For God’s will to be done on earth, His people here on earth MUST mirror the patterns of the things in heaven. ‘Thy will be done on earth AS it is in heaven…” – for it is a PATTERN. And PATTERNS are very important in spiritual matters.
In the assignment given to Moses, God admonished him again and again, “… See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the PATTERN SHEWED TO THEE IN THE MOUNT.” (Hebrews 8:5). And faithfully, Moses did so. Until he was provoked at the water of Meribah (Numbers 20:7-12). He broke a pattern. And as a consequence of that, his feet did not enter the physical Promised Land. He saw it from afar, but he could not enter.
This is very sad, particularly when we consider that this is the same man that had successfully interceded again and again for the rebellious nation of Israel, and God hearkened to his voice. But in his own case, no intercession could work for him – for a crucial PATTERN had been broken. Please meditate on the severity of God’s response to Moses in Deuteronomy 3:23-27, particularly these words in verse 26, “…and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; SPEAK NO MORE unto me of this matter.” The finality of God’s rejection of Moses’ plea is very, very sobering.
I have used this example, not to insinuate that God will not forgive us our transgressions, but to highlight the level of strategic importance that Heaven places on divine PATTERNS in relation to God’s will being done on earth. When God reveals divine patterns, it is so that they can be followed to accomplish His purpose on earth.
In our days, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a crucial pattern that the Lord has given us to follow in the smallest unit of the society – the family unit. For when family units are whole and functional, the larger society will be whole and functional. A dysfunctional society is a function of dysfunctional homes. And so, there is a divine PATTERN that God has given to His own children to follow.
Interestingly, this is a pattern that we see clearly in the relationship between God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, in relation to the salvation of mankind. From Scriptures, we know that both are co-eternal and co-equal. In fact this equality is so complete that they are One, and they function as ONE UNIT. But in the matter of our salvation, we see that again and again, Jesus spoke of SUBMITTING to the Father. He came to do the Father’s will. He did nothing of His own accord – only what He saw the Father doing. His whole life revolved around not doing His own will, but the will of the Father – it was as if He had no life of His own! For the purpose of clarity, we can look at the submission of Christ in three categories:
HIS SUBMISSION WAS TOTAL: Jesus “… did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant….” (Philippians 2:6-7). And it was for this that, “…God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (verse 9). So for submission to be effective and rewarding, it must be total. IT IS A PATTERN.
HIS SUBMISSION WAS VOLUNTARY: In the context of God the Father and God the Son, submission was COMPLETELY voluntary. Submission means ‘to YIELD ONESELF to the power or authority of another’. Thus, submission that is not voluntary is no submission at all. Jesus said in John 10:17-18, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life …. No man taketh it from me, BUT I LAY IT DOWN OF MYSELF.” So, submission MUST be voluntary. IT IS A PATTERN.
HIS SUBMISSION WAS COSTLY: Submission comes at a cost: suffering. To do the will of the Father, Jesus suffered. He suffered humiliation and endured undeserved pain. As a matter of fact, His submission to the will of the Father cost Him His life. And even at the very tail end of His life, He was tempted to exercise His personal will (and avoid the cross). But, again, He CHOSE to submit to the will of the Father; and He paid for that choice with His life. So, submission is costly. IT IS A PATTERN.
Now, let us go on to the application of this PATTERN to the 21st century believer in Christ Jesus. Just as Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father through submission, there is a divine imperative upon ALL His followers to do the same. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps….” (1 Peter 2:21). For every Christian, suffering is a calling.
In breaking down the implication of this imperative in 1 Peter chapters 2 and 3, Apostle Peter used the word ‘LIKEWISE’ to emphasise the fact that the walk of the believer must mirror the PATTERN set by Jesus – even if it involves suffering. And, in most cases, it does involve suffering.
And it is both interesting and significant that Apostle Peter, in extending the application of this DIVINE PATTERN starts, FIRST and FOREMOST, with wives (1 Peter 3:1). For primarily, he had in view, the home as the smallest unit of society. It stands to reason that the manifestation of the reign of Christ in the world must start from the Christian home. This is what accentuates the significance of the Apostle’s action in addressing the wife FIRST. And, there is a good reason for this also, as we will see shortly.
