Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Conjunctions are so important. "I generally believe in pacifism, nevertheless I must kill you now, for you have eaten the last pink Starburst."

I believe Jesus' prayer in the Garden would have been incomplete had he merely said, "Thy will be done." You know, as if he was supposed to just man up and John Wayne the Passion. Just put on your poker face and stare down the Enemy. No, Jesus didn't suppress his own identity in order to glorify His Father's. Instead, along with his unconditional surrender to the perfect will of His Father, Jesus also disclosed His own hurts, fears, and desires to His Daddy. I think this is VITAL for us as we think about what it means to live in relationships where authority and submission come into play. Jesus modeled this perfectly by making not only His surrender but also His vulnerability complete. He may have stood silent before his mockers, but not so before the True Judge. Jesus knew and even said that Pilate held no power over Him, but His plea was loud and clear to the One in Whom authority did rest. "I don't want this!" But a real man knows his place.

Nevertheless... Your will be done.

We often think that submitting to authority subverts our individuality. This is not so. It only prioritizes it according to what will bring God the most glory. I hate that the words "dominate" and "Lord" have etymological ties (domini), but Jesus showed us a different way to view "Lord." He hearkened his ear to the cry of His beloved. He had compassion upon the harassed and helpless. All authority (dominion) in heaven and on earth belonged to Him, and so He used that position to have Himself brutally murdered for the sake of our needs. That's not domination - that's lordship.

On her best days, when my wife comes to me for something, she comes having already committed to follow my lead as a fully invested supporter. But that doesn't mean she has to agree with me or keep her opinions to herself. In fact, she knows that my devotion to her means that she has more influence than anyone else in my life, and I will only tell her no when I can see no other alternative. She trusts me in that and so she feels free to be both vulnerable and submitted at the same time. She should have nothing to hide. It would grieve me to know that she had ever withheld her feelings from me in the name of obedience to me. Now translate that to your own prayer life (hint: you're the bride).

Postscript - I can sympathize with people who would prefer an egalitarian approach to marriage on the basis of having seen this trust continually violated. Nevertheless, I believe complementarian marriage reflects a very Biblical model of these relationships - both the complete vulnerability of the beloved and the final accountability of the lover for having seen to her well-being over and above his own.  Jesus, as his Father's beloved and His beloved's Husband, modeled both positions FLAWLESSLY. Let us imitate Him in whatever role we might play.


Seth C. Holler said...

Guess this is an example of my profound ignorance in certain matters, but I didnt know the complementary marriage camp endorsed that sort of use of "obedience."

Joshua Andrew Smith said...

I'm not sure if I was invited to a camp, but I think the Bible and historic Christianity do.

Maybe a near-catholic such as you would appreciate this?