Hell0 all! Amanda here. Hasn't this study been incredible? I don't know about all of you, but I will definitely be looking back over this study again and again! Lynn, Ann, and Ian have all done an incredible job sharing their insights into the wisdom of God. I feel so very blessed to be a part of this team! With that being said I am anxious to dive into chapter 5 with all of you!
There is so much wisdom and instruction packed in to these 33 verses. Nearly everything about how we should conduct ourselves as children of God is summarized here. And yet there was a time in my life when I would have found a chapter like this too overwhelming to read, let alone study! As a teen and young adult I struggled greatly with condemnation and perfection. I would read chapters like this and feel so much despair, thinking to myself "Lord, I love you so much! But I fail at some of these things DAILY! How will I EVER be good enough for you?!" It was several years before I finally fully accepted and understood (or began to understand) God's grace and mercy. My friend I want you to know that God does NOT expect perfection. He just wants our hearts!
Now then, I am particularly interested in focusing on the last portion of this chapter. Which I feel is VITAL, especially as SUMites, so we will discuss the first part a bit quicker. In verses 1-5 we are instructed to "be imitators of God". We are to walk in love and refrain from immoral behavior of all kinds. It is not coincidence that one of the first things this instructional chapter tells us to love like Jesus loves. My friends, we must never underestimate the power of that kind of love! It draws those who are lost nearer to him.
Verses 6-14 give us a wonderful image of us as "children of light". We are to use our light to expose the darkness. While reading this I had this mental image of the children of God walking around in the dark with a soft glow about them. They would lean towards the darkness and it would turn into something vine-like, shriek and curl up! The children of God would simply smile and move on. It was pretty amazing!
Verses 15-21 come in as a warning. They tell us to pay attention! Watch your behavior and don't be foolish. Speak of him often with each other. Share his wisdom with one another, praise him together! And remember to THANK HIM always (verse 20). This section shows us community is a BIG part of staying strong as a believer.
Finally we come to verses 22-33. Oh boy, I dare say I have seen the first few verses of this section misused and abused more than any other part in the bible. Though it is not always intentional, it can nonetheless be damaging when misinterpreted. SUMites especially have an extra layer of complexity added when we read and try to understand these verses. It is my hope to shine a bit of light on this issue here.
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord,..." Lets talk about the word "submit" for a moment. Especially in this context. What it is NOT saying here is that a wife is her husband's footstool, doormat, or slave. It is also NOT saying that the wife is less valuable, less loved, or in any way less important. What it IS saying is that wives are to be the ultimate helper and team player for their husband. We are to be a listening ear, a calm during chaos, and a comfort to them. We recognize them as the head of our household and treat them with respect. This works especially well when the husband does his part of loving their wives as Christ loves the church (verse 25). When a husband loves his wife selflessly she is much more inclined to behave in the ways previously stated! God intended for marriage to be a beautiful and reciprocal giving of love, protection, and care for one another.
Of course we know it isn't always so simple. In those cases we must lean on the Father to guide and direct us! For us SUMites, we are still called to be the best helper we can be. And what better way to help our spouses than by prayer and petition on their behalf, loving them as Jesus loves us, and being the peace when the chaos rises! It is a tall order I know, and one we can only accomplish with the help of the Father.
Okay I must wrap this up now, but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! I love you all!
Lynn, I couldn't stop reading this book! It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean. Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb