HIGH STANDARDS 

“Who can find a virtuous wife?” asks the writer of Proverbs 3. This eloquent chapter of the Bible is commonly referenced as the standard for the Christian wife.  It clearly outlines how to live as a godly wife and is worthy of repeated reading and studying. This high standard for womanhood was penned by King Lemuel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But this chapter does not contain a man’s lofty notions of the “ideal woman”. It instead contains biblical truths that were taught to the king by his mother, a woman who apparently understood about living virtuously (Prov 31:1).

It is important to remember that the truths taught in Proverbs 31 are intended as inspiring goals for a woman. They represent what is possible for a woman and wife to accomplish over a lifetime. No woman could possibly do and be everything outlined in Proverbs 31 all in the same season of her life. But this chapter does help a woman to see what is possible to achieve in her lifetime if she applies diligence, work, prayer, godly wisdom and God’s great grace and help.

Proverbs 31 describes a woman who takes good care of her household, has a right relationship with her husband, can handle business matters, works hard, is physically fit, serves the needy, is wise in her decisions, and more. This can seem like a difficult, even impossible, model for a woman and wife to follow.

But remember: The commandments of the Lord “are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The guidelines of Proverbs 31 are not rigid rules, intended to make a woman feel weighed down with guilt or failure about her inability to perform every task outlined.  Instead, the truths of Proverbs 31 teach what is possible for a wife to fulfill when she lives her life in yielded submission to God and obedience to His loving commands. She can live on a path of continual growth as a godly, productive and virtuous woman, “through Christ who strengthens” her (Phil 4:13).

But how does a woman begin on this path to becoming a godly and effective wife? What are the foundational biblical truths she needs to understand before attempting to apply the practical truths of Proverbs 31?

FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSE

Every Christian woman should desire to please the Lord and fulfill God’s purpose for her life. However, she may not understand what God’s purpose is for her life. She may even be afraid she has somehow missed what God has for her, wondering whether or not she is properly using her time, energy and gifts.

A faithful disciple of the Lord – man or woman – would never, want to walk in willful disobedience to God’s plans for them. But if a woman does not understand the priorities God has set for her, she may end up going down a wrong path that takes her far away from God’s will for her life.

Thus, it is important for every Christian woman, wife and mother to understand what the Bible teaches about God’s priorities for women.

WOMAN’S CREATED PURPOSE

First of all, it is important to remember that the creation of the female was very much in God’s plan for mankind. This is seen in Genesis 1:27:“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It took the creation of both male and female to adequately reflect the image and glory of God.

Thus, a primary purpose for both a man and a woman is to be a vessel that brings glory and honor to God (2 Tim 2:21). They are both to reflect the image of God (as was seen in the previous article), and live as examples of His great love and redemption (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18).

Thus, a Christian woman’s first priority is to live in a way that honors and brings glory to the Lord (1 Cor 6:19, 20). This can be accomplished only through daily prayer and fellowship with God – and by learning and obeying God’s instructions for life, the Bible. Prayer and Bible study are things a woman must find time for each day. She cannot be or do all that she should without full dependence upon God for everything she needs.

All that a godly woman does should be based on her desire to love, serve and obey the Lord (Deut 6:5). A woman should not want to be a good wife only to please her husband or to gain his favorable response. This desire in a wife can fade if a husband fails or disappoints her. Likewise, a mother should not want to train her children just so others will think she has done well. She should do so because God through His Word instructs her to (Prov 22:6).

Doing all to please the Lord is not always easy, nor is it quickly accomplished. Our flesh resists obeying God and being conformed into His image (Rom 8:29; 12:1, 2). However, God has supplied all that we need to overcome our fleshly ways and choose instead to obey the Word and the Spirit of God (Rom 13:14; Gal 5:16-23; Eph 4:20-24).

One of the most powerful verses for women in all the Bible contains the words spoken to the Lord by Mary, the mother of Jesus: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word …” (Luke 1:38).

God was requiring Mary to do a very hard thing. Yet she was willing to do whatever God asked of her. She recognized that she was a handmaiden of the Lord, and her heart was set to obey Him and serve Him.

This kind of heart is why God chose Mary for the special task of bearing the Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals this about Mary: “the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28) and “you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).

God – the One Who looks upon the hearts of people (1 Sam 16:7) – saw within Mary a heart that was completely yielded to the purposes of God. She loved God and, putting her own desires second, allowed God’s desires for her to be realized (Ps 37:4).

A godly woman recognizes the importance of wanting only what God wants. She will not hold onto her life and live only for herself (Matt 10:39). She will be willing to lay down her own desires in order to serve a much higher purpose: God’s desires and plans for her, her husband, her children and others.

