In Titus 2:3-5, women are given some instructions regarding their husbands, children and homes. “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children…that the word of God be not blasphemed.” One thing we notice about these verses is that the older women are instructed to teach the younger women how to love their husbands. In our society we have the idea that when we fall in love with a man, this love (emotion) will keep the marriage together. This is far from the truth. Of course, emotional love is part of marriage, but the kind of love that the Scripture is referring to here in these verses has to be taught and learned. It is God’s love as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13. We might also call it character.
The first step in learning how to love a husband, or anyone else for that matter, is to receive Christ into our hearts and let Him become our teacher. As we love Him and He loves us, that love spills over to those around us. We learn how to love others through reading, studying and applying God’s Word to our hearts and our lives. Those who are older and more experienced can share with the younger ladies in order that they may be spared many heartaches by heeding their godly advice. Let us not think that we have all the answers but truly be open to the advice of those who are older and wiser whether they be in the church, or part of our family. Remember, the first commandment with a promise is the one that says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).
Even as small children, if we fail to obey our parents, our days can be shortened. For example, if a parent tells his child not to play in the street and he disobeys, he can be killed. God places elders as leaders and guides to help the younger Christians to mature. We need a submissive spirit to be able to learn from others.
A necessary ingredient for a compatible union, in spite of the abuses that occur when men are wrongly taught about their headship, is that women submit to their husbands. What does God expect of women in this area? First of all, we must understand that submission is an attitude and not just an action. Submission begins in the heart. There is a story about a little boy that was instructed by his teacher to sit down and be quiet. Because of his rebellious nature he did not want to do this, but was forced to by his teacher. Later, the children in the class were chiding him by saying, “Boy, you really sat down and shut up when the teacher approached you with the paddle.” The rebellious boy replied,”I may have been sitting down on the outside, but I was still standing up on the inside.”
Many times women who claim to be submissive are only outwardly going through the motions of submission while inwardly they are still resenting their position in life. A prayer of submission would be in order: “Father, help me to be content in the role you created me for and give me a submissive spirit, not only toward my mate, but also toward each member in the body of Christ. Let me serve and not expect to be served. Create within me a lamb-like spirit even as Christ our Lord had. Amen.” Of course, as we have mentioned, there are limits to submission as it should always be “as unto the Lord.” We must first submit to God and then the problems involving submission to others will be resolved by Him. Some results that can occur when women are not in a right relationship with men are divorce, rebellious children, emotional problems and sexual frigidity.
One of the main causes for these problems is an evil spiritual force of female domination. In I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-25, and Ephesians 6:1-3, the divine order for families is stated. The husband is the head, then the wife is second in command, with the children in obedience to them. When the woman seeks to usurp this authority and rule the home, havoc results and the home is left wide open for Satanic attack. “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (Isaiah 3:12). In our land today, children are rebellious, causing strife in the homes, and women have become bossy and demanding. It is no wonder homes are falling apart. This type of spirit in a woman is a “Jezebel spirit.” Just as Jezebel ruled her husband, King Ahab, in the Bible (I Kings 21:25), many women today are guilty of the same sin. This domineering and ruling spirit is not just found in women alone for we see it in men, too, when they use tyrannical means to rule their homes. The Lord would have our homes be examples of love, and the authority should be exercised in love. When someone has a “Jezebel spirit,” it subtly manipulates the lives of everyone around him. Should we be guilty of this domineering spirit, let us ask the Lord to deliver us and create within us a sweet submissive spirit that is pleasing to the Lord. We will then be willing to listen to our husbands, knowing that the logic God gave man is for the protection of the woman.
Man’s logic and ideas, coupled with a woman’s sensitivity, blend to aid each other in making decisions. Learning to hear the voice of the Lord is one area where both husband and wife can confirm to each other what the Spirit is saying as they each seek the will of God on any given circumstance. The woman will usually have a certain inclination about it, while the man will have a definite idea regarding the situation. The ideal is, of course, for both husband and wife to walk totally submitted unto the Lord. When this is not the case, the woman should not disregard her husband’s advice, for the Lord can and does speak through unsaved husbands. When the wife is submitted to the Lord, the Lord will deal with her husband. Extreme submission where the wife never offers advice to her husband, or is never allowed to think for herself, is out of balance as God did not intend any human being to be another’s “door mat.” This is an example of that domineering “Jezebel spirit.” People under this kind of dominance need deliverance, as do the ones imposing their domineering spirit. The Lord wants every area and dimension of our lives to be balanced in Him.
CHRISTIAN DUTIES OF WIVES AND MOTHERS
Another area where Satan tries to push women to extremes is in keeping household duties and spiritual pursuits in balance. Women who are unequally yoked are especially vulnerable in this area. Perhaps you know women who serve their husbands “tapes for breakfast,” “Charismatic book reviews for lunch,” and “Praise-the-Lord’s for dinner.” If this is not done under the Holy Spirit’s unction and with His wisdom, it can turn husbands away from, not toward the Lord. A change of diet might speak more loudly than incessant talking about Jesus. A neat house, nice meals, and a genuine interest in the husband and his interests many times speaks louder than all the tapes. To fulfill her household duties, a woman may have to give up some of her “spiritual” activities. Three meetings a week really do not make us spiritual anyway.
