God’s Protective Authority


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.”

Summary

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.

My Response

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.

Your Turn

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:

Related posts:

Keep reading! Click for Chapter 3.

20 Comments on “God’s Protective Authority

  1. The principle “The focus of the Christian wife is to be on God rather than herself.” is woven throughout the entire book. Our group is Chapter 19 now, and we have returned to that principle time and time again.When our focus is on God, we will worry less about demanding that our husband’s line up to our expectations, and more on how we can be right before God.One of the most helpful things we can do as wives is to accept the fact that making our husbands our ministry is not shameful or degrading. The world would like us to feel that we are inferior because we choose to make our homes and husbands more important than other ministries, but we don’t have to buy into that.

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  2. I have every quote that you cited highlighted in my book. Man, this week spoke to me! I haven’t had time to put my thoughts together yet, and will do that later today. Looking forward to what others have to say.

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  3. I also love all the scripture that Peace uses. There are various points that, as you said, “make me squirm,” but it is hard to argue with so much scripture supporting her points. Really enjoying the group and getting to read everyone’s perspective,

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  4. “but also your heart’s motive or attitude”….oh yes, this part hit me hard too. Like you said, sometimes I do the right thing but not always with a happy heart….this is so true of me at times, and I need to work on this for sure. thanks Leslie for hosting this.

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  5. Yes, I agree… this chapter continues the foundation. The first time I read this last summer I realized that until I fully understood this section and grappled with these truths, I would be unable to pursue being an “excellent wife” as God defines it. I agree with Kelly… the Scripture speaks for itself, it’s hard to argue with!I, too, am enjoying reading everyone’s perspectives on this book. And, your statement, “God has graciously allowed me to see exactly how I can be more easily deceived than a man. Ladies, it’s sad, but true.” gets a big AMEN from me.

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  6. 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.I agree.Like you, I was also struck with the point that my husband is my ministry. Very convicting.

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  7. I love that she says your husband IS your ministry and that she gets straight to the point.

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  8. Thank you so much, Leslie! I loved your responses on this!!! The attitude part kicked me in the BOOTIE!!! My attitude can often be incredibly poor….and I might just blame it on the weather….but it’s usually not MY fault! : ( This area really stuck out to me as well. I didn’t focus on that in my post – though I probably should have written more about that. But my heart was stirred more toward “who is God” because of Elizabeth’s response. Did you see she confessed being angry? Thanks for writing your discerning thoughts on her 1st post. I know she’s in a hard place right now, my heart breaks for her. May God’s grace, righteousness, and compassion abound in our lives and words and give Elizabeth hope and peace! : )

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  9. Another good, hard, digging chapter. As someone here said, she spells things out so simply and in a matter-of-fact way, backed with plenty of scripture, its hard to deny the things I’m reading, even though they are hard truths. Your summary format was very helpful and I liked that you emphasized the point that we need to be obedient in order to be doing all we can to “stand firm”.

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  10. “am I doing the good works that God intended for me?” pg.12So often we say, we’ll he’s not being the husband that he should be so why should I be the godly wife?What I am constantly having to remind myself is that one day I will stand before God and he won’t ask me if my husband fulfilled his purpose but HE will ask me if I fulfilled mine!!!! If that doesn’t put in perspective for you….I’m so enjoying what others have to say!!This is a great book!

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  11. oops!it should say “well” not “we’ll”I hate mistakes like that!

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  12. I have to tell you, I squirmed over this chapter, too. I also wrestled over my own post. I agree, the attitude part gets me, too. Sometimes it’s not as hard to DO the right thing as it is to have the right attitude while we do it. I’m appreciating this, Leslie!

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  13. I do agree, women can be easily deceived and can easily deceive others. I do understand about women having limited role in the church, part of me still feel that as churches have become more of a community with schools and children programs women need to have a role in this matter after all God call us to teach our children and each other.I wrote my comment on this chapter on my blog http://adzelejones.blogspot.com the title of my blog is “Journey with God” and the direct link to the post on this chapter “God’s Protective Authority” is http://adzelejones.blogspot.com/2008/04/gods-protective-authority.html#linksP.S. I figured out how to link the logo to your blog – thank you.

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  14. Hello, my post is finally up. It’s been a tough and “head cold filled weekend.” I am looking forward to reading all your post. This chapter has been very encouraging and I am blessed to be going through this with all of you. Linda

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  15. I am late this week joining the group and posting, but not late in my reading. I had to take this week slowly. I wanted to make sure I really understood everything.These foundational truths are so important. Your post is excellent Leslie!

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  16. Sorry to be late with this…I, too, enjoy the fact that the author isn’t “wordy” in her explanations or descriptions. I also appreciate that Peace isn’t assuming anything of her reader. That the reader is Christian, that she understands the basics of who God is, etc. I could easily gloss over the basics & get on to the more “meatier” parts of her book, but I’m discovering a real importance of being reminded of those basics, those facts that need to be KNOWN before jumping off into that wild frontier of discovering who God is in my own life situation & who He intends for me to be.Peace graciously & effectively reminds me that because I am a wife I have a specific purpose in my life, no getting around it. And if I am obedient to the Lord, then God’s promises will be fulfilled. I was also reminded that I need to practice letting go of having things done MY way, rather than GOD’s way. I have definitely reacted in “selfish ways” far too long.

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  17. Your post was very good Leslie. Thank you for the insight. My selfishness rear its ugly head again… the fact that my husband is the ministry that God has called me too made me realize how far away I am from doing things God’s way.

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  18. I haven’t been reading along with you all, but I’m thinking I need to go find that book and join you.You said in your post, “God has graciously allowed me to see exactly how I can be more easily deceived than a man.” Can you give some examples? I’m having a hard time envisioning in what ways we are more easily deceived.

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