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Trail…Pursue God by Practicing a Spiritual Discipline

January 29, 2013

Today’s Reading | Ephesians 5:21-33 | Mutual Submission

The biblical picture of marriage is diverse. Biblical writers lived in a society where marriage was more often defined by prevalent culture than by God’s ideal. Polygamy was common and women were treated as property. However, in this darkness the Apostle Paul writes to first century Christians in Ephesus and his advice sparkles like a diamond lost in a landfill:

Submit to one another…(v. 21) Wives, submit to your husbands…(v. 22) Husbands, love your wives… (v. 25)

We often misunderstand Paul’s teaching because we forget that telling a first century husband to submit to his wife would have been ridiculous. Men owned their wives. But Paul turns the values of the day upside down and commands husbands to love their wives sacrificially. This creates a picture of mutual submission and mutual love. When couples pursue this together, they become “imitators of God…just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:2)

What we see here is that two people with individual needs come together and become “one flesh” (v. 31). The individuals don’t disappear; a third element is created through their marriage. Each individual must now seek the best, not only for themselves and each other, but also for their relationship.

If you are married, sit down this week with your spouse and discuss this: looking beyond your individual needs, what does your marriage need most in order to flourish? How can you submit to one another more? (NOTE: Only suggest ways you should submit to your spouse…not the other way around.)

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