When Dave and I recited our wedding vows to each other, I wanted to be sure to include the words “obey” and “help meet” in mine. I was juuuust beginning to understand my ordained, Biblical role as it looked on paper; but to actually live it on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, second-by-second (you get the picture) basis would prove to be a HUGE learning curve.
Many times I had read Genesis 2:18 which states, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” and not thought much about it. I had recently been studying God’s institutions in the Bible and learned that marriage, work, and men’s and women’s roles and duties, among other things, were institutions actually ordained by God, meaning this is how God set an example and precedent to show us how He wants us to live. Interestingly and in light of that, I was recently watching an episode of the old Jack Benny show, and he had Art Linkletter on as a guest. Remember this was back in the 1950’s just before the women’s liberation movement took hold. He had three or four young children on for one of his “Kids Say the Darndest Things” segments. He asked each child what they wanted to be when they grew up. The little girl, without hesitation, said, “I want to be a housewife,” and Art Linkletter said something to the affect of, “Of course you do. You want to grow up to be just like Mommy.” In essence, she was saying, “I want to be a help meet.” Today, most women watching that would sit horrified and sorry for that little girl’s completely wasted potential in life. Well, that is the world’s opinion; however, that little girl’s desire was to obediently fulfill her God-ordained role.
I read that the term “help meet” in the Bible basically means “one who helps.” THAT is what God has designed for me to be as a Christian woman. Period. And if I had a daughter who wasn’t married, I would do my best to prepare her to be a help meet, should God see fit to bring her a husband.
Submission goes hand in hand with being a help meet. In writing this blog post, I researched the verses that discuss God’s command for wives to obey and submit to their husbands. It was startling that God pretty much hits us over the head with a hammer with all of the verses He provides; however, disobedience and rebellion among Christian wives obviously runs rampant throughout the professing church:
Eph 5:22 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.“
Eph 5:24 – “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” (Uh, yes, Sue, that means EVERY thing)
Col 3:18 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.“
Titus 2:5 – “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.“
1 Pet 3:1 – “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;“
1 Pet 3:5 – “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:“
Being required in the Bible to submit to my husband, I looked up the word “submission” in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and found the following:
1. The act of submitting; the act of yielding to power or authority; surrender of the person and power to the control or government of another.
2. Acknowledgment of inferiority or dependence; humble or suppliant behavior.
3. Acknowledgment of a fault; confession or error.
4. Obedience; compliance with the commands or laws of a superior. Submission of children to their parents is an indispensable duty.
5. Resignation; a yielding of one’s will to the will or appointment of a superior without murmuring. Entire and cheerful submission to the will of God is a christian duty of prime excellence.
Wow! Some of those key words are pretty humbling and convicting: “yield”, “surrender”, “compliance”, “humility”, “suppliant”, “without murmuring”, etc…
It is clear in the Bible that Christ is our prophet, priest and king. As I have studied types and shadows in the Bible, I have learned that marriage between a man and a woman is the physical manifestation of Christ and His spiritual Church. Likewise, since Christ is declared in the Bible as the husband, prophet, priest and king over His bride, the Church, the temporal manifestation is the husband being prophet, priest and king over his wife and household. When thinking about being the bride of Christ, I would think it is inappropriate to question Christ or take on an attitude toward Him and start telling Him what to do. I am to treat my husband with the same reverence and respect. I now look at my husband as a benevolent king over me, his subject, and therefore do not have the right to disobey or disrespect him. I realize this is much easier said than done and am finding it a lifelong process to implement. HOWEVER, this is no excuse to give up or be rebellious. More and more I love serving my husband because that is what I was called and created to do. That is my honor and duty under God. And when I serve my husband properly, I am serving God properly. I cannot imagine anything to help me sleep better at night knowing I am doing God’s will in fulfilling my role as a help meet. Then the worldly importance of status and accomplishments starts to lose its satisfaction and seduction. I’ve also learned to pray, and pray, and then pray more for my husband, so God might grant him the proper, Biblical mindset and authority perspective. It takes two to tango, but all I can do is focus on my part and trust God will handle the rest.
Upon further study in the Bible, I believe God has very graciously shown me the grave error of my previous ways in the corporate and professing Christian world fulfilling roles that are reserved by God for men alone. I was very gung ho on climbing up the corporate ladder and taking leadership roles at church; but I cannot even begin to explain the peace and joy I have experienced by understanding my role, giving up those other things, and tending to my husband and our ranch full time. It has helped me to better comprehend the spiritual type we are living out here on earth. This is so contradictory to how our society functions and teaches that many heads of women reading this will probably start smoking and eventually explode. (ewww, gross)
There are so many subjects this topic touches. In a nutshell though, I think I’ll close this post by encouraging any women reading this, single or married, to truly study the Bible concerning their role as a woman and ask God to grant them obedience regardless of what it requires. I have learned to meditate and implement the following phrase over the course of the past few years as God has shown me His truths in the Bible: “My job is to be obedient and God will handle the rest.” Period. No excuses. I am to serve my husband and household and to be obedient to him as to God. Period. No excuses; no attitude. I pray that, when I am called before God to answer for my choices here on earth, He will not find me making a bunch of excuses as to why I think I was better suited to fulfill roles that He blatantly reserved for men. I look at professing Christian women in mainstream churches in roles of worldly corporate success, and teaching, preaching, and eldership in the church; and now I see them as being in disobedience to God even though they may be very talented and intelligent. God has made it clear in the Bible they are not supposed to be in these roles (1 Tim 2:11-12). God will raise the proper men for these positions if the women will simply vacate them and obey what God has told them to do.
There is a book entitled Created to be His Help Meet by Debbie Pearl that I believe has some really helpful information to women searching for how they are to fulfill this God-ordained role. I do not subscribe to some of the author’s doctrinal positions but believe this book has some great guidance for Christian women.
May God be glorified as He leads us into all truth and grants us repentance, belief and obedience to His word.