Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Fulfilled Family

I generally think of John MacArthur as writing books about business and leadership, not home life or families.  But this one focuses on Ephesians 5-6 and focuses on the mutuality of submission.
As a career woman who married somewhat later in life, who was raised by a fairly feminist mother, the concept of "submission" is hard to swallow.  I also handled divorces for clients for 15 years and saw some abusive men use this verse to justify beating their wives.  So, I picked up this book with some trepidation.

But, MacArthur made some interesting points:

-     The book of Ephesians is written only to Christians.  If you are not a Christian, you cannot possibly make your marriage everything God intended it to be.

-      Mutual submission is the single most important principle governing all personal relationships for all Christians.  It is not merely a wife submitting to a husband.  MacArthur quotes numerous Scriptures which show that all Christians should submit to all other Christians.  It is what Jesus modeled for us.

-      Wives must submit to the leadership of their husbands.  But husbands must also submit to the needs of their wives.

-       The command for mutual submission is unconditional.  It does not exclude women whose husbands are not believers.

-      Submit does not mean obey.  Submit is an active, deliberate, loving, intelligent devotion to the husband's noble aspirations and ambitions.

-      Titus 2:4-5 commands a woman "to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands."  Yes, we are commanded to be home makers. 

-      Wives are required to submit to their own husbands, not all husbands or all men. 

-      Children are commanded to honor their parents, not obey them.  Of course honoring parents usually means obeying them.  The commandment includes a promise: that if you obey your parents the days of your life on this land will be long.  In other words, rebelling against parents often has built-in consequences that tend to shorten one's life.

-       MacArthur writes that "Teaching children to obey is ...a  full-time, years-long duty for parents, often frustrating and always requiring diligence."  He writes of our innate desire to disobey and the need to overcome it.

-       The parent's job is to nurture and admonish.  Admonition should always include instruction, not just discipline.

-       Instilling an attitude of obedience in our children is more important than the actions of obedience.

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