Thus, the first priority for a godly woman also includes yielding her life to God in obedience. She is to cooperate with God’s work in her life to become a person who gives glory and honor to God through both her words and her deeds. 

THE UNMARRIED WOMAN

 If a woman chooses not to marry, her first priority is still to become a yielded vessel of honor, as described above. Her second priority is to use her time and energy to serve the Lord and serve others in ministry (1 Cor 7:8, 27-35). Of course, she may need to have a job and provide a living for herself. But her remaining time can be devoted to serving the Lord and ministering to others.

THE MARRIED WOMAN

The Bible contains very specific instructions for the married woman. A married woman’s priorities are different from those of an unmarried woman. After her relationship with God, the next priority for a married woman is to care for and partner with her husband.

Paul discussed this in his first letter to the Corinthian church: “But she who is married cares about…how she may please her husband” (1 Cor 7:34). Paul was reminding them that marriage was a big responsibility. It was a lifetime commitment that required much time and energy in order to be fruitful. A woman who chose to marry would have to devote much of her time to her husband.

This primary focus for a wife is again mentioned in Titus 2:4, where older women are told to “admonish the young women to love their husbands”. It is clear that one of a wife’s priorities would be her relationship with her husband.

A HELPER

The Bible says that God made the male form of mankind first (Gen 2:7, 21, 22). God made provision for his needs, and gave him jobs to perform and instructions to fulfill (Gen 2:7-20).

Then God Himself said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Gen 2:18). The Lord God, in His infinite wisdom and power, knew that a man could better fulfill what God required of him if he had a female partner, a “helper” who was like him.

A “helper comparable” as used in Genesis 2:18 (also “helpmeet” – kjV)’ is best defined as “someone in the same likeness to assist or aid”. Woman was the only created being with a form and likeness similar to man’s. She was given to man by God in order to assist or aid him. She was to help him in his daily work and provide him with support and companionship. The husband and wife were to partner together in the bearing and raising of children.

It is significant to note that Eve was created from the rib of Adam. She came from a bone in his side. This beautifully illustrates how a husband and wife are positioned side by side. They are to stand alongside each other. They are to provide help, support and encouragement for each other, in order to fulfill all that God has destined for them.

So the second priority for a wife – after her relationship of love and obedience to God – is to be a helper to her husband. Let us now look at specific instructions the Bible gives to a wife about how to be a good and godly helper to her husband.

GOD’S ORDER OF AUTHORITY

One of the clearest sets of instructions for marriage is found in Ephesians 5:22-33. For the wife, there are two specific instructions in this passage. Let us look at the first one now.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is Head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph 5:22-24).

God originally created both man and woman to rule to get ­ as partners and act as stewards of the earth that God had created. “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion [rule] over it.’” (Gen 1:28)

But both man and woman chose to rebel against God’s word; as a result, sin entered the world (Gen 3:1-7). It was at this time that God set in motion plan for redeeming mankind from the curse of sin and established a new order (Gen 3:8-21).

As part of this new redemptive order, God established levels of authority on earth.  Before sin’s entrance, God had all authority, and Adam and Eve obeyed Him willingly. There was no need for human authority to be established.

But mankind’s choice to sin led to increasingly selfish and wicked behavior, which in turn led to disorder and chaos. God eventually established governments and leaders in order to maintain a righteous “rule and order on the earth until the end of the age (1 Cor 15:24).

God’s order of authority began with the husband and wife. God put the husband in a position of authority over his wife (Gen 3:16). This does not mean the husband is somehow better or superior to his wife. God, in His wisdom, instructed the husband to fulfill the role of headship, to protect his wife and lead her in godliness.

The previous article on the biblical role of the husband (page 19) clearly explains how a husband is charged by God through the Scriptures to lead his wife and family in this way.

Among the things required for a man to lead in a biblical manner, he is to:

  • Be the head of the wife (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23)
  • Provide this headship with love (Eph 5:25; Col 3:19)
  • Love his wife as Christ loves the Church (Eph 5:25), with a servant heart and in a manner that honors and pleases the Lord
  • Honor his wife and lead with understanding (1 Pet 3:7)
  • Love his wife without bitterness (Col 3:19)
  • Care for his wife as he would his own body (Eph 5:28, 29).

To love and serve his wife in this manner is a husband’s greatest responsibility and highest privilege.

THE TRUE MEANING OF SUBMISSION

Just as the husband is charged to love his wife as Christ loves the Church, the wife is charged to come under the husband’s protective covering and receive his love and headship in the home. The wife is to receive – not resist – the headship role God has given her husband. She is to follow her husband’s leadership. That is what is meant by submission (Eph 5:22).

