August 25, 2012

Obstacle #3: Rebellion



The title of this post sounds harsh.

I've never been considered a rebellious person. My personality makes me naturally more compliant than insubordinate, more accommodating than demanding. But I have been rebellious within my marriage. In this post, first I'm going to explain what I mean by rebellion. Then, I hope to show how I've identified rebellion as one of the obstacles that prevent peace at home.


Using the term "rebellion" assumes that there is someone or something to be rebelled against. Merriam Webster defines rebellion as "opposition to one in authority." Whether or not that authority is deserving, just, or good does not alter the fact that opposing the authority is rebellion.

In God's order for the home, the husband is that authority. The wife is commanded to submit to him. This order is reiterated in Ephesians 5:22-32; 1 Peter 3:1; Colossians 3:18; and Titus 2:5. The Biblical  husband-wife relationship is a big, beautiful, and sometimes controversial topic— indeed, a "mystery" according to Ephesians 5:32. Wise Bible expositors have devoted lengthy books and sermon series to helping us understand it. For purposes of this post, I simply want to point out the basics of what I believe about God's design for the home: "Men lovingly are to lead their wives and family as women intelligently are to submit to the leadership of their husbands" (http://www.cbmw.org/).

Failing to submit to my husband's authority is rebellion. Against my husband and against God.

Here's how I rebel.

There is an issue on which I have very strong, sort of radical convictions. I believe my stance on the issue derives from truths and principles throughout the Old and New Testaments.

At some point in our first year of marriage, I realized my husband has come to a different conclusion on the issue. Despite my best persuasions, he stands firm in what he believes and hasn't come to view things the way I do. Because this particular issue is one which daily affects a person's actions, I have to choose very consciously to submit to my husband's decision rather than my own.

But I've got to admit, there are times I rebel against his leadership in this area. I try for a thousandth time to persuade him. I whine. I complain. I nag. I make snarky remarks. Though I submit to his authority in deed, I oppose it in thought and word and attitude. However good my intentions may be, that, my friend, is rebellion.

Personal convictions must take a back seat to the black-and-white command to "submit to your own husband" (Eph. 5:22). Though I believe my convictions on this issue are applications of Biblical principles, they are not black-and-white commands of scripture. I may feel just as strongly about these ideas as I feel about the Bible's command to submit to my husband; but ultimately it is more important that I follow the crystal clear instruction to submit. Unless my man's leadership contradicts another absolute command of scripture, I should speak my heart and then rest my case, submitting to his authority. I must trust that what my husband believes, how he leads, is God's best for me. After all, God is the one who ordained this man to be my leader. On top of that, I am blessed with a husband who studies the Bible for himself, who communes with and is led by God.

When I am in rebellion against my husband's leadership, there is no peace in our home.
He is miserable, obviously. Wouldn't you be miserable if I were nagging you and doubting your ability to be led by God? He feels belittled, mistrusted, disrespected.
I am miserable. When I'm rebelling, I'm taking leadership and its responsibilities, its burdens on myself. I'm exhausted, trying to wrestle the steering wheel from the strong hands of the helmsman for whom it was specially designed.

That's why rebellion is on my list of obstacles to peace at home:
#1: Selfishness (Masquerading as Perfectionism)
#2: Discontentment
#3: Rebellion

Rebellion has an opposite: submission. Though a wife's voluntary submission is part of God's wonderful and orderly design for the family, it is not a natural response. It is a Spirit-enabled response. Sometimes it's hard, even for those of us who usually have docile personalities.

I know, because I am one of those people and I rebelled just last night.

If you know me, will you help me remember not to rebel? Will you encourage me to submit to my husband?

My home, my life, and my heart are so much more at peace when I do.