Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
April 2, 2000
Last Updated :
March 29, 2011
Wives Are To Submit To Their Husbands, Honoring A Husband's Decisions, When Christian Couples Aren't In Agreement, Faith Patience And Trusting In The Lord While Awaiting The Outcome, Solution Is In United Prayer And Finding God's Highest Will Together, Test Of Love, Faith, Patience Respect And Humility, Verses Regarding Trusting The Lord, Accepting The Challenge Of Home Fellowships, Churchianity vs Christianity, Essence Of Being A True Christian, First Century Evangelists, Poultry Farms Chickens And Christians, The Church Is Bride Of Christ, We Are Branches On The Lord's Vine, Bearing Spiritual Fruit, When We Fail To Bear Fruit, Parallel Between Physical Sexual Union And Spiritual Unity With Christ, Take Up The Challenge
As hard as it may be on a woman's pride, God made her to be a helpmeet to her husband. He made her to be in subjection to her husband. As the previous verses make clear, this does not mean that God made men to be tyrants over their wives. They are to love and respect their wives, just as Christ loves His Church; but in matters of decision-making, the man is to have the final word, regardless of whether or not his wife agrees with his decision. This is particularly true when the husband is an individual who knows and fears the Lord. If the husband in this case were a reprobate, and a person who does not know the Lord, or who perhaps even fights against the Lord, or who is an abusive tyrant, then perhaps this situation would be dealt with in a different manner; however, that is not the case here. We are discussing a Christian couple who has known the Lord for many years. Because of this fact, this woman is bound by God's Word to respect and obey her husband. That is the Biblical pattern.
So what are this woman's alternatives? What can she do while still remaining within the bounds of God's Word and honoring her husband's decision?
First of all, let me state plainly that I am not saying that she has to agree with her husband's belief that the leader of their church is one fine pastor. If three quarters of their original congregation has indeed left the church since this individual became the church's elder, then I am inclined to agree with her that something is seriously wrong somewhere. Exactly what that might be I honestly do not know, because I am not in their situation; nevertheless, while she may not agree with her husband's perspective, she must submit to him as long as she remains with him.
At the same time, if she is that convinced in her heart that this pastor is not worthy of his position, then my suggestion to her is that she earnestly pray to the Lord, and ask Him to open the eyes of her husband, so that he'll likewise see the truth of the matter, and make the appropriate decision. While this may not be easy for her to do, there are really no other alternatives as far as I can tell, and it will require both faith and patience on her part. In fact, it may very well be that the Lord is trying to use this situation to teach her important lessons regarding faith, patience and trusting in Him.
Ultimately, I believe that united prayer, and finding God's Will, is really the key to this couple's situation. Instead of yielding to their pride and frustration and firing heated answers at each other which may be both hurtful and damaging, this man and woman each need to forsake their pride, forsake what they each want to do, and find out what the Lord wants them both to do together, and not apart. They need to seek to find out not what is pleasing in their own eyes, but rather what is pleasing in the Lord's eyes. They need to seek His Highest Will, and not their own. They need to earnestly seek to strengthen the spiritual unity in their relationship, lest the situation really begins to fall apart.
While this process is ongoing, this woman is still obligated by God's Word to submit to her husband. Obviously, I realize that this is by no means an easy thing to do. To submit to someone when you really disagree with them in your heart can really test one's love, faith and patience; and in the case of a husband-wife relationship such as this, it can severely test mutual respect as well. It is simply hard to respect someone when you strongly disagree with something that they are doing. To take this a step further, such a situation can also be a real test of humility, and dying to oneself. It is at times like these that we must throw ourselves utterly on the Lord, and trust that He knows what He is doing; even if we don't. Consider the following verses:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28, KJV
"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Psalms 55:22, KJV
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
In this particular case, we can hope and pray that either this husband will come to understand the truth regarding this pastor, and thus decide that it is time to leave this particular church, or else that the Lord will find a way to simply remove this individual from his position of spiritual authority, and provide the congregation with a more worthy, Spirit-led shepherd.
