Shalom in the Home - Part 1
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
Colossians 3:16-17 provides instruction for us: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” The reality of one’s faith is to be lived daily before others, and this includes in the home. Your immediate family sees and knows the real you. We should all be aware that it is not just the words we speak, but the evidence of transformed lives which effects our homes and honors God. There are five separate categories relating to the home addressed in Colossians 3:18-25. The first two are wives and husbands.
1. Wives - Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”
Why does the Apostle Paul start with the wife? Perhaps it is because of a woman’s prominent place in the family. Much of the emotional stability in the home is derived from a godly mother. It has been said: “If mama ain't happy, ain’t nobody happy.” She often controls the mood in the home. Proverbs is filled with verses showing the results of an angry or foolish woman within the home (Proverbs 21:19, 25:24, 27:15). Proverbs 14:1: “Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” A wise woman lives to reflect the work of Christ in her life and home.
Scriptures do not focus as much on finding the right mate as on being the right mate. However, they do provide guidance for choosing your mate. You must choose one who is a believer in Christ, available, and dedicated to God.
In ancient times and even in certain cultures today, women are treated as a possession with little or no legal rights. The New Testament elevates the role of women in society and marriage. A wife is a “fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7). She is to be treated with honor and respect.
“Wives” means married women. “Submit” means to place under in an orderly fashion or to line up under. Submission is a voluntary attitude of cooperating with another. This is a voluntary submission to the husband in marriage, which means to follow his lead and work together with him. This voluntary submission does not mean the subjugation of all women to all men, or that women are of less value or importance to the Lord. Some men look down upon women. Submission does not imply inferiority.
Practical applications of submission:
A. Jesus to His parents. Luke 2:51: “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.”
B. Our submission to legal authorities. Romans 8:7: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
C. Christ’s submission to His Father. “Not my will, but thine” (Luke 22:42). Christ is co-equal to the Father, yet He submitted to the direction of the Father.
D. The Church’s obedience to Christ (Ephesians 5:24).
“It is fit in the Lord” means fitting, right, proper, or one’s duty. This is God’s design. Leadership is not lordship.
2. Husbands - Colossians 3:19: “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” As God provides instruction for those who are subject to leadership, He also provides instructions for those who are to lead.
“Love your wives.” Love means an unconditional, sacrificial love. The husband is to keep on continuously, supernaturally, and sacrificially loving his wife. The wife is never commanded to love her husband. A wife’s natural response to a husband’s loving relationship is love and respect. Under normal circumstances, a husband gets what he creates in the home.
“Be not bitter against them.” Bitter means a resentment, hatred, exasperation, or anger toward someone. Human love can become bitter without God’s love. Ephesians 4:26: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not he sun go down upon your wrath.” Resentment and bitterness destroy the home. To become a loving leader, the husband must control his attitude and actions.
Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome is a testimonial book written by Nancy Anderson. She had become lukewarm in her faith, and believed the lie: “I deserve to be happy.” This led to an extramarital affair that nearly ended her marriage. To help prevent this from happening to someone else she shared this acronym: HEDGES. 1) Hear - give a listening ear to your spouse. 2) Encourage - build up your spouse by focusing on positive qualities. 3) Date - celebrate your marriage by playing and laughing together. 4) Guard - establish safeguards by setting clear boundaries. 5) Educate - study your mate to truly understand him or her. 6) Satisfy - meet each other’s needs.
The grass on the other side of the fence may look greener, but faithfulness to God and commitment to your spouse will bring peace of mind and satisfaction. Focus on your own mate and look for ways to strengthen your marriage. God can give us a happy marriage and shalom in the home.