and is not sure what he will ask her to do.

The husband asks her to fit in with the request of the women in the church, as an act of devotion to him. The wife is shocked. She has clearly refused to do what the women ask. She would refuse her husband under normal circumstances, just as she has refused the women. But this is now different. She is now being asked to submit her will to God.

Bow to God

The wife’s submission to her husband is not a losing of her will to the man, but losing her will to God, since God asked her to submit to the husband. And now, when she submits to the request of the women, as an act of submission to her husband’s request, that too is an act of submission to God.

The wife’s strident spirit is broken when she yields her will to God. Whatever pain, shame, or personal struggle she has to work through to fit in with the women’s program is the pain of submission to God. She does it all as an act of worship to Him.

For all of us who struggle to yield our will at times, this example points to an important principle. When we take charge of our will to stand against people or situations which we object to we must be careful to still be yielding our will to God. If God has directed us to take a stand, like Elijah against the prophets of Baal, then we are in the will of God. If it is our own spirit that has risen on our own behalf, then we must put that aside and bow the knee to God.

Biblical Examples

Jesus Christ gave us the example of His own life. When people mocked Him, He did not reply. The Apostle Peter described this example from Jesus.

“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously” 1Peter 2:23

Jesus did not access His own wilful reactions, demands or determined actions, but yielded His life to do the will of God.

We also know of Moses as the meekest man that ever lived (Numbers 12:3), having yielded his life to God. And wives are instructed to adorn themselves in a meek and gentle spirit.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands” 1Peter 3:3-5

If you have given place to self-will or a Strident Spirit, you are in rebellion against God. It is time to humble yourself and give in to God.

God Can Be Trusted

Now, you may be afraid that if you give in to God He will ask you to do things which you think are bad for you. I know of people who were sure that God would send them to the mission-field if ever they yielded their lives to Him.

Let me reassure you with the words of Jeremiah. God’s plans for you are much better than yours.

“For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

If God has to do surgery on your heart and attitudes it is only to remove a deadly disease. If you jump off the operating table and run away, you take all of your toxic problems with you.

Referring back to the resistant pastor’s wife, it may be that God wanted to soften her hard heart so she would be a blessing to others. It may be that she has not learned to be a team player, and needed to learn to work with others. It may be that her pride would destroy her in the future if God did not deal with it now.

Because we trust God to be who He is, a loving and gracious Heavenly Father, we can give in to Him. If we are desperate to “save” our life, we will lose it. But if we give up our claim on our own will, we will find the life for which we were created.

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35

Rebel Queen

While weak husbands can become Dungeon Lord of their home, wives damage their marriage by becoming the Rebel Queen. Some women seek to subvert their husband’s home from day one.
They run an ongoing insurgency in the home, either to resist the husband’s leadership or subvert his world under her own control.

Queen

Pride in Heart

Some wives live in the delusion that they are morally superior to their husbands. Their sensibilities to domestic order, cleanliness, social propriety and the like testify to them that they are the morally superior being and the husband in the oaf or ogre who must be tamed.

Such thoughts spring from pride and self exaltation. From that position the wife can justify her efforts to enslave the husband and make him serve her leadership. She can equally justify her resistance and insurrection.

If the wife cannot win the husband she may at least enlist the children to her cause, values and domestic wisdom. The “don’t be like your father” message may be played repeatedly by the wife to push her rebel cause.

Enslaving the Husband

Because most men want their wife to be happy it is possible for women to enslave the husband, making him servant to her standards and ideals. The wife may restrict the man in his own home (“Don’t sit in THAT chair!”), dictate what he eats and drinks (“Don’t eat before dinner!”), control his money (“Don’t come to me for more!”), set the family goals and plans (“These kids are going to go to Uni!”), and so on.
Some men happily comply with this rebel cause, to keep the peace and in gratitude for having a woman in their life.

Other men are more stubborn and set on their own will. The wife may then end up in a long-term cold war of passive resistance, contention, manipulation and the like. While she may not enslave her husband, she can be a constant resistance against all the things he wants to do that don’t fit her will.

