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Jack Graham - Happy Wife, Happy Life

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    Jack Graham - Happy Wife, Happy Life
TOPICS: Life Together, Marriage, Relationship

In 1 Peter chapter 3, beginning at verse 1, to the wives specifically the word of God says: "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word", in other word, even if they are not Christians, "they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, and when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that which is frightening". And included in that "anything which may be frightening" is the whole idea of submitting to your husband.

But the Scripture is clear on this! And the first point that I want to make is that a happy wife is a submissive wife. "Be subject to your own husbands". Paul says this clearly in Ephesians 5, our passage from last time together when we spoke of men loving their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. The Scripture says, "Husbands, love your wives". And then on the heels of that "Wives, submit yourself to your husbands as unto the Lord". Key phrase, that's Ephesians 5:22, "as unto the Lord". Colossians 3:18 is another one. "Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord".

Now, look this way. Can you imagine a more politically incorrect verse in all the Bible? And some of you are looking at me as I'm quoting these verses like I came from the planet Thalmotron because this is not what you're hearing in our culture. And this is not what even some churches are teaching regarding the roles and the relationship between a man and a woman. And yet, it is the clear, concise command of Scripture that wives submit unto their husband. But the question, of course, is how do we apply this? What does this look like in real life in your home, your family, your marriage, your relationship? What does it mean when it says, "Wives submit to your husbands"?

Well, let me first tell you in no uncertain terms what it doesn't mean. What it doesn't mean is that in any way that a woman is inferior to a man, that a wife is inferior to her husband. No, God created us male and female, and we are equal, and so God has given us certain roles and responsibilities but this is not a lack of equality. In fact, in the passage that we just read in 1 Peter 3, when he speaks to the husbands in verse 7, "Husbands, live with your wives in understanding, by showing honor to the woman as a weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life". We are heirs together of the life that we have in Christ. And so when the Scripture says a wife is to submit to her husband, that doesn't mean that you are in any way inferior to him. In fact you may be superior to him at various levels and various abilities and gifts and so on.

Secondly, it doesn't mean that you are to obey your husband if he demands or commands that you do something that is ungodly or unscriptural. Acts 5:29, "We must obey God," the Bible says, "and not man". Your first responsibility always, as a man or a woman, is to obey God! So if you are ever asked by anyone, including your own husband to do something that is contrary to God's Word, the answer is I must obey God first. Thirdly, submission does not mean that you should stay in an abusive situation with a man who puts you in danger And let me just say that any man that abuses his wife is no man at all! And this is a problem that should be addressed, as it is being addressed in our culture and certainly in the church. So you have no obligation to put yourself or your children, your family in danger under the word submission.

So what does it mean? Here's what it means: It means because, as in the Lord as unto the Lord, because you are a Christ follower. As a Christian woman it means that you will willingly, voluntarily and attitudinally (that's a big word) with your attitude obey God by keeping your perspective and your place in the home as a supporter, a strengthener, a helper to your husband. The man and the woman can live together beautifully and honor God when we get it right God's way. The most perfect example of submission, if you want to know what submission looks like, is the Lord Jesus Himself. We know that he humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant. He was the leader who served and the servant who led.

And outside of the cross, the most livid and living illustration of this is in the upper room when Jesus gathered His disciples and John's Gospel tells us, John 13:3 "Knowing the Father had given all things unto His hands". Wow! All things! Everything belonged to Him. He was given all authority, all power! And so what did He do? Did He take up His throng? No, he took up a towel and humbled Himself, and knelt and washed the feet of those men on the night of His betrayal. Not because they deserved it, but according to the scripture, John 13:1, "He loved them to the end"! Because of His unconditional love He washed their feet.

So submission is not a four-letter word. Submission is not a dirty word. Submission is a Jesus word! And yes, by the way, submission is not just for wives, it's for Christians. It's for all of us! And Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 5 that we are to mutually submit to one another: husbands by loving your wives as Christ loved the church; wives by submitting and honoring and respecting your husband "as unto the Lord". So the instruction here is that a wife is to submit as to the Lord. In other words, as if you were submitting to the Lord Himself, as if you were doing it for Him. This is not slavery or servitude, but an act of pure devotion to Christ, an act of pure devotion and worship to Christ. to follow the lead and to respond to the love of your man. Now, it's sort of like dancing.

Now people says, "Well, can Baptists dance"? Well, some of them can, some of them can't. I've seen a few who can! And I'm not talking about, you know, the dance when, you know, people are standing fifteen feet apart doing their own thing. But like dancing... what is it? Dancing in the Stars or on the Stars or with the Stars! I have to say as a husband, one season I sat with Deb and watched "Dancing with the Stars". It was the year Emmett won so I thought okay, that's manly! I'll do that! So actually rather enjoyed it, but I learned a little about dancing, and that is, you got to have someone who leads and someone who follows if you're going to be good. And that's true in a marriage. It's a divine dance in harmony with Him! With God! Someone leads, someone follows. In the plan of God the husband is to lead, the wife is to respond and follow to his leadership.

Now you have to have some real skills to follow. Especially some of the klutzes that you're following and dancing with. Right? So it takes real skill not only to lead, but to follow. And so submission is not standing in the corner being a wall flower, saying nothing or speaking unless you're spoken to. Far from the truth. submission is active, not passive. The wife is to respond and to give herself to her husband and to her family as she's given opportunity. I've already said submission is a military term. It's like coming under the authority of one in charge. There is a chain of command in the military. And in this sense there is a chain of command in marriage.

