Yes, I have been somewhat negligent in posting my thoughts on The Excellent Wife. Blog break and spring break apparently resulted in a break from the reading group as well, so today I make up for lost time.
In Chapter 2, Martha Peace explores the foundational truth of God’s authority. It is critical that we understand God’s sovereignty in order to submit to His plan of submitting to our husbands. We don’t like the word submit. I can remember thinking quite clearly that surely God didn’t intend for that word to mean what it seems to mean. Nope, submit means just that, and if we as wives are to be the excellent wives God intends, we must understand His protection and His plan. His commands are for our good:
His plan was devised from His perfectly pure heart of love…you may never comprehend all the reasons why God does what He does, but you can trust that He knows better than you what you really need. Keep in mind that you will never be what God wants you to be until you place yourself under God’s plan by coming under the authority of your husband. (p. 17)
But we sin. Peace deals with the understanding of our sin and our glorious provision in Christ in Chapter 3. Here we are reminded that we are to put off the old and put on the new. It is not enough to merely acknowledge our sinful actions and attitudes. We must flee from our sin, turning away from it and turning to righteousness. It is a process, one that occurs only through the grace and provision of the Holy Spirit. I cannot choose righteousness through my self determination nor resolution to “do better.” As Peace states, “the only real way to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ is to think according to His Word.” As I focus on the Lord Jesus, fixing my eyes on the Author and Perfector of my faith, I will be transformed into His image, from glory to glory…
In Chapter 4, Peace explores the nature and unity of the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as a model for the unity that ought to exist between husband and wife. This unity is possible only through Jesus Christ. “Only in Christ can the realtionship of a husband and wife be godly, good, and righteously intimate.” (p. 28) How is this possible? We must cease thinking only of ourselves and place our husband’s needs above our own:
In order to be perfected in unity, you must stop asking yourself questions like, “what will it do for me?” or “What will I get out of it?” or “How will it meet my desires (needs)?”…you must become like and act like Jesus…in order to be like Christ, you must think as well as act like Christ. To accomplish this goal, your motivation must change from “What can I get out of this?” to “What can I give?”
Because our natural tendency is to “self,” it is important to be daily in God’s Word which is “living and active” and “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Holy Spirit will use the Holy Word of God to convict you at your deepest level so that your motivation in your relationship with your husband may be for the glory of God instead of self.
Several years ago I would meet regularly with three other ladies for prayer. All three ladies were older and wiser than me, and as a young mom of preschoolers (only two at the time), I drank in their wisdom and advice. This week’s reading reminded me of something one of the ladies once told me: “The more I prayed for the Lord to change my husband, the more I realized the Lord wanted to change me.”
I have a wonderful, godly husband who loves me, though at times I wonder why. Like you, I sometimes want to blame and accuse him when really the Lord is seeking to change me. I am indeed selfish and self centered, so often concerned only with me, me, me. I want to put off the old self, it is crucified with Christ, and put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, loving my husband as God intends. Only by the grace of God!
Check out Leslie’s thoughts as well as what the other participants had to say at Lux Venit.