Submit? That sounds like a negative way to start a devotion doesn’t it? Paul isn’t writing just to the Christians in Ephesus, but the whole Church of God by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As he writes likewise to the Philippians in chapter two, we are to treat each other “better” than we treat ourselves. There’s no room for selfishness. We are to serve others more than we serve ourselves, just like Christ does for us. We know this is especially true in a marriage, that’s why Paul goes on in Ephesians chapter five:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
There is without a doubt a God prescribed role for a woman within a Christian marriage. Unfortunately, in our society today that word “submit” has some very negative baggage. It’s not enslavement, it’s following a leadership. What the Lord prescribes for His children is a good thing. Likewise, He has a prescription for a Christian husband, a role that is just as demanding, and in need of His strength and help!
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
Good leadership is hard to find. The Lord expects the husband to be a kindhearted and patient leader for his marriage and family, while looking to his wife for support and strength. The wife looks to her husband for this leadership and supports his role by understanding her own role. The husband looks to Christ and submits to be that sacrificial husband to his wife. This mutual submission to one another is illustrated through Christ’s loving eyes in the next two verses of Ephesians:
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
The reason for these roles for man and woman go back to the Garden of Eden from Genesis chapter two, which Paul quotes in Ephesians chapter five:
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
The Lord expands this directive that is not just for the home, but shows that it applies to His church in the next verse as well:
32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
There are specific roles in the home and in the church for men and women that continue to be under fire today by the world around us. And yet, we see in these roles of men and women Christ detailing the serving roles of our relationship with Him. We lovingly and thankfully submit to the leadership of His Word. While at the same time Jesus has already sacrificed His very life for our eternal joy, and prepares us for the wedding day where we will spend eternal life in our eternal home with Him, forever! (Revelation 21:2