I grew up as the only girl in a family of five children. Yep – sandwiched between four brothers; two older and two younger. Add to that the gender views and roles that shaped my parents – my Dad as the provider and my Mom as a housewife – and you might understand how I came to see myself as a Christian feminist.
I say a Christian feminist because, 1) I believe in the Bible’s account of man and woman being created with physiological, psychological, and role differences and, 2) those differences being equal in value and necessity. Culture has always defined submission based on inferiority and dominance. So you can imagine how the word “submit” has always made my body hairs and nostrils flare, especially when used by “Christian” men to refer to a woman's “place.”
I approached Week One ’s devotional, “Pattern your love after Christ and His church” from the book, Becoming a Professional Lover, with slight apprehension because of that whole submission thing. But as I began to study, I discovered that – ladies, we’ve been sold a fake bill of goods.
Ephesians 5:22-24 and 1 Peter 3:1, 5 & 6 clearly define God’s view of what it means for a wife to submit to her husband (use several translations to get the whole picture). In summary, God’s view of submission is:
• To understand, respect, honor, and support the responsibility and accountability of a husband’s God-appointed position as protector and leader of the family; and
• To work with the husband as a partner, adapting to him and being responsive to his needs.
In the same passages, you will discover that God’s view of submission is not:
• Women to men in general (What??!!). It's wives to husbands;
• Done out of fear or intimidation as being inferior; or
• Being led into sin or harm.
God’s view of submission runs completely counter to what all cultures demonstrate. Submission forced by supposed and imposed dominance and abuse of authority and power is not godly. And submission of all women to all men just because of gender differences is not God ordained.
When you also read about the type of husband that God expects, for a wife to submit to (Ephesians 5:25-33 and 1 Peter 3:7), submission becomes a willing act of trust and safety. That concept does not fill me with disdain or contempt. It actually takes the word “submit” out of the gutter, cleans off the dirt, and restores it to its original luster.
So, with God’s view of submission, to a God-like husband - count me all in.