Submission-My First Thoughts

Aaahhh, submission.  The go-to concept when talking to and about women.  It seems that it doesn’t matter what the discussion is about, in regards to women, the topic of submission comes up.  The church has put submission on top of the list of godly character qualities for women, along with not gossiping and embracing modesty.  But just how important is submission?

Is submission biblical? Yes!  We have all been called to mutual submission (Ephesians 5:22-24), but is this really the number one goal for women, as it is taught in the church?

Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1-2. And Colossians 3:18 all speak about submission.  That’s right, 3 out of the 31,102 verses in the Bible talk about submission.  Now, when you take a look at the numbers, all this talk about submission seems a little bit off balance here, doesn’t it?  You can definitely pick any topic that’s covered in the Bible and take it out of context and balance.  (In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s how cults are started.)  You can also take the verses out of context, highlighting only the “rules” for women, disregarding all surrounding words.

If you take a look at these verses on submission, there’s always a corresponding command for husbands, and the husband is actually held to a higher standard!  Submission was never meant to be one sided!  One of these verses is a call to submission to be used as a “witnessing tool” to win over her husband to Christ!  These verses were written to cultures that were female dominated!  These passages on wifely submission are also intertwined with verses that people have previously used to justify slavery!  At least in America, we now see the error in justifying slavery with those verses, but the church is quick to mandate the ones for women, saying that the slavery verses were cultural, and the verses that talk about women were for all women, for all time!

Another common misconception about submission, is that submission means a complete denial of self.  It means a woman no longer has thoughts or ideas or sometimes even personality. This is simply not true!  God created you to be you!  Of course there’s always room for self-improvement, but if you are completely squelching all that you are, that’s the opposite of self-improvement.

Of course, this is not an in depth analysis of each of these verses.  (I do plan to do that later though.) My point to this is to say that the submission of a wife to her husband is NOT the number one character quality of a godly women, as stated in many circles.  Most of the women who have amazingly powerful stories in the Bible would be considered “Jezebels” in most churches today.  They do not appear submissive, in the least.  Yet, they submitted themselves to Christ, and the rest is history.  (If you don’t believe me, check out the stories of Abigail, Jocabed, Hannah, Deborah, Esther, Mary, ect.)  I think we have turned the concept of submission into an unbalanced idol.

I think this concept has been distorted.  I mean, if I go out with my friend, and we are deciding on where to go, and she has a real desire to do a certain thing, or if she is an expert in a certain area, and wants to make a recommendation on what to do, I listen to her.  I’m not submitting to her.  I just love her, and if she has passion about something, I don’t crucify myself and make it known that I’m submitting!  I just care about her and the things that are important to her.  How often this very scenario is used when talking about a husband and wife relationship.

I was thinking about this in my own marriage.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I “submitted” to my husband.  Even recently, we have had some pretty major life decision to make.  We are definitely on opposite sides of a few of them.  He laid out his case, and I laid out mine.  In the end, we ended up going with that he had wanted.  Most would call this submission, but it doesn’t feel like the submission the church has prescribed.  I made the decision to do something that he wanted to do because I love him!  It doesn’t feel like, and is not, anything other than that.  I love him and want the best for him.  If this decision is going to benefit him, I want to make that happen for him.  So, no, I don’t submit to my husband, I just love him.

One last note on submission.  As I was thinking about this, 1 Corinthians 13 came up.  The greatest of these is love.  I believe that LOVE is the perfect; LOVE is the goal, the ideal.  Just like divorce is allowable because of the hardening of hearts, I believe that submission is the 2nd best to God’s perfect will which is just plain love.  If we are truly love: we are filled with Love, embody love, and are being perfected in love, all else will pass away.  No longer will we need to make a conscious effort to submit, but we will just love.

Why Does Biblical Gender Equality Matter?

Most people have an opinion about the value and position or “role” of women in the church.  If you don’t think you have an opinion about it, you probably just took on the position you were raised with, or what you have seen predominantly modeled in your church.  Some people can’t even see why it is an issue.  Others go so far as to say that it is a secondary issue in the church.  A secondary issue?!  If there are no secondary members in the church, then how can there be any secondary issues about the equality of women?  This is not a secondary issue because there are no secondary people groups in the Kingdom!

Does it really matter?  I am here to tell you, YES!  It absolutely matters!  Each person is created in the image of God.  There are attributes that we exhibit that are predominately masculine or feminine.  When Adam was created, he was created in the full image of God.  He contained all of the attributes of God, masculine and feminine.  When God fashioned Eve out of Adams ribs, He extracted the feminine qualities from Adam and placed them in a woman.  Whoa!  This is amazing to me!  That’s a big deal!  That’s so much better than the idea that women were an afterthought because Adam was lonely and needed a housekeeper, a buddy, ehem, I mean helpmate.  Women were part of the original design!

