Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scared of Submission?

I heard an interesting sermon the other day. It was good except for the part where the speaker choked.

He hit the part in Ephesians 5 that deals with submission. His comments began with Ephesians 5:21, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. He explained that it means that we are to out-serve one another. I agree that service is a good thing and probably most of us could do quite a bit more.

So then on to verse 22, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Almost apologetically, he reiterated that it means that the couple is to out-serve one another. He then went on to say that if a wife is having a problem submitting it may be that the husband is not loving her as Christ loved the church. I agree that sometimes that is the problem but not always. Christ loves us perfectly but many refuse to submit to Him.

As an aside, he said that it really bothered him when in a wedding ceremony he is requested to leave the wife submitting to her husband part out. Last week I heard another preacher comment that if he is requested to leave that part of the ceremony out, he tells the couple to find someone else to marry them.

There is a lot being written lately about the feminization of the church and how women are viewed as being more spiritual and men are viewed as the root of most problems. If we can just get men and boys to act more like women, everything will be better. It’s some of this thinking that has preachers walking on eggshells when it comes telling the truth about certain subjects.

Yes, there are many men who are far from perfect – actually all of them. Yes, many times we have not loved our wives as we should. Still, men need to be men and Scripture has a lot to say about how that plays out.

What bothered me about the sermon is that a quick look in any Bible reference gives the proper definition of submission. We know that to submit to Christ means that He is the Lord of all. We don’t argue or debate with Him, we do what He says. We know that a soldier who submit’s to his superior can’t spin it to mean that we are to mutually serve one another. He knows that he does what he is told.

Here is a definition of submit from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon:
1) to arrange under, to subordinate
2) to subject, put in subjection
3) to subject one’s self, obey
4) to submit to one’s control
5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice
6) to obey, be subject

So we see that Paul had a lot more in mind than that we should just serve each other. I think that verse 21 wraps a context around it. There is a place for submitting to each other. A wise leader gets input from many sources, his wife included. We consult and consider and seek advice but in marriage there is an order that God has established. It’s really the same order that is in all of society. We are to submit to God and to church authorities. Children are to submit to their parents. Employees submit to their bosses. It keeps order and has nothing to do with who is smarter, more spiritual or more pretty.

As the message went on, he skipped the rest of the admonition from verses 23 and 24: For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. That further clarifies what God wanted us to know about this relationship.

Yes I know what Ephesians 5 says next. It’s a strong exhortation of how husbands should treat their wives. It’s something that many husbands, me included, don’t do very well. I agree completely with it and willingly receive rebuke and correction where I fail.

The question I have though is why is it becoming so hard for many pastors to properly speak of things like submission to women? I think it’s a good question to ponder.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Understand What the Master Wants

Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the master wants. Ephesians 5:17 (The Message)

In my morning reading I was challenged to think about what God wants me to understand in this verse. The Message uses carelessly and unthinkingly. Most translations use foolish. I like how The Message does it here. It’s easy to think that I am not foolish, but careless or without thinking brings it much closer to home.

It’s so easy to live a casual life; going through life doing the same thing, going through the motions without giving a lot of thought to what is going on around me.

I can be a very disciplined person. That can be good but sometimes the disciplines of things like Bible reading and prayer end up just being disciplines and are not done with a lot of thought. I usually think it’s better to do them than not do them, at least there is the possibility of God speaking to me. The above verse would challenge me to give more thought to what I am doing; to be present in the moment.

Another thing I get out of this verse related to the unthinking part regards speech. There are many times where my mouth gets ahead of my brain. Words flow out without the filter my brain should give them. The truth though is that the words come from my heart. So on one hand I need to think carefully about what I am going to say and also when I see rotten words flowing I need to let God clean up my heart.

So this is part of what my Master wants. Living carefully and thoughtfully will keep me out of a lot of trouble.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Souter’s Replacement

Obama will soon get the chance to appoint his first Supreme Court justice.

It’s clear what the qualifications will be. Here is what Obama said: “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives.”

If you don’t have a dictionary handy, I will give the definition of what he said. He isn’t looking for someone who respects the Constitution or sees it as the foundation of our laws. He is looking for someone who will legislate from the bench according to the social engineering viewpoint that they share with Obama. A pro-abortion jurist will be essential.

It used to be understood that a requirement of justice is that it be blind. It wasn’t swayed by the person standing before it. What mattered is what the law and Constitution said. That is not what Obama wants. He wants someone who will use the cases before the court to establish an ideological agenda.

The big problem with disrespect for the Constitution is that the foundation is destroyed. We might as well have a king or dictator as the laws will end up being based on the whims of whoever is in charge.