Addressing the concept of a woman’s role, particularly per biblical instruction, requires that we let go of all of the baggage of what the world has to teach us about being a wife. We need to joyfully fulfill the order that God created, because it produces happiness. Let’s start exploring the attributes of a wife as found in scripture.
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him an help meet for him.”
To properly understand “help meet” we need to define ‘meet’ which means proper, fitting, perfect, good, well-equipped. A help suitable to him. The Hebrew meaning includes the concept of strength, counterpart and sustainer beside him. So, a “help meet” is not just a body, it is a fitting match, a counterpart. It’s really about the purpose of this creation.
Place yourself in the context of the church, which is to be the bride of Christ. Are you Christ’s helper, seeking to learn what He desires and then laboring to fill up that purpose? Or are you charting your own course and then consulting Him along the way; just referencing back to Him occasionally to see if everything’s okay?
A wife, the Church, is created as a helper and that is the purpose of a wife. A suitable counterpart and strengthener to advance the purpose and intent of her husband; our husband, Christ. God orders life. And the order in which He created life, the order of life, is instructive.
Colossians 1:15 [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;
16 Because by Him were all things created, the things in heaven and the things on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether they be thrones, or lordships, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all, and by Him all things subsist.
18 And He is the Head of the body, the church; Who is the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things He Himself might hold the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell;
Christ was given dominion over creation first, before we existed. He and His Father expressly want children, an abundant household and our companionship. They want to love us, to be loved by us. We, the bride, are given to Christ by God the Father to joyfully help Him (Christ) fill up that creation and it is His creation; bearing spiritual children, ministering to them, furnishing His household who express intimate love and reverence for Him.
How about husbands and wives? This can be said very forcefully when speaking about Christ and the Church. It’s a little bit more delicate when we start talking about men and women. Christ was equal to God and He took a subordinate role. Women were created equal to men in capacity and potential, but they were put into the order of God’s creation with a subordinate, supportive role.
1 Corinthians 11:8 For the man is not of the woman, but the woman is of the man.
9 And also, the man was not created for the sake of the woman, but the woman for the sake of the man.
10 For this reason, it is necessary for the woman to have a sign of being under authority on her head because of the angels. (As a side comment: wives are placed under the headship of their husbands.)
11 Nevertheless, neither is the man separate from the woman, nor the woman separate from the man in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, so also the man is by the woman; but all things are of God.
Eve was made out of Adam, yet men are born of women and come from their mothers. This is a beautiful, intricate balance that evidenced the mind of God. It is a beautiful mind. Men and women are different. They serve different purposes and they find fulfillment in distinct ways. God’s way is antithetical to what this world teaches us. Mankind propagates marriage models that are deceitful and abusive. Regardless if we’re talking about western liberalism or Islam, what we are taught about marriage in this world is wrong and it creates misery.
1 Timothy 2:12 For I do not permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over man, but to be in quietness.
13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, (That means Adam knowingly sinned, which is probably worse. But Eve was deceived.) but the woman came to be in transgression by being deceived.
Therefore, we need to fear God and recognize the instructions that come from His word. Seek to do what He tells us in faith. No matter how out of sync it feels, no matter how out of balance it seems to us, these principles are given to us by Him who ordered life, who created life and He knows what works. It applies in marriages, it works in employer/employee relations and it works in Church government, too.
Being in a position of responsibility as a husband has a burden, a weight. You are the target of all the complaints, all of the resistance, all of the challenges because the buck stops with you and you must deliver solutions. For those in the subordinate role, when you are not in the chair of ultimate responsibility, it is very difficult to self-regulate and the tendency is to push and pick and demand more. And the person in charge doesn’t necessarily have all the answers. They don’t necessarily have the solutions. What kind of wife are you to Jesus Christ today? Are you nagging and taking or are you encouraging and helpful?
Proverbs 18:22 Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 12:4 A woman of virtue is a crown to her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
A wife is a gift to her husband from God. A joy. A helper. A pleasure. A strengthener. Ladies and men, are we that gift? Are we that strengthener, that joy, to Christ?
Here are some additional points that are instructive of the characteristics of a wife.
Titus 2:4 (Elder women should) …teach the young women to love their husbands and to love their children;
5 To be modest, chaste, keepers of the home; to be good and to submit themselves to their own husbands, so that the Word of God may not be blasphemed.