In the task of building a home, the woman is God’s appointed partner. “Every wise woman buildeth her house….” (Proverbs 14:1). In Titus 2:5, Apostle Paul instructs them to be ‘keepers at home’. Primarily, and generally speaking, men do not build homes – they are just designed to lead homes. And herein, the wise will immediately see the potential for a conflict! One builds, another leads. The builder is not the leader! This is the mystery of God’s way, and contrary to any opinion that we may have, it is a higher way. “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)
Every man and woman that choose to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, MUST also choose to follow His examples and His way; for He indeed called Himself THE WAY. Only a few will indeed follow this challenging, narrow path (Matthew 7:14). But many will stumble, and find themselves on the broad way.
In mirroring the heavenly pattern of the Son submitting to the Father, God’s instruction (not a recommendation) for the Christian home is that the wives SHOULD submit to the husband in everything (Ephesians 5:24). This INSTRUCTION is given by God, not as a punishment for wives (for Christians are redeemed and forgiven), not as a subjugation of womanhood (for we have been made free in Christ), but it is given just for what it is – A DIVINE PATTERN. Period.
And when this pattern is faithfully followed, God has a MAN-WOMAN TEAM on earth that He can truly use, and to whom He can truly commit Himself, and His will, for our world. Please note the operative word – TEAM. It is a team effort. A team that is fit for purpose because it is built according to the divine PATTERN that reflects the Father-Son relationship. And the starting point, according to 1 Peter 3:1, is a submissive wife. For a submissive wife is the crown of her husband. “A virtuous woman is a CROWN to her husband….” (Proverbs 12:4). The husband is indeed the head of the family unit, BUT the wife is the JEWEL CROWN! (Friends, do you see the wisdom of God here?)
A head without a crown does not portray the full picture of kingship. The crown makes all the difference! This is one of the key reasons that a stable marriage and home is a KEY requirement of leadership in the Church of God (1 Timothy 3:4-5).
As a head without a crown is un-kingly, so also a crown without a head CANNOT reign. It takes the UNITY of the head and the crown for kingship (and reigning) to be established. And the trigger point of this UNITY is the submission of the wife. It is a messianic role. And it is in this respect that the life of a woman most significantly mirrors the role of Jesus Christ as Messiah – the One who CHOSE to submit to the Father so that mankind may be saved.
As the power of Jesus, and His enthronement, came through his taking the form of a servant (submission) – Philippians 2:6-11, SO ALSO will the spiritual relevance and significance of a woman lie in her VOLUNTARY willingness to cast aside her equality with man (Galatians 3:28), and to VOLUNTARILY take the route of a ‘servant’ (submission) to fulfil the will of the Father.
For that is the true nature of submission – it is given VOLUNTARILY – it is NEVER coerced. A coerced submission is NOT submission – it is SUBJUGATION. There is a world of difference between a SUBMISSIVE wife and a SUBJUGATED wife. The latter has no spiritual value in our context, for Christ said, “No man taketh my life, I LAY IT DOWN”. It was Jesus’ choice to lay it down. And it MUST be her choice.
(This should send a serious note of caution to all husbands that coerce, beat, bully, intimidate, or even ‘bribe’ their wives into ‘submission’. It is a COMPLETELY UNPROFITABLE VENTURE. And for which you will still one day give account! Submission is a heart matter. And it is ENTIRELY by choice and free-will.)
This is God’s way of setting women completely FREE to become what they CHOOSE to be. God set them FREE to become king-makers in the journey of destiny. But as satan deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, so is he today deceiving the modern woman that she also can be king herself! That she is not TRULY free (or fulfilled) until she becomes equal to a man. And sadly, many women are eating this glittering apple, oblivious to the fact that it is full of worms and death.
Women, please, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” by returning to the Garden of Eden and the deception of satan! (Galatians 5:1 modified). Satan’s promise of ‘freedom’ is a trick to put you in bondage. He whom the Son of Man has set free is free indeed (John 8:36). You are free as a moral agent to choose God’s way or satan’s way.
As written earlier in the example of Jesus, submission is neither easy nor cheap. Remember that the submission of Jesus was TOTAL, COSTLY, and VOLUNTARY. Your submission will most likely contain these elements too. It could be degrading. It could be demeaning. It could be humiliating. But Christ has left us an example that we should follow His path. In the earlier article, we wrote about the need for the 21st century Christian woman to earnestly PURSUE the attitude of a ‘meek and quiet spirit’. This is where the relevance comes in. Without a meek and quiet spirit, it will be difficult for a wife to TRULY submit to her husband, and it will be difficult to have a godly marriage and home.