The word “submission”  is made from two Greek words: hupo, which means “under”, and tasso, which means “an orderly manner, appoint”.  So the word submission literally means “to live in an orderly, appointed manner under headship”. When the Bible instructs a wife to submit, it means that God has appointed a wife to live under the leadership of her husband in a God-ordered manner.

Many women fear submission. They may think submission means they are somehow less worthy or less loved by God than a man is. Or because of abuse or mistreatment by a male authority figure, a woman may think submission is a bad thing and should be resisted.

But God understands better than we can the special way He created a woman. She is unique, and as a different makeup and role than a man.  A woman is more tender and sensitive; she is “weaker” (1 Pet 3:7), which means more vulnerable to attack because of her lesser physical strength. Thus, God provided a way for women – His daughters (2 Cor 6:18) – to be loved, cared for and protected. And He charged husbands to fulfill this role.

Sadly, many men do not understand the role God has given them as husbands. They may not properly love or care for their wives. At the same time, many women do not understand how to receive their husband’s love and leadership. They may fail to encourage, support or help him. This misunderstanding of the biblical roles of husband and wife is the ca use of much heartache and disillusionment in marriage.

PUTTING ASIDE UNGODLY INCLINATIONS 

God commanded the husband to love his wife; He also commanded the wife to submit to her husband. These commands are repeated several times in the Bible (Eph 5:22-28; Col  3:18,19; 1 Pet 3:1-7).

In the natural, fleshly realm, a man’s first instinct is not to love someone else; it is to think of his own desires first. Thus, the Bible reminds a husband repeatedly that he is to love his wife. A godly man will choose to “crucify” his own fleshly desires (Gal 5:24), and instead obey the spiritual commands of God to love his wife.

A woman’s natural, fleshly inclination is to want to control, not to submit. She was originally created to co-rule with man. But after the Fall, she was to be subject to God’s order of authority, and be led by her husband. God warned her, “your desire shall be for your husband” (Gen 3:16). In other words, her fallen, sinful nature would desire to have the man’s position of authority. So the Bible repeatedly reminds a wife to submit to her husband. A godly wife should no longer give place to her fleshly inclinations to control or resist her husband. She should instead obey God’s command to submit and receive her husband’s God ­ appointed leadership in her life.

TRUSTING IN GOD

A wife must remember that it is God Who established the role of the husband as the authority over her. A husband does not earn this responsibility; he is commanded by God to lead and serve his wife in this way.

When a wife resists her husband’s authority, she is also resisting God’s will and order. When she receives her husband’s leadership and authority, she is also receiving God’s order. However, this does NOT make the husband a “god” – for he, too, is to submit to God’s authority in his life (1 Cor 11:3; Jas 4:7).

When a wife chooses to obey God and submit to her husband – even if the husband fails in his responsibilities to the wife – God is the One Who will deal with the husband AND provide for the wife.

A good example of this is found in the story of Abraham and Sarah (Gen 12:10-20; 20:1-18). There were two instances when Abraham foolishly and fearfully lied about Sarah, and failed to protect her. Yet, Sarah still submitted, and God was the One Who stepped in to protect and help Sarah.

How was Sarah so willingly able to trust and submit to her husband?  We get some insight  in 1 Peter 3:5,6: “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord [a term of respect, not worship], whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”

We see in this passage two very important qualities in Sarah’s life that helped her to submit with reverence to her husband.

First, she trusted in God. Sarah obviously knew and walked with God, and she trusted Him. She believed that if God established an order of submission for her life, it must be good for her. She trusted that God’s order is always best.

Secondly, Sarah was not afraid. She knew God, and did not fear what might happen if she obeyed the Lord and submitted to her husband. Sarah chose to remain under her husband’s leadership. Even when, in weakness and fear, he stumbled and opened his wife up to harm, it was God Who intervened on Sarah’s behalf and provided for and protected her.

In the case when a husband is not a believer who is submitted to Christ’s Lordship, the wife is still encouraged to live with faith and trust in God and in submission to her husband 1 Pet 3:16). Her gracious and loving manner will be a strong testimony to her husband of God’s love, grace and redeeming power in her life.

A LOVING PARTNERSHIP

Biblical submission does not mean that a wife will always agree with her husband. There may be times when a wife does not agree with a decision her husband wants to make. She should be free to share her ideas, with a loving and non-critical attitude.