Now I've known men who want to take this scripture as a proof-text to control their wives, to demand whatever they want. This is wrong and it is spiritually abusive. In fact, there is no place in the Bible where a husband is told to demand and command that his wife submit. It's always voluntary and willing in response to the man's love that a woman is to submit. But even if he is not a believer, as Peter tells us here in 1 Peter 3, even if the man doesn't obey the word of God, she's not to leave him but to love him! Not to nag him but to nourish him by her godly light. We'll get to that a little more a little later. But again, the motivation for this mission that you've been given, ladies, is "as unto the Lord". You do this to please God first, as an act of obedience to God. Not that you will lose yourself or your personality, but you together, men and women, wives and husbands will blend your lives as a beautiful testimony "the two shall become one".

The book of Proverbs gives us some pretty strong counsel as to what you're not to say or do regarding your husband. Let's take a look at a few of these. Proverbs 21:9, "It is better to live in the corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife". The word quarrelsome there means a belittling wife. Proverbs 27:15-16: "A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike. To restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand". Or to put it in our world, to nail Jell-O to a wall.

Proverbs 21:19: "It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman". I'll let that speak for itself. Proverbs 12:4: "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband". Amen! But she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. Like a cancer in the home and family. I love Proverbs 18:22: "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord". I'm so grateful for the favor that He has given me in Deb. So women speak life into your husband, not death. For life and death is in the power of the tongue. Don't chip away at him, belittling him, questioning him constantly, attacking him, second-guessing him.

This kind of negativity will ruin a relationship. And you know what happens? The reverse happens that you desire. With all the, you know, the attacking and if your doing this, the correcting and the challenging and the belittling. That just reverses the field. That's a game changer because men will just shut off. Their not going to change by just more drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip dripping. They're not going to change. In fact, the opposite is going to happen. They'll burrow in or unfortunately go find somebody else who will build them up instead of tear them down. We often blame men, and rightly so, because they become passive and won't take responsibility for the leadership of their home, their marriage, their family, but frankly, I've seen in many cases over the years men who don't lead because their so beaten down!

How can he be a man if you're wearing the pants? How can he make decisions if you're always making decisions in front of him? How can he stand if you're cutting his legs out from under him? How can he lead and be the man that God wants him to be if you're emasculating him by taking his role and assuming his responsibility? Now look, I know respect is not always merited but for the Christian woman it is a grace that is given because real love is undeserved; it is unconditional; it is unmerited. And even if there are times when you correct your husband, and that's acceptable within the bounds of a godly relationship, and even, even if you have to challenge something, do it with love and respect and pick your spots.

Well, I need to wrap this up but, we've said two things so far: a happy wife is a submissive wife, a happy wife is an attentive wife, and here's one from 1 Peter 3:3 and 4: a happy wife is an attractive wife. verse 3 of 1 Peter 3: "Do not let your adorning be external, the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold or jewelry or gold jewelry or clothing that you wear, but let your beauty or your adorning, your attractiveness be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which in God's sight is very precious".

Back at the beginning of this message I said the wife is the heart of the home. It's true at so many levels because the woman is like a thermostat in the home that sets the temperature and the atmosphere by the attitude, what the Bible here is calling adornment. The beauty of the home. As a woman you are to provide beauty and attractiveness to the home, class, if you will! Now just on a purely external level, can you imagine what your house would look like if you left it up to your husband? No so much. Just go to some of these guys' apartments that are unmarried, single and you'll get a brutal picture of what it looks like without the beauty and the class and the attractiveness and the care of a woman. But on a more personal level, Peter tells us that a woman is to cultivate, not so much external beauty, though you are not to let yourself go and you're to seek, I mean there's no inherent value in looking like an unmade bed!

You ought to do your best! But look! For all of us, this is a losing battle, this trying to stay externally attractive. I had a guy say to me one time, "Well, my wife doesn't look like she used to look". And I'm saying, "Have you looked in the mirror lately"? Come on! Really! So, I mean, all of us will, you know, there's no cure for father time except the work of God's Spirit within us who renews us day by day internally. And so, women, God says, you know, don't let your appearance be just totally external. He's not saying don't wear jewelry or don't wear clothes; he says don't let that be your focus.

A Christian woman should dress with modesty and purity. But that's not your focus. Your focus is on not your clothing, but your character; not how you look, but who you are. And let the internal drive the external, because I promise you, character shows up in your countenance, in your class, the way you look, they way you carry yourself. That's your character; that's your beauty, that's your strength. It's virtue, it's your smile, it's the twinkle in your eyes that comes from the joy of the Lord. Titus 2:4 and 5 says this: "And so train the young women", so I'm talking to you young women right now. Classify yourself. I'm talking to the older women about training the young women to do what? "Love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled".

Young women, your focus is always to be your husband and your children, your family. If you work, if you must work outside your home, it means you must pray and ask God for extra strength and energy to make sure you can still do your primary job. And your primary job is to be a wife and mother. And oh, there's no higher calling in life than that! If your husband is an unbeliever or a carnal Christian, the Bible tells for you not to leave him but to love him; not to push him, but pray for him; don't lecture him, but live for Jesus in front of him. First Peter 3:1: "that they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives".

Your greatest influence is your life. Your words are valuable, but your life gives strength to your words. So if your husband is not a believer, maybe you're here alone today, or if your husband doesn't care about the things of God, is not obeying the word of God, here's what you need to do. You need to stay faithful yourself. You come to church even if you have to sit by yourself. You come to church and bring your children with you, you stay faithful to God, you pray and wait on God, you so live in the power of Jesus Christ that your husband will see your faith and by God's grace respond to Him and to you in faith. If you want a Christian home, it starts with you being a Christian and living according to God's Word and in God's will. And if you want Jesus in your home, you must first invite Jesus into your heart by becoming a Christ follower.
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