Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
—James 4:10

You may be wondering, “The biblical idea of submission in marriage sounds idealistic. How does that work out in real life?” For a husband to sacrifice his rights does not mean for him to surrender his God-given responsibility to lead his family. Dr. Wayne Grudem is a gifted linguist, and for many years he taught at Trinity Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. His wife, Margaret, suffered from fibromyalgia, giving her constant pain. But the Grudems discovered that whenever they went to Arizona, the dry weather and the heat caused her to suffer less. So they considered whether they should move to Arizona. If they moved to Arizona, Dr. Grudem would have to give up his prestigious role at Trinity Seminary and go to a lesser-known school. He wrestled with this decision. Then he came to Ephesians 5:28: “Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.” He realized, “If I were to love my own wife as I love my own body then shouldn’t I move to Arizona for the sake of Margaret?” See how it works? A husband is to sacrifice for his wife. He is also to lead his wife. The Bible teaches that submission is mutual in a marriage.

Submission is also based on assigned roles, not on inherent worth. Nowhere does the Bible teach that women are inferior to men. You hear that said constantly by critics of the Bible: “The Bible is an antiquated book because it says that women are inferior to men.” Nowhere does the Bible suggest such a thing. In fact what’s interesting is that in the New Testament world, the culture taught that women are inferior to men. For example, in the Greek culture in which the New Testament was penned, marriage was nothing more than legalized prostitution. That’s how little they thought of the marriage relationship. In the Roman culture, women were treated as property to be bought and to be sold. Even the Jews had an inferior view of women. Many Hebrew men would begin the day by praying this prayer, “Oh God, I thank You that You did not make me a woman.”

But the New Testament elevated the role of women. For example in 1 Peter 3:7, Peter commands husbands to grant their wives honor as fellow heirs of Christ. He told husbands not to treat them as inferior, because women are a fellow heir of the grace of life.” In Galatians 3:28, Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” But there is a difference between equality and sameness. Are red and blue equal? They are equal in that they are both colors, but they are not the same. And in the same way, men and women are equal, but they aren’t the same. Men and women are equal in God’s sight, but God created them differently so that they can fulfill the different roles God has assigned to each.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Truth about the ‘S’ Word” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.