Thursday, October 25, 2012

HUSBANDS AND WIVES: Wives [Pt. 2 of 3]

Here is the main reference Scripture (1 Peter 3:1-7) again.

Wives and Husbands1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Let us turn our attention to the wives and what they can contribute to a wonderful marriage - according to Scripture.

1 Peter 3:1 in the King James Version says, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;"

Now before husbands and wives alike get "bent-all-out-of-shape" about the word "subjection" in this verse - a timeout desperately needs to be called.  The original Greek word for "subjection" here is hupotasso.  It is a combination of two words - hupo, meaning under and tasso, meaning to place something in the proper order.  God is the one who created the order of everything seen and unseen, man then woman, and the order of authority in the home.  Many times within the relationship the husband distorts the God-given authority of the marriage and dismantles the order and destroys the relationship by abusing this right.  "...it's important to understand that when Peter commands a woman to be in subjection to her own husband, he is not recommending that she become a 'doormat' whom the husband takes advantage of.  Rather, Peter is urging each wife to take her place as her husband's chief supporter and helper." (Renner, p. 741, Sparkling Gems From The Greek)

At other times the wife has the issue.  She is nagging, micro-managing everything, and critical, therefore forcing her husband to retreat and build walls around himself (emotionally speaking) or causing him to bite back at every instance of negativity.  "..it is very interesting to note that nowhere in the New Testament are women directly commanded to love their husbands.  Instead, wives are told to be 'in subjection' to their husbands.  Why is this?  Because a husband perceives his wife's love when he senses her support.  
Nothing communicates a wife's love to her husband better than a supportive attitude." (Renner, p.741)  Wives are you getting the point?  We need your support within the order given by God for the authority of the home.  And we can tell when you are faking it!  There are two paths wives seem to take here:  they submit outwardly but rebel inwardly or they wholeheartedly understand and exude the proper relationship and supportive attitude.

Wives, are you preaching and teaching so much to your husband that your "preachiness" not only is pushing your husband away, but does not allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity for a one-on-one with him?  Although the following Scripture is referring to a unbelieving husband, believing husbands can be ministered by this method also.  The Scripture instructs wives to win over their husbands by the quality of their lives.  Concerning this, verses 1 and 2 say, "...if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."  The word "won" in the first verse is the Greek word kerdeo, which means to act cleverly or play the game correctly.  The song by Kenny Rogers comes to mind - The Gambler - "You got to know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em, know when to walk away and know when to run..."  And that is the mentality here - playing your cards right without saying a word.  The King James Version of this verse is rendered - "...if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;".  The "conversation" mentioned here is NOT what we think of or at least I think of right off the bat - talking between people.  The original Greek word for "conversation" is anastrophe, which speaks to how a person behaves on a daily basis in every circumstance.  Ladies I humbly and gently encourage you - if you are a wife that is in this category (preachy) please consider letting your actions speak louder than words.

 One of the titles of Rick Renner's Gems is "Is God Against Cosmetics?"  The part of the passage above he was referring to is verses 3 and 4 - 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.  Here it is a matter of worth and in whose eyes or perspective you view.  In God's sight the greater worth is the "inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit".  To me the words bridled and calm replace "gentle" and "quiet". In the KJV it is "meek" and "quiet". "...when Peter writes about a "meek and quiet spirit," he is paying the highest compliment to wives who fit this description.  These wives are so strong in spirit that they are able to refrain from outbursts of anger and thus are able to become a calming force in a variety of difficult situations. Considering the many opportunities wives have to get shaken or upset by the affairs of life, it is very commendable when a wife is so strong, so consistent, and so stable in the home that she consistently 'steadies the ship' and helps keep peace in every situation." (Renner, p. 754)
So, is God against cosmetics - no.  However, it should not be your identity or focus in life.  There is a saying, If the barn (face) needs painting then paint it.  I would add, but don't make it a "Golden Calf" (idol) in your life.  "In essence, he was saying, 'Ladies, it's all right to do what you can to look outwardly beautiful.  However, don't forget that the most important emphasis and the place to invest most of your time should be in the beautifying of the hidden man of the heart." (p.748, Renner)
"God isn't against your desire to work on your outward appearance; however, he wants you to spend at least an equal amount of time developing and beautifying your spirit." (p.749, Renner)

Lastly, this passage holds up Sarah, Abraham's wife, as a model to examine.  She was considered a holy woman who put her hope in God to make her beautiful, was submissive to her husband, obeyed Abraham, and called him "Master" (husbands I don't suggest you request this one from your wife).  She was a wife of integrity and did not live a fearful life.  Wives, I encourage you to be who God called you to be with a little dash of Sarah thrown in.