I’m proud to announce (and host) this first guest post by a dear friend of mine, miss Leslie Sallee of Fort Worth, Texas. I asked her to write about the Church’s submission to Christ from a single woman’s perspective… so here it is – enjoy.
Marriage is something I’ve wanted my whole life. No, there’s no binder in my room documenting every detail of my future wedding but if one of my relationships ever got past 3 months, it was difficult not to flip through wedding magazines at the news stand. Being married meant that someone would love me, make me feel beautiful, appreciated, and superior to everyone else around me. Who needs preparation for that?! Isn’t it just supposed to happen? What God made painfully obvious in my life over the past few years, was that was only a symptom of the state of my heart. Honestly, I thought that preparing to be a bride required little on my part. The guy has the responsibility of leading, so if I don’t follow him or I if I screw up then ultimately, the blame can be placed on him for not being a good enough leader—it’s not really my fault. Well, I would never say that out loud but that was the posture of my heart…and from conversations and off-hand comments by some married and unmarried women in my community, it has been or is a prevalent attitude. Think about the effects of that attitude, though. Think hard. What does that say about what’s truly in a woman’s heart?
Ok, let’s start with the word submission. Yes, yes—I can see the eye rolls and hear the groans signaling you’re about to throw counter punches. Or maybe you think you’ve got this part covered and I’m just preaching to myself (I am always preaching this to myself, by the way). But just consider this. Submission colors every part of the church’s existence and it should be the most beautiful garment that a bride-in-preparation wears. Please don’t think I’m saying a woman should submit to every male in her life. The Bible never says that. According to Ephesians 5 and 6, we submit to our own husbands as to the Lord, our parents, and our employers. Of course, this all comes with the disclaimer that these authorities aren’t asking us to contradict the commands of Christ. Our highest authority, and all-consuming point of submission is Christ.
As I wait and pray in expectation of a God-honoring, God-reflecting marriage, submission spreads to every point of my life and relationships. Do I submit to Christ as my Lord, my love? Do I submit to my husband, despite not knowing him yet, as my lover and leader? Think about who or what takes precedence over Christ—over your not-yet-revealed husband. In my own life, this has included dreams of a job or a certain style of living. Most often it has manifested itself (and still does at times) as a guy. Sometimes this guy is a real guy and sometimes he is the image of the “perfect” guy in my head. When you come down to it, these are idols—they are anything put above God. What, or who, are you giving things up for other than Christ and a life with the husband he appoints? Here’s another example: Gomer in Hosea 1-3. She married Hosea but soon after, left and followed her other lovers. Just like Israel, like the Church, she had not submitted her desires to be for her husband alone and hadn’t done away with her idols. So what, don’t fall in love? Not at all! Fall in love with Christ. Fall in love with your husband. Know what attributes make a godly man and save your emotions for him (read about a godly man’s attributes in Nathan’s earlier posts). Keep yourself pure physically and emotionally. Avoid the emotional entanglements of friends with benefits, infatuations, the hot-brooding-guy-who-can’t-make-up-his-mind,…you get the picture. Emotional entanglements can become habits and lead to fear, wandering eyes, and mistrust. Practice purity in all its forms, ask forgiveness, and follow Christ’s leading.
So practically, what does practicing submission look like in everyday interactions? First, let me clarify that it’s not being a doormat or never speaking up during a conversation. Submission involves the laying down of your own wants, self-seeking glory, and pointing others to Christ lovingly. Practice submission in conversation by encouraging the men in your life. Encourage them to seek God harder by asking challenging questions. Let them plan events or outings while offering to serve for part of it. Ask their opinions without mocking or blowing them off if they say something you don’t like. This prepares you to be the helper God has called you to be and helps men by learning to lead, think, and seek God with the loving support of Christian sisters. Don’t forget to serve. That is so important! If you don’t know how to or who to serve, just look around. Ask somebody. Nurseries, shelters, schools, churches, your friends—pray that God would make you aware of the needs around you. Sometimes all it is, is being a listening ear. The Proverbs 31 woman embodied this and more. She was brilliant and all the while brought honor to her husband and children. She served, created, dealt, comforted, and provided for those in her sphere. Jesus can be glorified now and my future husband honored through the submission of my will to Christ’s commands.
One more thing—submission is trust for something beyond yourself that you can’t see right away. Trust in God’s time of preparation. As he “allure[d] her, and [brought] her into the wilderness” to purify and save her (Hosea 2:14-15), allow God to purify you of idols, mistrust, and selfishness. Pray for your future husband to be taught and brought under God’s glorifying purpose as Jesus was brought under God the Father’s in Gethsemane. Pray that this time of preparation opens your eyes and draws your heart to a man of godly character. Practice submission and serving now to better support and encourage your husband in God’s leading for both of your lives.