Eph 5:22-24 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 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.”
In the verses immediately prior to verse 22, we have been instructed to be filled with the Spirit. An outcome of being filled with the Spirit is that we submit to each other in the reverence of God (v 21). Paul now moves the focus from one of a body of believers to the union of the home. I will call your attention again to the fact that this is still a part of the outcome of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The idea of being submissive often brings to mind an image of one individual bowing down before another in abject fear. No member of our physical body fears our head, but have you ever thought about what the outcome would be if one of our physical members was not submissive to the head. Suppose you were getting ready to cross the street and your eyes saw an oncoming car. This information is passed to the head, and the head tells the legs to stop moving forward. How disastrous would it be for the legs to decide they had no intention of submitting to the information coming from the head?
Submission is not about being less; it is about the body functioning for the good of the whole. In a marriage, this same principle is true. Before we get caught up in debating the failures of men versus women, let’s remember that we are talking about the outcome of being filled with the Spirit. Wives and husbands need to be in constant prayer for each other that they may be filled with the holy presence of God.
When the husband is filled with the Holy Ghost, then he is going to seek God’s face to do what is right in his life, for his wife that he loves, and for his family as a whole. He is not going to see himself as a king but rather as a protector. His purpose will not be to lord his position over his wife but rather to do all in his power to do what is best for her. Jesus did not come to this earth, suffer, bleed, and die because it made Him look good. He suffered all of this because He is the Saviour. This is the heart that should exist in a husband. It should not be any more difficult for the wife to submit to her own husband than for the church to submit to Christ.
For this to truly honor God, both the husband and the wife must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Submission should not be seen as being “less than” but rather as giving honor to God. This instruction should be both humbling and fearful to any man. God expects husbands to show the same care for their wives as Christ does for His Bride. Husbands have a serious responsibility before God in order to have wives who are submissive. In this, they both serve the body (they twain shall be one flesh).
May God grant us grace to first be submissive to Him so that we husbands may learn what it means to be the head and our wives may be willingly submissive to godly husbands, as unto the Lord!