“I should like to know if there is any reason on earth why a woman should learn self-forgetfulness that does not apply to a man?” __Katy, “Stepping Heavenward”
I do not believe a day passes by that I do not have a discussion about “biblical submission.” I thank God for the opportunity to help and guide and if needed, admonish. This has prompted me to pull out some of my discussions from the study “Stepping Heavenward” to post on the blog. May it be that women will see the truth of the wonder of being Christian women.
We see in this chapter Katy has married Ernest and is embarking on a new life purpose. But really? It appears to me that our Katy is still that self-seeking, self-gratifying woman (not for some time a “girl”) and does not have a clue of biblical love, marriage and family although she has been privy to it all her life. There is still so much of Katy in the way that it is like an early morning fog over everything. Why as a professing Christian all these years with the plethora of books, Bible reading/teaching and instruction does she not understand the biblical role of women/men in marriage, agape self-sacrificing and giving love, submission and obedience to God, His Word and to this man that she has vowed to love, honor and obey? Mouth service and an outward submission to what appears on surface to look like submission is no submission at all. God looks upon our hearts and if we are submissive and loving wives because of any other reason than to please Christ and our husband, it is dead works and profits nothing. God is surely not pleased with it. A biblical marriage is submission and sacrifice. It IS giving of oneself sacrificially with no expectation of reciprocation outside of the Scripture. God has called both husband and wife to obedience in the marriage relationship and for the wife to love and submit to her husband in EVERYTHING and for the husband to love the wife as Christ loves the church. It is not a “tit-for-tat” or “if he does, I will” etc. etc. etc. It is
- How would Christ have me to live in this marriage and be a picture of His Bride the Church”?
- How can I serve Christ by serving my husband in EVERYTHING? How can I by my love, gentleness, unselfishness, kindness and obedience, love this person with every fiber of my being, to the exclusion of my own wants, needs and desires, so that Christ is honored and I am therefore blessed?
- Why is she not asking: “What does God’s Word say about submission, about biblical marriage, service one to another, the role of women and men, loving my neighbor (which in this case my nearest neighbor is my husband), putting others before myself and serving others as Christ has shown us”?
- Why does she not understand that in loving Ernest, his father and sister that she is loving God and serving Him and that He, and He alone, will bless her?
Christ has said that loving comes from giving and thus He gave Himself for us miserable sinners who deserved nothing but condemnation and death and He expects that we, as His offspring, should give of ourselves for others, and yes, not only to those that are worthy (in our estimation) of our love but also of those that are unworthy of it. Isn’t this what grace is about? Where is Katy’s grace to others here? She can’t get off the hook now that she is a grown woman or that she has been “put upon” but rather she should be looking into God’s Word and asking Christ and His Holy Spirit to guide her, give her wisdom and conform her into a woman of excellence like our example in Proverbs 31. I do not like that we see so little spiritual references in her diary and so little Scripture cited. I have kept an annual spiritual journal for 25 years and they are filled to the brim with Scripture. That is no credit to me but I am a Christian and the Holy Spirit resides in me and because of it, I write about those I love and Christ is the one that I love most of all so His Word and talk about Him fills the pages. We expect as a Christian reading a Christian book to see more of it.
Katy needs to grow up in God’s Word and the result will be love to others. Without love all that she says and does is “sounding brass and clanging cymbals.” Frankly, from my point of view, she continues to wallow in self-pity and it is sinful. She needs confession and repentance. She needs to look at the wonderful life Christ has given her in all of its blessings and thank Him for it and then look out at all of the poor and miserable folk in the world that has so little and realize the folly of her selfishness. Sound harsh to you? Not so, just biblical. So many Christian women in our day would love to have what this woman has, especially those that have unsaved husbands, and don’t. I think the lesson here to us is to appreciate what we do have and to see with clear eyes in this book the importance of sacrificial love and thankfulness to Christ for what He has done in our own lives.
“Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; because we are members of his body. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. Nevertheless do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear her husband.” Eph 5:22-33
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; ejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” 1Co 13:1-13