Over the next two posts we will look at two areas of life where we can change our wardrobe as Christ followers: in our marriages and in our work environments.
In Colossians 3:18,19 Paul says:
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
In a letter Paul wrote to the Ephesian church around the same time, he introduces his words of challenge to husbands and wives with the phrase: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). The biblical concept of “submission” means to place ourselves under the authority of another. Both wives and husbands, are called to put themselves under the authority of the other. Confused? Read on…
We are all are to submit to one another in the Body of Christ. As brothers and sisters, we recognize that God has given us the gift of community. Submission means allowing others to speak into our lives, sharpen us, and bring encouragement and guidance.
God, through His instrument Paul, offers some most challenging applications for husbands and wives. If we are to “put on new clothes” and live in a way that reflects the gospel’s influence in our lives, these will do it!
For wives, Paul says to submit. Wives love their husbands, and thus show themselves different from those around them, by leaning into the leadership of their husbands. Later in Ephesians, Paul summarizes the wife’s response to her husband as … let the wife see that she respects her husband (5:33). It’s difficult for us to submit to anyone, and many a wife has probably said, “I would ‘lean into his leadership’ but you just don’t know what a knucklehead he is!” Certainly, in a world of knuckleheads, our spouses can sometimes seem to lead the pack! However, the way wives put on a “new wardrobe” is to partner with their husbands through respect and leaning into their leadership. That kind of wife will stand out.
For husbands, Paul takes the idea of submission and raises the bar! Peter uses the same key word as Paul—love. Peter applies the “husband love your wives” lesson by urging us to “not be harsh.” For husbands who may feel stretched with all that is on their plates—at home, at work, and in family relationships—it can seem justified to see interaction with our wives as just one more “to do” on our list for the day and slip into a harsh, get ’er done demeanor. When we interact with our wives, whom God has given us, in that kind of way, we are not leaning into that relationship in love.
In Ephesians, Paul describes the kind of love we are to live out towards our wives: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church … (5:25) That communicates sacrifice, compassion, other-centered love. At times, and for many different motivations, we husbands can find it easier to lovemany other people, but this kind of Christ-inspired love is set apart for our wives. Jesus died on the cross for the church. In what ways can I, as a husband, reflect that same love toward my wife, Pam?
Certainly, when we submit ourselves and live in service to our spouses, it is one of the most powerful displays of the “new wardrobe” that Jesus desires us to wear, as a result of the gospel’s influence in us.
Wives—are there ways today and this week that you can show respect to your husband by leaning into his leadership, showing respect by allowing him to lead you?
Husbands—are there ways today and this week that you can love your wives in a sacrificial way? Is there something you can do that means giving up yourself and putting her first? See Philippians 2:1-4 for inspiration.