Real love is giving up what we would like to do in order to make another happy. We have all heard the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” If a wife has claimed her husband’s heart for Jesus, she might try reaching it through his stomach, if all else has failed. Then, when he asks why the sudden change, she can humbly say the Lord spoke to her about neglecting him and the home, and that Jesus very much wants happy homes and happy husbands. He will be interested in knowing a God like that. It works with rebellious kids, too, applied a little differently. Many of our family members are really crying out for love through their very acts of rebellion. Let’s remember to spend time with them, as God gave us the home first.
Some wives neglect their husbands and homes by engaging in too many spiritual pursuits. Of course, the opposite problem can also exist in our homes. Other problems arise when wives are so neat and fastidious about their homes that so much time is spent on cleaning and cooking that they neglect the much needed time of family worship and fellowship. Houses then become a “shrine” to be admired, placing more emphasis on the residence than the residents. Women can become “Marthas” instead of “Marys.”
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
The Lord wants both areas balanced in our lives, so let us remember not to be so “heavenly minded” that we are no “earthly good.” And on the other hand, let’s not get so earthbound that we miss the beauty of the Spirit.
The woman has her primary responsibility in the home since the Scripture says she is to be the keeper of the home. “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:5). Preparing meals for the family is one of her prime duties. The world has set the standard when it comes to eating, rather than the Word of God. Here is another area where we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Besides seeing to it that each member receives spiritual food, the Lord is emphasizing to His people that they need to make changes in their physical diets and receive the proper natural foods. Most of God’s people have experienced His healing hand in their bodies, but one problem that seems to be prevalent is that after receiving healing, the devil comes to rob them of God’s gift of healing. If we exercise our faith and rebuke the enemy in the name of Jesus, he will flee. If, however, you have done this and are still experiencing illness, perhaps the problem is one of maintaining the gift God has given you. By this I mean we must not only obey and keep spiritual laws, but also we must keep physical laws if we expect to walk in God’s blessings.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and many of our temples are filled with trash and garbage. Yet we expect the Holy Spirit to abide there, too. As women, we can be instrumental in ministering the proper food to our families. Instead of eating according to the present mode, we need to eat according to God’s Word. The Bible has much to say about diet and eating. Of course, the extreme we should avoid here is to become so “food-minded” that we allow cooking and diet to absorb too much of our time. Obesity has become such a problem for so many people in the U.S.A. that we need to seek God to control our appetites and help us in this all important area. The Lord wants us to learn self-discipline and temperance in all things. In and of ourselves, we may not be able to overcome our old eating habits, but through prayer, with the Lord’s help, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Proverbs 31:10-31 gives us an excellent description of an ideal wife and mother. Verse 28 says, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also and he praiseth her.” As wives and mothers we should examine our lives to see where we fall short and ask God to help us be like the companion and mother spoken about in these verses. Do our children call us blessed? What about our husbands? Are they praising us as wives? Perhaps our children are rebellious at this time; maybe our husbands are far from the Christian ideal, and neither is praising nor blessing us. Do we blame them and insist that the Lord change them, or do we look at ourselves and ask the Lord to turn the searchlight upon our own faults and failures so that He might work a change in us? Our number one problem is not our children, our mates, our job, or our circumstances–it is ourselves. Until we are willing to change ourselves, the Lord cannot begin the needed changes in our families.
How does God effect these changes in our lives? First of all, we must be honest with God and face our shortcomings and sins. We must come confessing, “God, I am resentful toward this person; I can’t help it; I don’t want to be like this; help me change. Lord, help me to be the kind of wife and mother that will inspire my husband and children to rise up and call me blessed. Amen.” As we yield to the Lord and follow His promptings, we shall surely see changes in our lives and in the lives of those we love.
We must begin by seeing the kind of woman we are. The woman in Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her,” or the one in Proverbs 21:19, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” I’m sure our desire is that we fit into the category of the first type, for we certainly do not want to be referred to as angry and contentious. But I wonder, if we honestly examined our hearts and motives and let the Lord turn His searchlight on us, if we might not see some areas where anger and contention do exist in our lives. Perhaps we do not openly voice our anger, but inside we feel it toward our husbands or children; and because we do not voice it, we have feelings of resentment toward them.
Jesus, in the New Testament, talked much about our thought life and our inner feelings. Remember as he spoke to the religious leaders of His day, He reproved them for their evil hearts even though their outward deeds appeared to be right and good. We can outwardly do our duties as mothers and wives, but inside our hearts we may not really be lovingly ministering to them. We may be motivated by duty, not love. None of us really appreciate people doing things for us simply because it is their job. The real witness to others is when we do something simply because we love them. A lot of Spirit-filled Christians are eager to show the love of Jesus to everyone else, but those of their own households often suffer from a lack of love. Let us certainly show the love of Jesus to all we meet, but let’s remember to show it in our homes first, asking the Lord to give us the true Spirit of love in performing our daily chores.”Lord, may we turn the daily tasks into celebrations of love. Amen.”