Sunday night was an exciting evening. Why? I found out right before I left for church that I was going to need to teach. I’ve had several of my leaders teach Sunday nights for me. I try to have someone else teaching on the second Sunday of each month. This weekend was to be Dan Sherman’s lesson, but he got very sick and was unable to. So, without studying, I got to teach on marriage. To be fair, I’ve been a student of good marriages my whole life. My parents’ marriage is great. My dad taught me how to be a good husband. My marriage is wonderful. It is one thing I do really well, and we’ve been crazy in love for a long time. We’re doing it right. So I’ve studied, but I didn’t study to teach.
Now, why would I be teaching on marriage at youth group? Marriage is a wonderful gift that is all over the Bible; it is a picture of our relationship with God; and it can really enhance or ruin a life, depending on how it is done. The kids are not getting married shortly, but many of them hope to some day. It’s important to see what good relationships look like, because it has practical application in dating life. Good dating relationships can lead to good marriages. Treating your significant other poorly throughout your dating relationship will not lead to a good marriage. Of course, there are exceptions, but those are generally good rules.
Your next good question might be, “What does this have to do with beauty and the value of women?” That is a good question. We looked first at Genesis 2 and Adam’s reaction to Eve. He was excited, because this was awesome! Adam immediately knew the value of Eve. We established quickly and Biblically the definition and formula for marriage and headed right to Ephesians 5, so we could define properly the roles of each spouse.
Men have traditionally loved Ephesians 5, because it uses the s word. Yes, that word: submit. I have heard Ephesians 5:22-24 a lot more than I have the next verses. The next verses command the husband to love his wife, though, like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Here are a few quick facts about Jesus’ leadership of the church:
- He was a servant leader (Philippians 2, John 13).
- He gave all He had (John 19, or the whole of the Gospels and several other references throughout the NT).
- He didn’t force anyone to follow Him (see Peter, Judas, the Pharisees, or us many times).
- He loved us first with a love so compelling that we love Him in return (that’s the whole Bible. I’ll give you a year to read it.).
So what does submission look like in our relationship with Jesus? Well, I know for me, I follow Jesus and submit to His will, because I know He loves me, and I trust that He has my best interest at heart. I see what He has done for me, and I can’t not love Him. His love is proactive; my love is reactive. I submit to Him, because His love compels me to. Then what should submission look like in marriage? I think it’s my job, as a husband, to love Sarah and always put her best interest first. I believe it is my job to serve her, to give to her, and to show my love for her in a manner so compelling that she cannot help but love me and follow me. If I never have any intention of leading her somewhere that will be bad for her and only good for me, she will not have trouble submitting or following. Submission has nothing to do with my wife serving me or obeying my bully commandments. According to 1 Corinthians 13, if I love her, that’s not how I’m going to roll, anyway. It has to do with following my lead as I follow Christ’s lead.
The obvious problem lies in people not reading Ephesians 5:21 before they get to Ephesians 5:22. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” So it is the wife’s job to submit, but the husband’s supposed to be doing that, too.