Abducting His Life

I have seen wives who simply abduct their husband’s life. Instead of being his helper, as per God’s design for the woman in Genesis 2, she sees the husband as the means to fulfilment of her dreams.
Her aspirations of wealth, home, lifestyle, etc, are forced on the husband. She sees it as her role in life to tame his wishes, and make them subservient to her own.

Many men happily comply with this abduction, not seeing how completely the family values, direction, achievements and aspirations are being set by the wife. The wife’s values and goals may be fine. But when she asserts them, in place of submission to the husband as head, she abducts the home. She is acting in rebellion against God.

A True Wife

God created the role of ‘wife’, and He made the woman to be the man’s helper. The man who finds a ‘wife’ finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). The man with a rebel queen has not found a good thing. A woman doesn’t become a godly wife, as a gift to her husband, just by saying “I do”. She must fulfil her unique part as ‘wife’ in her husband’s life.

The true wife is instructed to submit to her husband. He is her head and she is his helper, assisting him to fulfil God’s call on his life. She is not lord of her husband. She is not queen of the home. She is not the focus on the husband’s life. She is not there to be served.

A true wife does not manipulate, undermine, compete, resist or frustrate her husband. She empowers him by being wind in his sails, as he seeks to be the man God calls him to be.

The Rebel

When a woman rules her own home she is in rebellion against God. As a rebel queen she not only stands against her husband’s authority, but against God’s authority too.

The reason many woman engage in subversion of the home is insecurity. She fears that the husband’s ego-driven decisions will be unwise, self-serving and damaging to future security. In her insecurity she rises up and take control.

She needs to put her trust in the Lord and find security in Him. She needs to worship God, by being what He made her to be, not what her self-interest prompts her to be.

Another reason women rebel is their pride. Many have a deluded sense of moral superiority as if that gives them a different place to the one God gave them. Pride exalts, and when women exalt themselves over the husband, pride is at play. But pride leads to destruction, so it must never be pandered to.

True Beauty

The Bible teaches that a woman’s true, inner beauty comes from a submissive spirit. When a woman submits to her husband, not because she fully trusts his wisdom, but because she is determined to glorify God, a new radiance glows from within her (see 1Peter 3:3-6).

The rebel queen will never fulfil her natural beauty. She will become hardened and her efforts will be unfruitful. Her pride will lead to destruction. Going her own way will lead to death and failure. Her fears will enslave her. She will pluck down her home with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1).

A Life of Trust

Women were designed to help their husband. They are designed to be under instruction, not taking lordship. This requires trust. Her trust is not in her husband and his wisdom. Her trust is to be securely placed in the Lord, as her source of supply and defence from harm.

A life of trust in God is the highest life a wife can live. Becoming a rebel queen is the total opposite to that high calling.

Life will not be without challenges. No husband will always delight his wife. We may all have to miss out on some things we desire. But when a wife can lay down her own life, to take on the calling of ‘wife’, she will find a life far richer and more fulfilling than the one she would demand her husband to build for her.

Basis of Human Law Part 2

In Part One of this series I opened up the subject of Human Law by looking at several important points introduced in the first chapter of the Holy Bible. Since the Bible is the most reliable of all ancient texts, is the most celebrated of ancient texts, has the greatest endorsement and track record of any ancient text and is given full authority within the High Court of Australia, it is a worthy text to address in looking for the basis of human law.

In part two, I look at some other principles which spring from the first few chapters of Genesis. I have long had a high regard for the amount of significant points given to us in just a few chapters of the Bible. These key points undergird the rest of the Bible and our understanding of the whole of human history.

Words

We have already seen that God spoke words which released power. God said, “Let there be light” and the immediate result was that light sprang forth. This ability to speak things into reality testifies to God’s supreme authority and jurisdiction (the right to speak over the entire universe).

Another principle which has significance in law is the power of words. Words and their meanings are a very important aspect of legal business. Definitions, word usage, distinctions of meaning, what is written, what was agreed to, and so on, take up much of the energies of those engage in law.

The Bible endorses the vital importance of words in many places, confirming the significance of referring to this reality in the third verse of the Bible. Consider these other verses.

