Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Story of Submission

Women need to understand this story in order to understand submission, which is why I'm sharing it with you...
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1
That passage is the belief that begins all other beliefs. If I believe God created the heavens and the earth than I cannot ignore the rest of His Word from Genesis 1:2 through Revelation. God has a perfect plan in mind and yes, I believe, submission is part of His perfect plan.

Here's the story of submission:

After God had created the heavens and the earth and all the living things in it (Genesis 1:1-25) He created man.
"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:26-28)
To be in His likeness means that man was sinless and holy - just like God. God gave man "dominion over" all creation. In other words, he was to rule over it, and work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15) Also, God gives MAN ONE COMMAND (notice how woman isn't in the picture yet):
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 3:16)
After giving the command God creates woman from man so that man was not alone:
"Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." (ch.2, vs.18)
So the Lord caused a deep sleep in Adam and created Eve from his rib bone. (Read Genesis chapter 2, verse 21-22.)
"Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:20-24)
There's a few things you need to understand: Adam had named all the animals, lived in the beauty of God's creation, and not one of those things elicited the response of his first time seeing his woman. His response to seeing her was, "Whoa!" God specifically made woman beautiful and we have this innate, God-given ability to make the world beautiful.

P.S. What is described in Genesis 2:20-24 is the first wedding - pure, beautiful, and perfect!

Then there was "THE FALL" ... The serpent (aka Satan), who is the master of lies asked Eve a deceiving question, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (3:1) Long story short. (I encourage you to read Genesis chapters 1-3 in it's entirety...) Eve diminished the Word of God given to Adam, changed/twisted/added to God's Word, and then disobeyed God's Word by eating the fruit which God commanded Adam not to eat. Once Eve ate the fruit she gave some to Adam who also ate (Notice how Adam was there the entire time?! Read ch.3, vs.6, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate."). It was Adam's job to either 1. Tell Satan to shut up. 2. Remember God's Word. 3. Step in and protect Eve. Because Adam failed in doing those things, sin entered into the world because Eve decided that Satan was actually telling the truth. Here's the important piece to remember: she wanted to be like God. 

The purity and perfection described in the first wedding was now replaced by guilt and shame.

God obviously knew what had happened and in chapter 3, verse 1 he calls out for Adam , 
"... the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 
Notice who he calls? Man! Because man was responsible for helping the woman understand God's commandment (and he failed in that job)! God waited for Adam to confess (what He already knew of course), even though it was Eve who sinned first. --This is where you must understand the pressure that is on a man: HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DECISIONS MADE IN  YOUR HOUSEHOLD. HE WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD FOR YOUR (plural) ACTIONS AND WORDS. Just like Adam! This does not mean you (singular) won't be held accountable for your own actions, it simply means that your husband will be held accountable for YOUR FAMILIES decisions, because it's His job to protect and provide for his family! Remember: Adam was right there with Eve the entire time. Instead of doing his job, he blamed God for "putting the woman there with him" and then proceeded to point fingers at the woman for giving the fruit to him, rather than simply repenting.

From this point on God cursed all of creation, because of one man's sin, starting with the serpent  (Read Genesis 3:14-19). For now, I'll only quote the curse for women beginning in verse 16,
"I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be against your husband, and he shall rule over you."  
Any woman who has given birth can attest that God is a man of His Word! ;) The second sentence confuses a lot of people. Many translations say "Your desire shall be for your husband..." and no it isn't sexual. In fact, it means that our desire is to rule over our husband BUT he shall rule over us. I like how John MacArthur explains this passage in his study Bible,
"Just as the woman and her seed will engage in a war with Satan (Genesis 3:15), because of sin and the curse, the man and the woman will face struggles in their own relationship. Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self-will. Lifelong companions, husbands and wives, will need God's help in getting along as a result. The woman's desire will be to lord it over her husband, but the husband will rule by divine design (Ephesians 5:22-25).
Before sin entered the world man and woman were on equal playing grounds (so to speak), because they were both given the task of caring for creation. That all changed because of sin. Man was created first as a leader, a counselor, and protector. Adam failed in all aspects of his God ordained job. Now, because of the curse of sin, women want to rule over their husbands when it is in fact the man's role as husband.

Rule over?! Remember one of the reasons why Eve ate the fruit? To be like God. That was one way Satan bated her, "God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (ch.3, vs.5) That is part of our curse! We want to rule, know-it-all, be in charge (LIKE GOD); we will be forever cursed with this sin until Jesus returns to this earth! God tells woman in chapter 3, verse 16 that our desire to rule will be a continuous battle for us. We want to rule, but our husbands will actually rule over you. (Read chapter 3, verse 16 again.)

"Rule over" sounds so harsh. Before getting all huffy-puffy about it and spitting fumes (Haha, be honest with yourself and admit that perhaps it's because of the curse and that your anger about what GOD SAYS is irritating because of our sinful, selfish hearts. Remember... wanting to rule over... be like God.) If that didn't tick you off (which honestly, it should, because that means God is either working on your heart or you know it to be true, or both...) read on...

Think of it this way: A marriage is truly successful only when a man and a woman actively work to keep CHRIST their central focus, AS THEY SERVE EACH OTHER. 
How Kyle serves me is far different than how I serve Kyle. 
Submission is not Kyle living by "the rule of thumb" (where in the 1500's -- I believe -- a husband was not allowed to beat his wife into submission with nothing bigger than his thumb), they had the concept of submission interpreted incorrectly according to the rest of Scripture. It's not a matter of "equality" in terms of who is smarter (for example), but there are obvious differences society should embrace and accept as God ordained in order to live harmoniously with one another. I will go as far as to suggest that because women want to be "equal" (and I'm not talking about education, voting rights, jobs, etc.) with men they are actually coming down to a man's level, not UP. (And yes, I'll be talking about that too.) Men need to understand that submission does not mean you take advantage of being the authority by being the "oppressor," that is not Christ-like, and it does not match up with the rest of Scripture that calls us to study Christ and be like Him -- our perfect, holy, sinless example: "... the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28) Serve. Give of our life. (Those are two key words I want you to remember!) Men and women both do that in a Christ centered marriage, however, the roles do look different and I'll be talking about those differences. I know of only two women specifically who have truly, and with all of their heart embraced those differences (it's not me, I'm a work in progress...) and they are by far the happiest married women I know and their husbands love and cherish them with a deep and resounding sense of respect, admiration, gentleness and an attitude of servitude than I have ever been privileged to witness first hand. Seriously. I strive to be like these women.

My journey of "submission" has only just begun. The women I briefly mentioned have been married for nearly 30 years, it takes work, and in the next few posts about this topic I'll be talking about why I chose this picture as a perfect representation of how I envision submission: comforting, freeing, protected... ahhh... perfect.
Stay tuned.

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