A wise and loving husband will take the time to listen to the advice or opinions of his wife. He will be sensitive to her concerns. He may find that she has a wiser perspective on a certain matter, and graciously acknowledge it to her. Or, he may disagree with her perspective, and lovingly and patiently explain to her the reason for his different perspective.

The Bible instructs all believers to be humble and mutually submitted to one another, never “lording” their God-given authority over another (1 Pet 5:1-7). This is also true in a godly marriage.

It is not important who is “right”. What is important is that believers – including a married couple – work toward unity and agreement. A godly and loving marriage is a partnership, in which two people are growing together as one (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5, 6). A husband and wife must have many conversations and share their thoughts openly with each other in order to come to a place of “oneness” and agreement in their marriage.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE

It is important to note that a woman does not have to subject herself to harm or abuse in the name of submission; and a husband is charged never to exploit a wife’s trust or misuse his position of authority (Eph 5:25-29; 1 Pet 3:7). A godly husband will never intentionally harm his wife or family, or ask them to do anything that is contrary to the Word of God.

It is equally important to note that a loving wife, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, is precious not only to her husband (Prov 31:10, 11), but also in the sight of God (1 Pet 3:4). Even if a husband fails at times to provide loving, godly headship, a wife’s gracious attitude will still allow the testimony of Christ to be raised (1 Pet 3:1-7).

TRUE LIBERATION

Submission is a difficult subject to understand. There is much abuse of this principle by those in authority; and much resistance to it by those who are to be under submission.

But remember that submission is a dear principle established by an all-loving, all-wise God. He intended for a wife to be protected and blessed by her husband’s loving, Christ-like headship.

A woman’s true freedom can come only through the knowledge of genuine truth (John 8:31, 32), and the application of that truth in her personal life (Jas 1:22). It is through trust in God and His order that a wife can be fully released – truly liberated – to become all that God desires her to be.

THE BIBLICAL MEANING OF RESPECT

Ephesians 5 contains a second instruction for wives: “Let the wife see that she respects [reverences) her husband” (v.33).

The original Greek word for “respects” is phobeo, which means “revere, be in awe of, [reverential] fear”.

This does not mean a wife is to be afraid of her husband. Phobeo is the same kind of “fear” or reverence that we are to have of the Lord (Ps 5:7). We honor God and hold Him in high esteem, not cower because we are afraid of Him.

In the same manner, a wife is to hold her husband in high esteem and honor him as the God-appointed head of the home. A wife can submit to her husband, and obey everything he asks her to do. But if her attitude does not reflect respect or reverence for the position God has given him, she is not practicing true, godly submission.

A husband needs his wife’s respect. He needs the encouragement of a wife who is supportive of his leadership. He does not need someone to mock him or criticize his every mistake; this will discourage him from becoming a good effective, loving leader in the home.

To respect or reverence her husband means a wife is to honor the position of headship given to him by God.  A wife is to highly esteem the position God has given her husband as head, even if his behavior makes that difficult to do.

God is the One Who appoints a husband to lovingly lead his wife. If a wife does not honor and respect her husband’s God-given role, she is setting herself against God’s Word and will. Opposing God is a very dangerous and foolish thing for anyone to do – man or woman.

Earlier in this article it was stated that every godly person wants to do the will of God. But a woman who does not understand the biblical priorities God has given her can end up actually opposing the will of God for her and her family! That is why it is important for a woman to understand and put into practice the role God has called her to fulfill.

Respect and reverence for her husband is a priority for a wife in marriage. The model for how a Christian wife should respect and honor her husband is best seen in the way the Church is to love and honor Christ (Eph 5:24). This kind of love and respect from a wife to a husband can be shown in many ways. She can:

  • serve him willingly;
  • acknowledge his God-ordained place as the head;
  • respond to his leadership in obedience;
  • listen to him;
  • love and receive him;
  • praise and edify him;
  • trust him;
  • be unified in purpose and will with him;
  • be a true helper.

As a Christian wife prays, studies her Bible and seeks the Lord, she will discover many more ways to love and respect her husband in a way that glorifies God and honors her husband.

BEING A MODEL OF GODLY RESPECT

Many women have difficulty respecting their husbands. They think a husband has to first behave in a certain way or act perfectly, and then they will respect and honor him. But that is not biblical respect.

Just as a wife should not have to “earn” her husband’s love by trying to be perfect, neither should a husband have to “earn” his wife’s respect. A husband should love his wife because God has charged him to do so. In the same way, a wife should respect her husband because God has charged her to do so in His Word.

Of course, a wife should always strive to be a godly woman her husband can easily love; and a husband should work at living in a godly manner that his wife can respect. But neither a husband’s love nor a wife’s respect can be earned.

