Welcome to the reading group! Last week we began reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. It is not too late to jump in if you’d like to join us. Today, we are sharing what we learned from chapter 2, “A Wife’s Understanding of God: God’s Protective Authority.”
Chapter 2 is continuing to lay the foundation for the chapters ahead. Before we can really work on becoming excellent wives we must first understand a few things about God and about ourselves. Once we understand these truths regarding God and our relation to Him, then we will more easily be able to trust ourselves to Him and His plan. Peace writes that there are five truths wives need to know about God. They are:
1. God has planned a ministry for you.
2. God is gracious, righteous, and compassionate.
3. God’s strength and understanding are unlimited.
4. God is purposefully working in your life.
5. God wants you to be a joyful and fulfilled wife.
We prove we have a working understanding of these things when we willingly and joyfully submit to God’s plan for wives.
Peace writes that there are also five truths wives need to know about their works and themselves:
1. God has prepared good works for the Christian wife to do.
2. The Christian wife’s good works have eternal worth!
3. The Christian wife does not have to be afraid.
4. The focus of the Christian wife is to be on God rather than herself.
5. A Christian wife does not have to sin.
Once we determine to put off self-centeredness, fear, and sin we can move forward to becoming the excellent wife God describes in His word. It is for our good and our protection that we do this. By submitting to our husbands we are actually submitting to God. Peace reminds us, however, that a husband’s authority is not absolute; God’s authority governs all we do. We are to submit to our husbands as long as they are not asking us to sin. Submitting to God and our husbands offers us spiritual protection.
To what I need to know about God:
I shared last week that I have read in dozens of books that God has planned a ministry for me, but this is the first book that spells it out that my husband is my ministry. Peace writes, “Yours and every wife’s chief end in life is to glorify God, but it is to glorify Him in the manner in which God planned.” This does not leave any wiggle room. If I’m married, then my husband is my primary ministry. Period. It doesn’t really matter if he’s a godly husband or not. This is why believing her last four points are so important. If I believe that God is gracious, righteous, and compassionate, unlimited in strength and understanding, working in my life, and desiring the best for me, then even submitting to a hard/difficult/selfish/(fill in your own adjective) man will be a spiritual discipline that will reap eternal rewards.
To what I need to know about my work and myself:
Honestly? This section made me squirm. The works God has prepared for me to do include outward actions, “but also your heart’s motive or attitude.” Huh? “It will help you to have the right attitude if you focus on what you are supposed to be doing, not on what your husband is supposed to be doing.” I can pull off doing what I’m supposed to do, but not always with a happy heart. Too many times it’s with a grumble here and there. If I’m not grumbling, then I might seem like I’m walking to the gallows. My husband hates it when I do something and act like a martyr about it.
Then she reminded me of Sarah’s example as wife to Abraham, and that I do not need to be afraid. She exposed me when she wrote that I may be afraid of being taken advantage of. “However, the most likely reason that you may be afraid to do what God wants is that you are afraid you won’t have your own way.” There is an important lesson here. Aren’t we still suffering the consequences of when Sarah acted out of fear? Who’s to say that my sins won’t have such far-reaching effects on my family for generations that come after me?
I was encouraged by the other three points. My picture of marriage has been shaped more by the world and a desire to not end up like my own parents. I’m pretty sure I have never admitted to myself that my ministry to my husband counts for eternity. Marriage is more than a means to children, or not being alone (I bet we can all think of one woman who is lonely in her marriage), and more than a spiritual partnership. What I do for my husband matters to God. That’s why it’s so important that my focus be on God. I MUST keep in mind the truth that God is working to conform me to the image of Jesus. That process includes learning to submit and minister to my husband with a happy heart, especially when I don’t want to. The standard is Jesus on the cross, ministering to sinners, while considering the joy before Him.
God has planned this for my protection from the influence of the world, the Devil, and from deception. The most interesting point Peace makes about our protection comes from Ephesians 6:10-11, 13:
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Peace writes that one way we stand firm against the devil is by being an obedient Christian. If I refuse to humbly place myself and remain under my husband’s authority, then I am being disobedient and not doing all I can to “stand firm.”
I really have no trouble (anymore) loving God’s boundaries for women in the local church. Several years ago, I thought it was unfair, and I questioned whether or not those were some rules thrown into the Bible during the Middle Ages. That was a very long time ago. Since then, God has graciously allowed me to see exactly how I can be more easily deceived than a man. Ladies, it’s sad, but true.
One thing I’ve noticed about this book is that Peace is not wordy. She doesn’t take pages and pages to get to the point. She gives the scripture and she states her point succinctly.
If you’re reading with us, please leave a comment expressing your thoughts on chapter 2. It can be as long or short as you like. I really enjoyed visiting your blogs to read what you had to say about chapter 1 last Friday. If you write a post, let me know with a comment or an email! I’ll be compiling a list like I did last week.
We keep moving forward next week with chapter 3, “A Wife’s Understanding of Sin: God’s Provision.”
Women who’ve posted on their blogs:
- Jane at Much Ado with He does all things well
- Cyndi at One Day More with God’s Protective Authority
- Kelly at A Spacious Space with Understanding My Role
- Writing and Living with An Excellent Wife
- Melissa at Breath of Life
- Lisa at Blessed
- Adzele at Journey with God
- Rebekah at Sweet Tea with Lemon
- Shawnda with Understanding God and our position before Him
- Sifted Heart at His Household
- Chris at Come to the Table with A Wife’s Understanding of God
- Amy at Another Day in Paradise
Keep reading! Click for Chapter 3.