Friday, May 3, 2013

When He Won't Lead...

             There was a time when I was a believer and my husband was an unbeliever. I would look at the marriages around me at church and desire for my husband to be by my side. For years I prayed and prayed for his salvation. I would pray 1 Peter 3 over and over again, asking the Lord to move me out of the way so that my husband could see His grace. After five long years of waiting, my husband came to the Lord. But things didn’t go as I thought that they would. I thought that my husband would step up and become the spiritual leader immediately, and that we would begin to walk together in Christ, having our children follow. But that is not what happened. What happened was that my husband became a new born Christian, and I was on the path of maturing as a Christian. He was in the milk, and I was on the meat. This caused me to step into a role of leadership over our home, because my husband was not ready, and it caused many struggles that could have been avoided if I had just gotten out of the way.
                I have talked with many women over the years that have struggled with this same issue. They have become believers but their husbands are not there yet. They are followers of Jesus, and their husbands are followers of the world, but, through the prayers and grace of God husbands give their lives to Christ, and we think the fairy tale has begun. But what about the husbands that have become Christians, but not began leading their homes. What do we do when our husbands don’t want to lead us? The Bible tells us that they are to be the spiritual leaders of our homes, and that we are to be in submission to them. But what do we do, as Christian wives, when our husbands refuse to lead?
                “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
                These two passages became so precious to me during the years of waiting for my husband to become a Christian. I prayed them every day, and still, today I recommend that every woman who is married to an unbeliever do the same. However, these words that Peter wrote to us wives, not only applies to our unbelieving husbands, but also to those who choose not to lead their homes. Unfortunately, I believe there are more husbands out there who do not lead their homes, than those who actually do.
                Peter tells us that we are to be submissive to our husbands, even if some do not obey the word. As I read these words this morning, the Lord spoke to me and told me that for those husbands who choose to not lead, they are not obeying His word. They believe in Him, they go to church, they may even serve within the church body, but they are not obeying His word to them to lead their homes. They are in disobedience, just as much as the unbeliever. How we as wives submit to our husbands in their disobedience, is the same as we would submit to an unbelieving husband. We still have to submit.
                Submission is a Greek Military term that means “to arrange”. When this word was used in Biblical times, the women of that day would have understood it to mean that they were under the command of a leader. They would have understood this word “submission” to mean that their husbands were the commanders, and they were the militia who fought under them. This does not mean that your husband has the right to dictate and control you to the point of fear for your own life. (If you are in a marriage where you feel threatened, please, speak to your pastor and seek counsel from God in regards to this situation. No woman should ever feel threatened to submit. That is not of God)
                Submission is recognizing and accepting that God has placed a head over you. That God has placed your husband to be the head of the home. It is a “voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden” (Greek/ Hebrew Lexicon) It means that no matter where our husbands are at spiritually, we have a responsibility to them and to God to submit. Now, it is not a giving in and bending over to let him walk all over you. Jesus was in submission to the Father, but He was considered equal with God the Father. We are to be in submission to our husbands, but God sees us as equals as well.
                David Guziak writes, “The benefit of submission is shown in the way that it affects the husbands for God. A wife’s submission is a powerful expression of her trust in God.” That is what true submission is, my sisters. True submission trusts the Lord God enough to lead your husbands, even when they don’t want to lead. With God all things are possible, through your conduct, through your quiet submission to your
husband while he was an unbeliever, God was able to work in his heart and bring him to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Nothing has changed, just because our husbands now are Christians, doesn’t mean that our submission changes, and it doesn’t mean that they will immediately take on the role of headship.
                When our husbands come into the faith, we wives have a tendency to want to shape them and mold them. We have been walking with the Lord for some time, so we see the faults and the struggles that they have as new born babes. But we have to learn to step away, and let God do the work. We can’t change them, only God can change them. We can have a tendency to want to guide them in the Christian faith through our words. “Peter reminds {us} that God’s plan is that wives impact their husbands not through persuasive lectures, but through godly submission, chaste conduct, and the fear of God.” (David Guziak)
                We can affect the way our husbands believe when we try to shape them through our words, and our efforts may hinder the power of God to work in their hearts. “It is much more effective to submit to God’s way demonstrating trust in Him, and to let God have his way with {our} husbands.” (David Guziak) When our husbands choose not to lead, they are in disobedience to God, we need to be careful to not fall into that same disobedience and try to lead for them.
                There will be times when you will want to say something, when you will want to show him that he is not leading, that you will want to encourage him to step up and take the lead, but we are to treat these times as we would have when our husbands were unbelievers. We are to respond without arguing, but with a gentle response to their actions, or lack thereof. It is not up to us to encourage and to nudge our husbands into leadership of our homes, that is God’s work and only God can accomplish it. When we find ourselves in these situations where our husbands choose not to lead, we must revert back to 1 Peter 3 and allow God to do the work through our conduct and our quiet, peaceful soul which completely and utterly depends upon Him, our Lord and Savior.