The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. – Matthew 19:3-6
Have you ever stopped to consider your family? I really thought deeply about them. Why would God give you that spouse, those parents, those children or those brothers and sisters? Each relationship presents its own challenges and occasional difficulties requiring patience and loving kindness. Like all things in our lives, these things often push against our baser nature, and we can either submit to what God established or we can rebel. Submission to the Father’s will is the way of Christ.
In marriage and family, as in discipleship to Christ, submission is easily the most important action we can take every day. Submission first to God and then to one another is key to a happy and prosperous union. Without the trust and mutual kindness required of loving submission, our service is hampered and love is nothing more than a temporary feeling. Instead of something to be avoided as debasement, submission should be our point of access to a higher calling, a calling to something bigger than ourselves. This is the calling of Christ in affection for thing above. Nothing will be above us if we never lower ourselves.
In our Scripture today, Jesus was confronted on the topic of marriage as we are today. Instead of answering the surface question about divorce, Jesus challenged the underlying notion of marriage. Marriage was a union created by God in creating the sexes in the first place. He made us biologically and (dare I say) spiritually dependent upon one another. Did not Adam yearn for a companion? Was not God’s answer, Eve? She was his ideal companion. Therefore, Jesus says, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).
The question then lies not with the ideal of marriage but our conformity to it. Our issue is with our fallen pride and our unwillingness to submit when the world around and our own fleshly minds cry out for sinful independence and personal satisfaction instead of putting others first. For this reason among others, God provided His Word as a reminder and a way to wash our minds of false ideas and philosophies. The Apostle Paul went further to say, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Submission is not a dirty word. Look to Jesus for fulfillment and not yourself. He will never disappoint.