Sunday, August 15, 2010

A New Look At Ephesians 5

I receive a daily bible verse with a commentary from an organization called The Berean. I love it, it is reformed and usually a great commentary. Today was not any different when I received today's verse from Ephesians 5 vs 25-32. But today I read this passage differently than I had ever read it before and I went and read the chapter in context. This chapter is from Paul admonishing the Christians of Ephesus to walk a holy life. A life that imitated Christ's walk on Earth which was completely without sin. In Christ's life not once did he sin. I can hardly go through a day, even after devotions in the morning, church two times that day and prayers at night, without sinning at least once. I can without reservations say that I sin at least once a day if I am at home all day with no contact with the outside world, if I have contact with the outside world then it goes up to about 10 times plus a few. But the part that caught my eye was in Ephesians 32 and 33. This is where Paul admonishes the woman to respect her husband. Now I have had this verse preached to me for the last 22 years. Like it is a separate command from God directed to the woman no matter what the circumstances. I have to confess that when reading this chapter in the past I overlooked an astounding truth. Now I will ask God to forgive me right here if I am misinterpreting this, but I am sure that I am not. This verse is the result of the verses that come before it. Now the submitting verses starting in verse 22 I believe are directed to the woman but only if the man is acting as Christ does in directing His church. I see very clearly that it is a command to submit to a Godly man. His actions are directed by God and therefore safe for a woman to follow his leadership. When false leaders are presented in other parts of the New Testament, Christians are told to leave that leadership. I believe that it is alright for a woman to not follow an ungodly leader.
Back to verses 32 and 33. These verses follow the Apostle Paul's commands to the husband to love the wife as first his own body then as Christ loved the church. Sacrificial love is what is commanded. This love can be shown in a myriad of ways, actions, both verbal and non verbal. But that is not what caught my attention. It was how this love leads to the verse 32 and 33 when Paul says "However, let each one of you" and I stop here because this implies that his entire discourse was directed at men. All of Ephesians chapter 5. So even the  part of submitting was directed to men implying again that the men must do something to receive the submission, in that case Godly leadership. But in verses 33 the actions of how to love their wives would result in the most coveted of emotions from a woman, not love but respect. It has been proven over and over through studies that love is not the top emotion a man wants from a woman but it is respect. Respect is the result of the commands that Paul gives to husbands. Respect is something that has been thrown like a frying pan on a woman for centuries stressing that it is her responsibility to respect her husband no matter what he does. It is impossible for a woman to respect her husband if he is not a Godly man or a man of integrity. Even an unsaved man who treats his wife with sacrificial love, will get respect from his wife. So how much more will the man who  follows Christ, imitates Christ in his own life get from his wife? He will get boundless love, submission and most of all, respect. This is something the men of the church really need to get a hold of so that their male members will stop holding these verses over women's head as a condemnation and understand their real position in the marriage. It is not a burden for the men to be held responsible for their own wives feelings and reactions, but it is a command, a directive from God. And the rewards are numerous. I have seen families of men who take the responsibility for their families spiritual and physical well being and they are  the families who even through adversity, love and cling together. It is a beautiful picture of the church.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Short Summer

This has to be the shortest summer on record for me. It has gone by like a whirlwind and now the dust is settling and is almost fall. I haven't even taken the girls to a pool this summer. That is not a good Mommy.
Hopefully now that things are settling down I can take them to one next week.

My son came home last night after being gone for almost 3 months. He is 19 now and I was surprised at how easy it was to let him go. Of course I followed him alot! Before you think I am a Stalker Mom, which I am, my son was working on a statewide political campaign for the candidate for the Public Service Commissioner of Georgia. He was the Project Director by title but he did anything and everything that needed doing alongside of the candidates beautiful, talented daughter. She was married. He is 4 years younger than her so they were great working together. But it was the other 15 or so kids between the age of 13 and 21 that were the best.

When my son was 14, I dragged him and I mean literally dragged him to a program called TeenPact. You can find more info here In one week the kids write a bill, take it through committee and then vote on it in the house and senate and then to top the week off they elect representatives and a governor. And then they take a public speaking course. They do this alongside real Senators and Representatives at their state capital. This program is now in 38 states. It is amazing as my son found out within 5 minutes. Needless to say he got so into it he was elected Representative the first year and Governor the next. Then he staffed it the next year and several other states. Another instance of Mommy Knows Best.

The reason I am telling you about this is that the man who founded TeenPact was the one who my son worked for this summer. Because my son is so super special and finally someone other than me and his grandmother saw that, just kidding, his Dad knew too, he was picked to work for this man. And an outstanding job he did I must say. He took care of anywhere from 15-25 students at a time. Almost without fail the kids that came to work on the campaign were TeenPact alumni. My son organized their day to day basic necessities along with a few other brilliant leaders who helped alongside him (Thank you Bre, Melika, Grace, Fred, Joe and Emily) and then they did what stumps adults. With their young elastic minds they navigated the portals of the Voter Registration for the state of Georgia and mapped precincts. These kids had it down to a science. But made it like Recess. I can't even begin to describe what it was like watching these young teens in front of their computers, delving into voter polls, mapping with accuracy neighborhoods into precincts, assigning houses, filling vans with kids and going door to door campaigning for not only the public service commissioner but a gubernatorial candidate and a congressional candidate.
And then while they were doing this very adult job they would break dance in the cars, sing loudly Christian songs, pray for each other, bandage each others accidents, disciple one another and play Ultimate Frisbee.

But what killed me was at night they, the kids themselves, would put together a nightly worship service of songs and prayer and a devotion by a different teen each night. I am telling you some of these kids were better than most preachers I have listened to in my 40 odd years.  They didn't speak to each other in little kid sermons they hit the deep ones that most preachers are scared to tackle: Immodesty, tattoos, premarital sex, a Godly walk in these evil days when the whole of Satan's army are after the young. They nailed it. They absolutely nailed it.  The nights I was privileged to witness these sermons without fail I cried. Not sweet little tears that you dab away but heart tears that you have to go blow your nose! I know that God must have been glorified in these kids. He had to be so pleased.

This is what my son did this summer and every chance we got my daughters and I tried to join him. My girls fell in love with about 6 new big sisters and 3 or 4 big brothers. Those kids left their footprint on my heart too. I can already see that my son misses these kids. They were his sisters and brothers in Christ and they were able to be themselves with each other and just be kids while doing a very adult job. The candidate won the nomination for the Republican party so they know their hard work paid off.

So although it was not a typical summer, and some other things went on too, it was a pretty good one. Now that my son is home we have to get ready for his sophomore year in college, online again, and get the girls back into school mode and me back into teacher mode. Maybe we can hit the pool and beach next week to make up for some lost time!