Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Created to Be His Help Meet: Part 8

As we did for the last several weeks (see my sidebar for archived review posts),
Jenna at Proletarian
Karen at Roses and Tea
Sal at Stand up and Walk and I are reflecting on Debi Pearl's new book, Created to Be His Help Meet (which you can order here). Molly usually joins us, but she's just had a son, so she's a little indisposed!

I have noticed that when I step outside God's intended role for me, when I get rebellious, selfish and petulant and start stewing about my rights, everything falls apart pretty fast. Embarrassingly often, I look in the mirror, as James says, and forget what I look like.

Why do we (I'll at least pretend not to be the only one who does these things) seek resolution and comfort in the wrong things and the wrong ways? Why do I think I am going to gain affection or "win" an argument by pouting or getting huffy?

Why do I lose my bearings so easily?

As Debi pointed out in a couple of chapters, it's our thoughts that are often the genesis, the root, of later emotional disaster. After a mistake that sends me spiritually and emotionally hurtling through space (okay, maybe that's a little dramatic), I can see in hindsight what I could have done differently, and it's usually such a small change that could have snuffed the flame before it burned down the forest: a softened tone, a laugh, an altering of my own thoughts, a willingness to back down or be wronged for the sake of peace. The fruit of clinging to insolence and 'justice' is never sweet.

In Chapter 14 Debi instructs women on reverencing their husbands--not a popular topic, but a woman who has made mistakes in this area (and recognizes their fruit) readily sees the wisdom in it. Again, everything in this book goes back to the fundamental notion that God created women to be a helper to the man. We cannot lose sight of our purpose and role, or our marriages and families will suffer.

Our modern society has conditioned us to expect him [our husband] to serve us. It hurts our feelings if he doesn't do things that we feel he owes us, but that is not the plan God set into place. Our failure to know and believe the written words of God has caused us to accept a cultural lie.

It's this next part that grips me, because there are so many times Ryan sees right through every veneer I paint on.

Reverence is not just how you act; it is how you feel and how you respond with words and with your body language. It is not enough to get up and serve him; your eyes and the quick, carefree swing of your body must indicate your delight to be engaged in serving your man. You cannot fool a man. He can see your heart as well or better than you can (emphasis hers).

Sure, some men can be fooled. But how many women think they appear to be serving with a willing heart, when in truth their husbands see right through them? I just happen to have a husband who will call me on it then and there because he wants absolute freedom and love in our relationship, and he knows that if my heart is angry, we're not right before God together and are not really loving each other. He sees right through me when I am pretending to serve him but my heart is not there, and it's hollow for both of us.

Part of the reason it's hollow, I think, is that it does not reflect the relationship that is between Christ and the church. Jesus doesn't want a Bride that will not serve Him whole-heartedly! And He doesn't think a lot of lukewarmness, either...

Rom 1:9a
God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son...

Rom 6:17
Once you were slaves of sin, but now you have obeyed with all your heart the new teaching God has given you.

And stay with me here--I hope you can see that this verse, too, is apropos for this point. We are NOT our husbands' slaves, and we are their equals in Christ. So, too, Christian slaves were the spiritual equals of their earthly masters. But again, this whole discussion is not about equality, but about authority. Notice here that a slave isn't just to ostensibly obey his master--he is to be sincere in his heart with his service.

Eph 6:5-6
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

In the last half of the book Debi tackles the Titus 2 verse, breaking it down and arguing that when women obey these verses, they glorify God and honor their husbands, but when they disobey these commands, God is actually blasphemed:

Titus 2:1-5
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

More to come on this later this week (really this time).