It might be an intriguing thought to some that when it comes to authority, women naturally have more authority than the man. Women are able to sway men, control men, and in general make life very difficult for them if they do not subdue this natural tendency to wield control. We first notice this in the Garden of Eden. Satan beguiled Eve, and she in turn beguiled Adam. He fell prey to her innate ability to get her way. If it were not true that the woman has power, she would not be admonished to subdue it. Unless the woman deliberately undertakes to subdue her natural power, she will manipulate and control. It is also possible for her to assume a cloak of pretend submission, to speak of it often, to appear to struggle with it but claim to have the victory, and yet in reality still be exercising her very dominant quality.
Today women control many aspects of life that were designed to be the responsibility of the man. Many women control family life, business and government. I am not making a statement against these women, necessarily, except to say that if men would be responsible and take the proper authority, women would not be required to be the leaders where men have failed to fill their role. Many people do not like to hear that a woman should be subject to a man, and yet, there must be some order. Someone must make themselves subject or the result is chaos. There is nothing wrong with a relationship that functions with both people in agreement, and neither oppressing the other, in fact that is the most acceptable and workable model. The Bible tells us that women should submit themselves to their husbands, but then goes on to say that he is to love her as he loves his own body, for no man ever harmed his own body, but nourishes it and cares for it. Too often men who demand obedience and submission fail to fulfill this part of God’s plan. The Bible further states that a man is to love and cherish his wife, as Christ loves the Church, and gave himself for it.
When the proper order is in place, peace and harmony prevail. A secure and well-loved wife will reward her husband with faithfulness and honor. The children of such a pair will be secure and happy, and able to grow to maturity with a proper understanding of the plan that God has for marriage and families.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.
We see by reading the preceding verses that the husband is to love his wife as he loves his own body, and that he is to give himself for her. In the natural sense this means he provides shelter and food for her, he keeps her safe, he will work from sunup to sundown to provide for her, he is tender and kind with her, he is never angry with her, he forgives her for her mistakes, and treats her with utmost respect. Which husband can say that he fulfills all of this without failing? Imagine a husband who is always loving; so loving that his wife’s welfare is more important to him than his own. He admires her gentleness and her beauty. He protects it at any cost. In return she is true to him. She loves him beyond compare. He is the apple of her eye, as she is of his. She is careful to never cause him shame or hurt. In such a setting is there any woman who would struggle with being submissive? Would she ever fret to those around her that she has difficulty allowing her husband to be the wonderful man that he is? Is it fair to say that when a woman struggles with being submissive that her husband is not loving her properly? Most likely it is.
I am writing this, not to teach women how to obey their husbands, but to point out that the church is also a woman, and her husband is Christ. They have not yet sat down to enjoy the marriage supper, but the bride is to be making herself ready. She is to be beautiful, without spot or wrinkle. Imagine the dismay of the bridegroom if he arrives to collect his bride, and she is insubmissive. Imagine the disappointment if the bride is adorning herself and looking at herself in the mirror, and fails to notice the bridegroom at the door. The bride must always be subject to her husband. She must subdue the natural power that she has, (due to her great beauty and attractiveness,) to focus the attention on herself. Her aim should always be to bring honor to the bridegroom. This is the reason she wants to be beautiful; to make him happy, not to focus attention on herself.
Surely we can see that the message to wives to keep their proper place, one of honor to their husbands, applies to the church and the way she relates to Christ. How very easy it is for a church to begin to draw attention to herself. How easy it is for the members to stand up and say “I love the church.” What they are saying is “I love myself.” How much more should we rather say “I love Christ. He has done everything for me. In his care I am safe, loved, and protected. I long for his return, so that we can be joined in marriage. I want to make myself ready.” Let us be careful that we do not stand in front of the mirror preening, turning from side to side, admiring ourselves, and drawing attention to ourselves. A Christian woman is to be a type of the bride of Christ. She is to be pure, lovely, and honoring the bridegroom, never herself. When the attention is focused on the church, she is no longer the bride. The bride focuses attention on the bridegroom and waits for his return. Please remember this the next time you stand up in church and say “I love the church.” Repent and love the bridegroom. He has died and given himself for you. The church has not.