THIS WEEK’S READING: 1 Peter 3
I am a feminist – feminism looks like me, and equality is my mother tongue. And every time the Bible calls for a woman to submit, I cringe. I huff and I puff. I’m a woman who wants her husband to take her last name. I am a woman who detests being told what to do, has never been docile and always speaks her mind. You can imagine the mountain I had to climb to begin understanding 1 Peter 3.
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” -1 Peter 3:1-2
My flesh screamed, “NO!”
The Spirit whispered, “Listen.”
I had been stuck on marriage and submitting to the husbands, but 1 Peter 3 is so much more than that. Marriage is so much more than that.
Husbands lead and wives follow – not behind, but beside. The two complement each other and work together. One is not lesser than the other, just different.
For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why this book starts off with duties of the wife and why submission is SO important. Then it hit me: marriage is the earthly reflection of the relationship between the us (the Church) and Christ. The relationship is a marriage; the Church is the bride and Christ is the head.
Walking with Christ is transformative, resulting in fruit and godly conduct. Our love, faith and hope in Christ commands the submitting of our will to God’s.
Respectful submission to God’s will reaps a harvest of unity and blessings.
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” -1 Peter 3:8-9
The characteristics Peter lists are so beautiful. Each and every single one is an action. It is a call, a reminder, to live for what’s good. Following Christ requires a response – to actively care and love those around us.
In Bible study a couple nights ago, my college pastor said, “To care, but not act, is to not care at all.”
Oh boy, I felt so convicted. What good is it to say I believe in Christ and not follow his teachings? Just like a wife’s pure conduct can influence her husband; our actions can influence and intrigue those who do not believe. As Christians, our actions should win over nonbelievers.
Not only are we to be zealous in our actions, but we are to gently and truthfully tell others of the hope from Christ within us.
St. Francis once said, “Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words.”
The word gospel literally means good news. Of course, it’s necessary to use words to proclaim the good news of Jesus! But our words should always be kind and only back up the faith we are living out.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” -1 Peter 3:15-16
Children of God, preach Jesus in your actions, words and hearts.
Living out our faith is a day-to-day commitment and, at times, will be difficult. There will be times when we will be persecuted for living out our faith in Christ.
Submission isn’t easy and respect doesn’t always come naturally, but Peter reminds us why these things are important.
“…if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,” -1 Peter 3:1b (emphasis added)
At some point in our lives, somebody has shown us Jesus. Through followers of Christ submitting to God’s command to show and share the good news, we were won over.
Now we have the privilege to do the same. Who knows the impact our humble submission to God will have on the world around us?