Even though my husband is a Christian he is not attending church at this time. He gives me a little flack when I attend alone and I know he would rather I stay home too. Where does spiritual authority come into this? Does God want me under his umbrella or my earthly husband's? What if going to church causes more problems in my marriage?
- NH from Alabama
Getting Spiritual Authority Straight (Part 1)
There are an untold number of women today in a dilemma over whom to obey: God or their husband. They are sincere and struggling as you are and yet they face confusion and guilt - and probably some bad teaching from their past.
Ephesians chapter 5 and 6 gives several examples of God's order in society and in the home.
- "Wives, submit to your own husband, as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22)
- "Husbands, love your wives…" (Ephesians 5:25)
- "Children, obey your parents in the Lord…" (Ephesians 6:1)
- "Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath…" (Ephesians 6:4)
- "Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters…" (Ephesians 6:5)
All of the above statements are pretty direct commands so we wonder; are there any exceptions? What happens when obeying one command of God contradicts another? The answer to that is that there is a relationship and an allegiance which supersedes all human relationships. Before we are wife, mother, husband, father, parent or child; if we are born again we are servants of Jesus Christ. We must serve him and his cause FIRST.
Listen to how Peter and John solved their dilemma when told by the Jewish leaders (legitimate rulers over the Jews) not to preach anymore in the name of Jesus. They said; "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19-20)
So here's the rule: we need never obey anyone with authority over us if what they command is contrary to God's laws or is illegal or immoral according to the laws of our land. Examples: A husband telling a wife not to go to church; a child told by a parent to submit to sexual abuse; an employer demanding an employee lie or engage in illegal business practices.
No wife should be put in the position of submitting to her husband OR to God. God's design is that the husband is under the headship of Christ and directing his wife and children according to God's laws and principles. If the husband is not properly submitting to Christ, he may make ungodly decisions. In that case, the wife reports directly to the Head - Christ.
Next: How can we right the situation?
Strategies to Win the Real Battle (Part 2)
When a Christian husband does not attend church and the wife's attendance puts a strain on the marriage, what is really going on? Wouldn't it be interesting if we could draw back the curtains and see what is happening behind the scenes in the spiritual realm?
For sure we would see a battle raging. The devil at work to bring division in a Christian home, to bring confusion and guilt, to delude the husband into dropping church first and then the Lord altogether and probably justify it to boot. If the wife can be convinced she must obey her husband then maybe she can be picked off too. Sooner or later, lukewarm-ness sets in and renders the family ineffective in the Kingdom of God.
If the wife recognizes what is really happening she is commended to spring into action. What is the counter attack? Again, we can look to Ephesians for the right weapons and strategy to wage war against the enemy. This is the time to take up the whole armor of God as given in Ephesians 6:10-18.
I will give only one example of how one of the weapons - the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Verse 17) might be used. One of the most effective ways to pray is to pray God's word back to him. Reading the scripture, find those verses which apply and which the Holy Spirit quickens.
For instance, "Lord, you are continuously giving my husband the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. The eyes of his understanding are being enlightened; he knows the hope of his calling and he receives the rich inheritance you have given your saints." (Based on Ephesians 1:17-18)
Here is one final command from Ephesians to help you win in the battle for your husband: "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us." (5:2) Remember to keep loving your husband and praying for him until he resumes his seat of authority over your home.