Submitting to your husband does not simply mean allowing him to have the final responsibility in taking key decisions that affect the family. It is much deeper, and placed on a very high pedestal – “… AS UNTO THE LORD…” (Ephesians 5:22). Verse 24 is even more helpful, “… as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”. Please ask this question, how is the Church subject to Christ? That is the same way the Lord wants you to be subject to your husband – in respect, honour, reverence, deference, etc. Challenging! But that is what the Bible says. ONLY GOD CAN EMPOWER WIVES TO FULFIL THIS ROLE. (Pls note, however, that submission does NOT entail co-operating with your husband to commit sin. That is a line that must not be crossed!)
Your submission to him is NOT dependent on his person, his income, his status, how much he loves you, etc. Your submission is 100% dependent on WHAT GOD SAYS. This is why women should depend on God before saying ‘YES’ to any man’s marriage proposal. Once you say ‘YES’, and follow a man to the altar, you have forever GIVEN UP CONTROL to that man. FOREVER! So, please do not be in any ungodly haste to get married! Please DO NOT marry an unbeliever – you dare not put a crown jewel on a spiritually dead head!!! (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
Finally, let’s bring it home. As a Christian woman, do you want to be relevant in God’s end-time agenda for the second coming of Jesus Christ? Do you want to be a vessel of honour in the salvation of mankind? As Jesus did in Philippians 2:6-8, please cast aside your divine right and put on the garb of submission. For by so doing, you are reflecting a lofty DIVINE PATTERN – God’s ultimate pattern for the salvation of mankind. Do you want to walk with Jesus in this way? The ball is entirely in your court.
Thanks for reading, God bless.
(1) WIVES: This article does not encourage any woman to bear with any level of physical abuse. In all such cases, women should seek immediate help – even if it involves temporary/permanent separation – BUT ONLY as led by the Spirit of God. God NEVER intended ANY woman to become ANY man’s punching bag. You are The King’s daughter. It is important to remember this.
(2) HUSBANDS: God’s demand upon another full human being to place her life at your disposal is a HUGE responsibility. GREAT is the responsibility, and GREAT will be the accountability! Just as there is a ‘LIKEWISE’ in the suffering of Jesus that is directed at women in 1 Peter 3:1, SO ALSO there is a ‘LIKEWISE’ in the suffering of Jesus directed to you too in 1 Peter 3:7. Without fail or excuse, you are to dwell with her according to knowledge (verse 7). You are to honour her (verse 7). You are to love her as Christ loves the Church so much that He died for her (Ephesians 5:25)
If you do not fulfil your role, one day, sooner or later, you will encounter God as the Eternal Defender of the rights of a wife. Malachi 2:13-16 and 1 Peter 3:7 (that your prayers be not hindered) are very serious sanctions that show that an offender can NEVER fulfil his destiny! (How can you fulfil your destiny when it is God Himself that is resisting your prayers? At your altar of prayer, your conduct to your wife is an ACCESS OR DENIAL POINT. Both the Old and the New Testaments affirm this unequivocally). No wonder the Bible says, “He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28). Maltreating your wife is the greatest evidence that you HATE yourself! The more you make it difficult for your wife to submit to you, the more you are HURTING your team, and God’s purpose for your team. And as the captain of the team, you are more accountable to God. As your wife submits to you, you are obliged to serve her in love. You are to lead your home, not to govern it.
Your destiny lies SQUARELY in your wife’s hands, for only she can complete you. You cannot coerce your wife into submission, you can only continue to pray for her until she stands perfect in the will and purpose of God for her life. Divorce is NOT an option with God (Malachi 2:16, Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Pray and BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL before you propose to any woman. “… BEAUTY IS VAIN: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30). A foolish man marries a woman, but a wise man marries a WIFE. It is the man that finds a WIFE that obtains favour from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22), not the one that finds a woman. BE WISE!
(3) UNMARRIED WOMEN: If you are walking in the will of God, and He does not bring a life partner your way, or if He causes you to become widowed and does not bring another man, it is ONLY because He has a HIGHER PURPOSE for your life than being a crown jewel to a man as described here. Please find that HIGHER PURPOSE and pursue it with all your heart, giving glory to His holy name.
In the scheme of God, more are the children of the desolate than the married (Isaiah 54:1). God will ONLY withhold something good from you, when He has something BETTER in mind for you. What does God have in mind for you that is better than a husband? It will be different things to different women. Please seek His face, get understanding, and pursue this HIGHER CALLING. (As you remain faithful, if a husband is in His plan for your life, He will bring him at the appointed time. If not, rejoice in your HIGHER CALLING. Apostle Paul was unmarried and He laboured more for the Lord than all the others. It is a privilege, not a punishment or a curse).
By Church Watch in Nigeria.