As I’ve said before, training to become a Christian speaker begins with a life-changing testimony. You may remember my testimony of how God took me kicking and screaming into submission. The way I saw it, submission was for doormats, for wimpy little women with no mind of my own. And I was tough, I was strong, and I was proud of it!
When I finally decided to become a submissive wife, I actually thought I was submitting to a martyred life. I envisioned giving up who I was, walking three steps behind my husband, while burying my personality under black clothes and a hairnet. (And just for the record, Gary never said I had to be a submissive wife. This was all between God and me.)
I started by reading the only verse some men ever memorize, Ephesians 5:22. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Ugh.
But I was on a journey to understand what all this really meant. So I went back and read the verse in the context of Ephesians and saw that Paul was teaching ALL of us how to treat one another. Ephesians 5:21 (one verse earlier than the infamous submission verse) tells all us Christians to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Then I read the verse after the infamous one, Ephesians 5:23: For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church….
Hmmm. It was the first time I noticed there was a repeat of the word, head. I didn’t know my way around the Bible very well, but I knew about the concordance in the back of my Bible, so I looked it up. There, I found a similar passage in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that says, …the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Could all those heads possibly be the same word with the same meaning?
That’s when someone told me about Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament. With the Strong’s, I could look up any verse in the Old or New Testament and find the meaning behind the original Greek or Hebrew word…without taking a single Greek or Hebrew class! And then I discovered that the Vines explains King James Version words in original Greek context and background.
So I went to the Christian bookstore and brought home the books. I looked up the passages…and began to realize the intricate detail of God’s Word. I was surprised to learn that the head of 1 Corinthians 11 has the same original Greek meaning as the head of Ephesians 5. And–oh, my goodness–the head between man and woman was the same head between God and Jesus!
Suddenly it became clear. If man was to be head over woman in the same way that God was head over Christ, then what did I have to fear in submission? After all, was Jesus a doormat to Christ? Absolutely not! So are women to be a doormats to their husbands? Absolutely not.
I was free! Free to be me in Christ. And through that freedom I found the joy in submission…first to the Father, then to my husband.
And the good news is, there’s not a doormat in sight.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:19-21
Grace and peace,
(Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut)