Wives are powerful. I don't mean this in a post-modern, humanistic, NOW movement, feministic-control sort of way; I mean that God made women to be a helpmeets for their husbands. And this power can be maneuvered to be unimaginable detrimental or incredibly positive and life-giving to the health of her marriage and family.
So often the idea of biblical submission is viewed negatively. But it is actually the strong and godly woman who can obey God in His command to respect and submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24; 33b). God asks wives to trust Him to guide husbands to work in the best interest of their families and for the Kingdom. As wives trust both God and their husbands and obey God's commands, He lifts up the humble and works in mighty ways. God not only asks wives to trust but to prayerfully, wisely, and respectfully influence their husbands towards the Lord. Psalm 18:27-29 says, "You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall." And 1 Peter 3:1 says, "In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over."
And when wives use their power of influence in submission and in trust, people can be moved towards Jesus and can even be lead to be saved. With humility and in submission, Queen Esther went before her husband the king to plead for the lives of the Jewish people. The king saw Esther's godly wisdom and character, and in the end, the Jews were saved. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to not only submit to God's will that she would carry Jesus, but she also had to trust God to work in Joseph's heart to still marry her in spite of being pregnant. She had to use the power that God provided to believe that He would work His will in both her and Joseph's lives.
Likewise, wives can use this influential power to guide their husbands away from God and away from His righteousness for their families. Perhaps the best example of this is Eve's influence over Adam to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thanks mucho, Eve, for that stellar choice! Also, Acts 13:50 says, "Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town." Notice that the Jews went to the women to begin stirring up the trouble. We, as women, like to gab, use our emotions, and can turn on the charm. All of these can be used for God's glory when they are used to encourage and praise, but when they are used for selfish and unwise ambitions, great harm comes.
A close friend had a conversation with me, not too long ago, that was brash and harsh. It hurt. Instead of taking time to digest the conversation and realize that I needed to let some of the things go that were said, I went to Ben and told him how hurt I was. Now, I believe that it is important to communicate with Ben and let him know if I'm hurt, but I should have taken the time to talk some of this out with the other person before I let me emotions get the best of me. Usually, when there are emotions involved, Ben waits before talking with the people involved as well, but this particular time, he didn't wait long. Soon, the whole situation was blown more out of proportion than was necessary. I used my emotions and influence to guide my husband into trouble. I'm thankful that we could all work out the issues, but we could have avoided the unpleasantries if I would have prayed and sought God first.
Other times, I surely hope at least, I make godly choices to be Ben's helpmeet and aid him in guiding our family along righteous paths.
Wives are powerful. Priscilla Shirer, in her book, He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear from God, says that a fire in a fireplace "...brings warmth, brightness, and a sense of peace into my house. The fire is no less of a fire because it is contained, but it flourishes and brings contentment because of its boundaries. If that same fire were allowed outside of the fireplace, it could destroy my house." She goes on to say that we need to learn "...to remain 'in the fireplace'". We need to learn the art of using our godly influence to submissively and respectfully help our husbands make godly decisions in our families. We don't have to burn the house down in order to be heard or in order to make a point.
"Lord, please help us to do just this. Lord, I want to be a wife that uses the power You have given to be a helpmeet to my husband and family and not be a wife that becomes an unleashed fire. Amen."
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