Monday, August 8, 2011

"In the same way, you husbands ought to..."

Yesterday I attended Kenmore's Northshore Church. I've been there a few times and really like it. Pastor Steve spoke on 1 Peter 3, a passage that goes against our culture in asking wives to respect the authority of their husband.

What caught my eye? The little phrase prefacing instructions to husbands: "In the same way, you husbands ought to..."

What did Peter say? "In the same way as..." Peter has just instructed wives to live with respect and humility, not relying on outward beauty nor flashy appearances but on her quiet, meek spirit. Those beautiful attitudes form godly behaviors.

A male loud-mouth, revving his muscle car, preening with tailor-cut suits, handmade shoes, or custom golf clubs, one who emphasizes status at work -- a guy who gets jazzed about his "best barbecue" skills and other displays of one-upmanship -- does not reflect the spirit Peter encourages in men and women.

Over the years, I've heard apologetic sermons, excuses of "culture was different back then," and other explanations about Peter's intentions and God's mission for women.

Steve did a good job of showing how the respect a woman shows her husband, especially when her position is culturally powerless, would help him to note the transforming power of following Christ. "Back then, a man coming to Christ would bring his family into the faith. A woman would have no such power. But her changed behavior would show her husband and the whole family the difference Christ makes in us."

In today's culture where gender equality is a hot button, a man with strength, meekness, humility, and respect for others stands out as much a woman with the same qualities.

Only Christ can produce such a transformation in us. Our natural tendency is to "look out for ourselves" and act with self-interest.

Jesus, through Peter's letter, encourages us to move beyond cultural norms to reflect his humble character and the fruit of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..." (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV). 

Read more:
*Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV

*Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:1-10 NIV 

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