The equality of women matters more than we may see on the surface.  The church has been stunted in growth and maturity because women are not being encouraged and promoted into their callings!  Man and woman together are the full representation of the Father.  That’s why he gave us marriage.  After he extracted the feminine qualities out of Adam and placed them in Eve, God gave the institution of marriage, in which case, the two would become one (again).  This also applies to the church.  The church is to be the representation of Christ on earth.  We bear His image!  What does the church look like if only half of its members (who are relatively similar) are being represented or activated?  It looks like the American church!  We are only functioning at half capacity!  The church is only being represented in its masculine form!  (Have you ever wondered why the church is so justice oriented?  Have you ever wondered where the compassion has gone?  Have you ever wondered where the nurturing/discipleship side of the church is?  I believe these questions are easy to answer when you look at who is allowed to be active in the American church.)

The world needs to see the feminine attributes of the Father exhibited in His church!  The world is longing and begging for that!  When women are allowed and encouraged to step into the callings, this will be not only a gift to the world, but will also develop the church into a more radiant bride!  The winds of change are blowing!  I can see it happening!  The Holy Spirit is releasing freedom and peace to men and women everywhere!  Unity and love is here!

Letter To My Daughters On Biblical Gender Equality

Dear Daughters,
               
                You are so beautiful!  You are so amazing!  I can’t believe that God gave me this many daughters to raise!  I am so blessed by you!  I want nothing more than for you to know God and love Him and let Him wrap you in His arms of love!  There is no higher pursuit.  God fashioned each of you to be a radiant expression of Him!  You certainly are living up to the calling!
                I want you to know that you are free!  You are free from the things that bind you simply because you were born a girl.  The world is getting much better with this!  Globally, we have made so much progress.  You are so blessed to be born in the United States.  Your daddy has sacrificed so much for this freedom you are to wear with confidence.  Unfortunately, the church is where you may run into problems.  In my lifetime, I have seen so much change, and I hope that by the time you are ready to launch, all of the gender constraints will be gone forever!  Don’t ever forget that Jesus paid the price for you!  He set you free from the restrictions that people will try to place on you.  Beware, these debilitating laws can be thrown at you from men and other women.  Most are well-meaning.  These people fall into three categories.  There are people who do not view women as equals and want to keep women down.  There are also those who truly desire to follow God and believe that they are interpreting scripture properly.  The subservient position they take on and command, is out of their desire to follow the Bible.  (Fortunately for us, they got it wrong.)  Thirdly, there are those that blindly follow other’s spiritual dogma.  They make no attempt to read and study the Bible on their own, thereby not utilizing the Holy Spirit in their studies, and blindly following very misled people. 
                I want you to follow the dreams that God has put in your heart!  I want you to know that WHATEVER God has called you to, you are to pursue with an unparalleled passion!  I never want you to reach the end of your days, and wonder why you didn’t do what was in your heart to do.  God has big plans for you, and He longs to use wonderful, amazing girls like you!   Do not listen to others when filtering what God has told you.  Filter His word for your life only through His Word. 
                You have something the church is missing!  You are feminine.  Not only are you feminine, but you are the representation of the feminine attributes of God!  The church and the world need to see you shine!  They have so been missing the physical revelation of this side of Him.  You are strong and gentle, beautiful and lovely, full of love yet prepared to fight, determined, smart, courageous, emotional yet level headed, creative and logical, quiet and loud.  You are woman!
                I don’t want you to have to deal with the same problems that I have had to face.  I want you to always be free.  I never want you to let others hold you back, and I want you to know, you never have to hold yourself back!  Always be cautious because since the Garden of Eden, Satan has waged all-out war on women, trying to lure her into the chains of domination and slavery.  Don’t fall for his schemes!  Jesus set you free from the domination from anyone!  Protect your heart from these attacks.  Be aware of what they look like, and run the other direction.  When you run that direction, you will run right into the arms of your loving Savior.
                I certainly hope that I’ve been able to provide you with wonderful examples to follow.  My goal is to surround you with beautiful women that will help you grow, women that excel in every area.  I hope you have seen gifted wives, singles, mothers, teachers, singers, leaders, dancers, preachers, evangelists, apostles, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and senators.  Any of this can be yours!  Instead of spending years trying to figure out if you are “allowed” to do these things, I want you to spend that time investing into becoming who you are going to be! 

                Be empowered!  Be free!  Be love to the world!  Be courage for the weak!  Be a woman that frees other captives!  Be all that God has called you to be!  He designed you with a specific purpose in mind that only you can fill!  Go and fly!
Love,
Mom

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