At the same time, I believe that this dear woman needs to seriously consider the challenge which I have presented in this series -- that is, to begin a fellowship in their home -- and to challenge her husband with the same. As I explain in such articles as "Are You Just A Baby Huey?", my personal impression is that in the United States of America -- and perhaps in other countries as well -- many people hold the erroneous view that the end-all of being a Christian, is to simply accept Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Saviour, and then to spend the remainder of one's life faithfully and obediently attending local church services on weekends, and perhaps on a few other holy days as well.
My friends, this is not what the Bible teaches by any means. What I have just described for you is simply churchianity; it isn't true Bible-based Christianity. The aforementioned idea is similar to a grapevine producing luscious grapes, and then leaving those grapes on the vine to slowly rot, when they are supposed to be eaten or used to produce raisins, wine or some other food product. Being as I amply discuss this subject in other articles, such as "The Parable Of The Sower: Salvation And Service", I will not go into great detail here.
Allow me to simply state that during the First Century when our faith was born, becoming a true Disciple of Jesus Christ meant adopting the life of an evangelist, and going out on the road in order to win other souls to the Kingdom of God. It was a hard, danger-filled life which often required a lot of personal sacrifice, but it was also a very rewarding life, particularly in the eternal sense. Christianity was a living, growing faith. It was not the dead, rotten, self-satisfied, lethargic faith that we see today in so many modern churches.
Many Christians today remind of chickens that are maintained in small cages on poultry and dairy farms. As you may know, they can barely move around, and are stuffed with feed until they are ready for the slaughter. In similar fashion, people today are so stuffed with the Word of God, that many of them are either sick of hearing it, or else they have heard it for so long, that they have totally hardened themselves to its Eternal Truths, and in many cases, have become totally immune to its effects on their lives.
As I explain in the aforementioned article, God's Word is a precious seed, and it is meant to be planted liberally, so that it will produce abundant fruit -- or saved souls -- for the Kingdom of God. God is in a constant war against Satan, to win as many souls to His Kingdom as He possibly can; and He is using us -- His weak, human vehicles -- to accomplish this task. As I discuss in "Once Upon A Time: A True Story", God expects us -- His Bride, the Church -- to bear spiritual fruit for His Kingdom. It is for this very reason that both Jesus and Paul spoke in the following allegorical manner:
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing . . . Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples . . . Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:4-5, 8, 16, KJV
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
Romans 7:4, KJV
If we are not in some way producing spiritual fruit in our lives, by winning others to Christ, or by helping to feed and nurture those who have already come to Christ, then we are simply dead branches on the Lord's vine; and Jesus said that such unfruitful branches will be cast into the fire, as we see by these verses:
"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit . . . If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
John 15:2, 6, KJV
Just as a man and a woman cannot bear physical fruit -- in other words, children in their lives -- unless they engage in physical sexual union, in similar fashion, neither can we Christians bear spiritual fruit in our lives -- or souls won to God's Kingdom -- if we are not in unity with the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and obeying His Will. As shocking as that may seem to some conservative Christians, that is the plain truth of the Scriptures, as is clearly exemplified by the previous verses.
So this is the challenge that I am presenting to you today concerning organized religion, churchianity, Christianity and home fellowships. If you are not happy or satisfied in the church in which you currently find yourself; if you feel that your spiritual life has become stagnated; or honestly believe that your current situation is holding you back from becoming a more fruitful branch for the Lord, then why don't you do something about it? Either join a church that is more active and productive for the Lord, or better yet, if you have the faith, the vision and the motivation, start a local fellowship in your own home. Get back on fire for the Lord! Be a burning ember for Jesus Christ! Don't be an overgrown, spiritually-retarded Baby Huey, or a fat chicken in a cage! Bear fruit for the Kingdom of God! What do you say? He is more than willing; are you? Churchianity or Christianity; which do you practice?