You do these things as a wife so that the Word of God is not blasphemed! That’s big! Church members, are we these things to Christ or are we blaspheming the word of God? Are we modest, chaste, keepers at home, doing the will of our husband? If we’re not, we’re at risk of blaspheming the word of God.
The Bible is replete with instructions and examples of good and bad wives: Sarah, Ruth, Abigail, Esther, Jezebel, the Babylonian whore of Revelation. There are examples of what this role is and is not. Modern Christianity has plenty of self-help work that is right on the money with the physical characteristics of being a wife. There’s no excuse for us to not understand it. Even secular books can understand what being a wife means. It’s simple Christian living. We must study it, soak on it; we must live it. That’s the hard part.
We can get stuck on this idea of submission in the Church because it’s so distasteful that we think: “Well, we’ve got to front up and talk about this concept of being a submissive wife and here we go. We’ll say it again, then we’re not going to talk about it for a while.” It’s such a narrow focus of what the wife’s role is.
What kind of helper would you want? If you were assigned to captain a ship, what would be the characteristics you would look for in a first mate? A submissive one? That’s not ideal. If you had God power, universal dominion and eternal life — what are you looking for in a wife? A lot more than obedience, one would think!
So, in our relationship to Christ are we negative, nagging, whining, pushing, discontented, bull-headed, foolish? Are we just even keeled or ambivalent? We’re submitted, we’re subjugated, compliant, passive, almost apathetic. Is that good enough for Christ? Or are you positive? Are you a dynamic force; bright, fun, effective, enterprising and practical in the shared work that you’re doing? The captain of the ship would want that dynamic, powerful first mate. And certainly, the Lord of the universe would want more than a subjugated bride.
Matthew 25 is the parable of the faithful servant. Here the Kingdom of God is likened to a man who goes on a trip, he puts all of his servants in charge of his goods and he gives them talents. Those talents are funds, really. Five, two and one talents are given out. He doesn’t give them any instructions. He just gives it to them and he goes off on his trip. Two of the servants are creative, enterprising and risk-taking. The third servant, though, is submissive? He returned his talent safe and the master disdained him for it. The faithful servants were the ones that took the risks, were enterprising with what they were given and it grew and expanded the master’s portfolio. The one who did nothing, who simply sat and waited for the master’s next set of instructions, received nothing but rebuke.
Submission is not enough for a bride of Christ or for any wife. So, what are you and I doing to expand, to express and grow Christ’s purpose?
The Proverbs 31 woman, which is the obvious place to look, is powerful, dynamic, wise, enterprising, hardworking, hospitable, gracious, affectionate and capable. She is a magnetic character. She is in every way her husband’s equal, with the same potential to be a member of the God family. She will have glory, power and capacity. Yet, she obeys God and the order in which He placed her. She deploys all of her creative power, all of her capability, to realize the will of her husband. That’s what sets her apart. She is the observable, expressed glory of her husband. That’s what Christ does for God the Father and so we must do for Christ our Husband – both personally and as a Church. We can start now in small ways. We can practice that. Employees, are you the glory of your employer? Wives, are you the glory of your husband?
The alternative example to this is Satan. He corrupted himself. He was given power and capability that we can’t even imagine. Then he decided to pursue his own agenda. We can see the fruit of that mindset all around us. Is it good? Do we see peace and happiness produced from his unwillingness to follow God’s instructions?
Would you or I be any different? Imagine, if God transformed us to be His full spirit children today. You are given eternity. Full access to the same power that God and Christ have.There are no limits and no personal consequences. What kind of force are you in the universe? Good or evil?
Christ is proven. He conceded even His God-being status, which to us is unfathomable. You can almost understand giving up physical life as a sacrifice in some kind of heroic way. But to give up eternal life! It’s amazing! He did that because it was the Father’s will and because He wanted what the Father wanted, which is eternal life for us. We are being judged now. We are being asked to qualify in the same way that Christ is qualified, learning to be a fitting helper, expanding the will of our husband. Because if we can’t show God that we’re capable of being a wife today, He’s not going to give us eternal life to find out what we do with it later.
So, let’s take advantage of these opportunities now in this practice zone of marriage, of employment, of whatever else you’re doing in life. Learn how to be a wife. Our Husband eagerly awaits His wife, a righteous woman, beautifully arrayed, bearing spiritual children into His family. Ministering to them with sustenance and shelter. Extending a warm and good household that glorifies His name. Ruling at His side in strength into the everlasting and ever-expanding Kingdom of God. A “help meet.”
By Staff Writer