“And I say to you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36,37

“He that rejects me, and receives not my sayings, has one that judges him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.” John 12:48

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say to him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good: so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips.” Hosea 14:2

Law and Words

Much of law is constructed by words and names, defining responsibilities and consequences contingent on the impact of those words. Yet words do not make up moral law. Divine law stands apart from the various laws which people create to serve the purposes of their own society, club or process. We see that distinction in the New Testament, where a Roman official dismisses the Jewish legal complaint as simply a matter of their own words, names and laws.

“But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, If indeed it were a matter of wrong or of wicked villany [here he refers to moral wrongdoing], O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: but if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; I am not minded to be a judge of these matters. And he drove them from the judgment-seat.” Acts 18:14-16

Assigned Roles

We saw previously that God gave man dominion, which prescribed a specific place for man. The dominion mandate of Genesis 1:26-28 reveals that positions are God given. God, who is sovereign over all, ascribes to people their place in His created realm.

This ability to assign roles to people is important in terms of human law, because rulers and others who gain authority have the power to make and enforce laws. The validity of their role directly impacts their right to make and enforce laws and the obligation of others to work with or under those laws.

Under Command

In the second chapter of the Bible, Genesis 2, we see another principle of law at work. God imposes moral law onto mankind.

God created a beautiful resort garden for the man to live in. Only the best trees were planted there. Also planted there were two trees of great power. One of those trees, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, was banned from man. The man was commanded not to eat of that tree or he would die.

“And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17

Mankind was not simply given life by God. Man is under command. We are not the free agents which some people want to believe they are. We are accountable to God for our actions. God has prescribed behaviour for us. We cannot do as we please.

Note too, that God’s authority over us places us under moral law. This is not natural law (discussed in part one), but a moral obligation which is independent of the natural considerations. God is a moral being. Man is made in his image, so man is a moral being. God reserves the right, as creator and supreme sovereign, to hold man accountable to moral requirements.

A further legal principle evident here is that superiors have the right to make demands of subordinates. God did not need man’s permission to make demands of man. God is the superior and his right to make demands is simply part of his jurisdiction. The same principle is true for all who have been given authority by God. Note that God is not superior by brute strength. God is the primary cause of man’s existence and is of a nature vastly superior to man’s being. This is not survival of the fittest, but moral order, based on God’s being and His role in the creation of man.

Submission

Note too that rules are a normal part of life. Existence is designed to operate within constraints, rules, moral order and due process. It is not truly possible to live outside of rules and regulation. The very nature itself is regulated and operates according to laws which man has been able to identify, such as gravity.

We must all submit to a range of constraints. We cannot live outside of those constraints – or we would simply float out into space, un-bound by gravity.

However, people seek opportunity to do as they please. This is one of the urges in selfish human nature. We see in history that there were occasions where people did what they pleased.

“You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes” Deuteronomy 12:8

This may seem a positive situation for those who seek self-will, but we are warned that the consequence of such choices is evil.

“There is a way which seems right to a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12

Submission is part of the human condition, but it is something which mankind wishes to pull against – not just against divine authority, but against natural authorities and responsibilities as well.

Consequences

Actions lead to consequences, both natural and moral. God warned Adam about the consequences which attended eating of the forbidden fruit.

Actions are not in our own power. We cannot dictate the outcome of our deeds. We cannot make a bad outcome good. We cannot turn off the consequences.

This is why moral choices are so very serious. Wrong moral choices create consequences which cannot be removed. Great devastation has come upon people throughout human history because of wrong moral choices leading to nasty consequences.

In today’s western culture where people have been blinded to the concept of consequences there are many who are stunned by the fruit of their foolish and ignorant selfishness. They have been lied to by humanist philosophy which ignores moral accountability and consequences. Thus they are completely shocked by the results which they did not want and cannot reverse.

Yet More to Come

All of what has been discussed so far is simply putting in place the principles and moving parts which make up our legal landscape. Yet there is more to be put on the table, so part three will open up yet more new principles and elements that need to be understood.

To read the first post in this series on Human Law go to: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/human-law-1

For further reading on the Right To Speak go to: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/the-right-to-speak