Ephesians 5:22-24 - 21 ...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Here in his instructions for domestic relationships, Paul uses a picture from earlier - Christ and his body - only now, he’s comparing the two with husbands and wives, respectively. He begins by telling wives that they are to “submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body...” Now, count the letters in s-u-b-m-i-t with me. See? It’s not a four-letter word! But ask anyone in the past 50 years and you’d be led to believe it was, largely due to husbands (and men in general) using this command to wives as an excuse to misuse their positions as heads - being bossy, manipulative, and domineering (we will address this sinful behavior in devotional #40). The negative view of the word submission goes all the way back to the fall of humankind and the curse it brought upon daughters of Eve: a misguided desire to rule over their husbands (Gen. 3:16).
Wives surrendering to God’s loving design for marriage begins with the understanding that submission is something all Christians are called to do in relation to each other (v.21) as a way of reflecting Christ’s submission to the Father (Phil. 2:1-11). In fact, the word “submit” doesn’t even appear in the original Greek in verse 22 but is put there in our translations because the idea is a continuation from the section beforehand: submitting to one another as the body. Christians are to humbly submit to each other, and the role of a wife is to submit to her husband in a special, greater way:
In everything (v.24)
Like a body submits to the head’s leadership
As she does, she shows her husband and the watching world a picture of what the bride of Christ is like.
• For unmarried women: you are not commanded to specially submit to men in general, but how does this call for wives humble you?
• For married women: is there an area of your marriage or heart you would never say is off limits for submission to Jesus, but you have kept off limits from submission to your husband?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for blessing us with different roles in marriage and, through them, allowing us to see Christ’s love more clearly.