"Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." - Colossians 3:18 NIV
Last thing anyone needs is one more man telling women how to conduct themselves, right? So I promise I won't. Instead, let me ask you to consider something that stood out to me in today's passage.
Almost everything we say requires some kind of qualification or clarification. This is how we grow in understanding. It's also what staves off miscommunication and the problems that come from it. Using today's passage as our example if I said "wives submit to your husbands" full stop, then questions would and should abound. Questions like: What does submit mean? To what extent? What if he asks me to do something that he shouldn't? What if he is an unbeliever? And these are all valid questions.
However, when we clarify Paul's words, "wives submit to your husbands" with "as is fitting in the Lord" things truly begin to change. What if Paul were saying that wives, in whatever is fitting in the Lord, should then submit to their husband's? Well now, that's a totally different statement. That effectively says, that God, not man is the true sovereign.
This, I believe, is Paul's actual point. When weighed against the rest of scripture we can see that each of us are to submit to certain determined authorities; but we do so with the qualifier that obedience to God is always first. Just like our responsibility to submit to earthly governments; we do so in so much as that they don't violate God's commands.
Can we or should we submit in some cases so as to show those around us the love of Jesus Christ? Yes, of course, we should. (See 1 Peter 3:1-2 and Matthew 5:41) But I believe the Biblical pattern is that God is first and that man comes second.
I believe anyone with authority over another person ought to exercise such authority under the clear knowledge that they are answerable to God in all that they say, do, command and suggest. It is also my firm belief that husbands who lead in Godliness display for their wives, the true love and protection of God!
As I lead my family my desire is to first obey God and then to lead from that place. If I'm ever off I want my wife to say to me, "that's not fitting in the Lord."
Questions to Consider:
How can you as a husband or wife grow from this understanding of Colossians 3:18?
Husbands, have you always lead well in the past? Have you always lead in ways "fitting of the Lord"?
Wives, when your husband does lead with Godly ideals, do you submit? If not, why do you think that is?