Respect is a choice a woman makes. She willingly decides that she will honor and respect the position of headship God has given her husband.

Respect is also reflected in a wife’s attitude. She must choose to speak to her husband with respect, and honor his position by supporting his leadership. She must support him both in the home, and in public settings, with both her words and her actions.

A wife’s loving respect will be a tremendous encouragement to her husband, and will help him to lead her in a worthy manner. Her respect for him will also be a wonderful model to the children in the home. They will learn how to respect and honor the Lord and others who are in positions of authority in their lives by watching their mother respect their father.

GOD’S AUTHORITY IN MARRIAGE

As a wife learns to respect her husband, she must also learn that it is not her role to correct him or shape his character. Often, a wife wants to tell her husband the things that are “wrong” with him, and what he should do to change them!

It is true that a wife knows her husband very well. She sees his flaws and knows his weaknesses. But a godly wife also understands it is NOT her place to change her husband into what she wants him to be.

Only God

  • has the wisdom to know what He wants a person to become and how they can grow into all that He has for them
  • truly knows His will for each person and when it is time for Him to shape or change something in a person’s life
  • can truly change a person from within, in a way that is lasting.

A godly wife realizes that her husband belongs to God and is under God’s authority. She can respect her husband’s position of headship – and God’s authority over him – by praying for her husband every day. If she notices weakness or failure in her husband, she has the privilege and responsibility of asking the Lord to help or to convict her husband. She must then trust the Lord to work in her husband’s life.

There are occasional times when a wife may – and should – sensitively give her husband helpful suggestions or constructive criticism. A wise husband will welcome his wife’s loving input. However, a wife is NOT to try and control her husband’s life or character.

Instead, she should encourage his strengths, and be patient and prayerful as God shapes and trans­forms her husband more and more into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18).

(NOTE: If a husband’s behavior is harmful to the wife, children or others, then a wife should seek godly counsel and help. Or if there is much strife and many problems in a marriage, then both the husband and wife should seek out godly, biblical counsel and assistance.)

A wife cannot truly respect and honor her husband by mere will­power alone – just as a husband cannot truly love his wife in his own strength. But a husband and wife are Christ’s workmanship (Eph 2:8-10). The Spirit of God is at work in every Christian, building them up and sanctifying them as they yield to His work. God has provided everything a man or woman needs to be a godly spouse. They need only pray for God to shape them more and more into His image, in order to love, honor and respect their spouse as they should. This process takes daily effort over a lifetime, but is well worth the effort required to enjoy a godly marriage and family.

PARENTING: A VITAL ROLE

We have now examined the first two priorities God gives to a woman through His Word. The first priority for a woman is her relationship and walk with God. This, along with Bible study and prayer, will help her to become a woman whose words and actions bring glory to God and blessing to others.

The second priority for a wife is to be a helper to her husband.  She must love and care for her husband, receive with submission his God given role of headship, honor and  respect  him, and be a good partner to him in life and ministry.

A woman needs to take the necessary time each day to work on these first two priorities. But what is the next priority for a godly woman?

We find it in Titus 2:4: “Admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children…”.

A wife’s third priority (if she has children) is to love and care for her children. According to Scripture, both she and her husband must share this responsibility in order to properly raise and train their children (Gen 1:27; Deut 6:6,7; Prov 22:6; Eph 6:1-4).

When children are young, they require much time and attention. A wife might feel she has time for nothing else but caring for the children. ‘But she must also try to maintain her other priorities: giving time each day to her relationship with God, and to her relationship with her husband.

There are serious consequences when a wife begins to place her children above her husband in importance. (For an example of the problems this creates, read the story of Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24-28, especially 25:28 and 27:1-46.)

The same can be true if a husband begins to neglect his wife because of long hours at work or in ministry. The wife, the marriage and the family will suffer.

There is no other human relationship as important as the husband and wife relationship. BOTH the husband and wife must give their relationship the time and attention necessary to keep it healthy and to maintain unity.

In addition, they both must devote time to raising and training their children in the ways of the Lord. Children need love, care, feeding, nurturing, training and discipline to grow up to be godly and productive adults. Both the husband and wife are charged by God to devote themselves to this privilege and responsibility.

To properly raise children in a biblical manner, parents should include the following:

  • teach, train and nurture children (Deut 4:9; 6:6, 7; Prov 22:6; Eph 6:4)
  • sanctify children to God through prayer and worship (Job 1:5; Luke 2:22, 23)
  • include children in worship times (Josh 8:35; Neh 12:43; Luke 2:41-46)
  • restrain children from evil (1 Sam 3:13; 1 Tim 3:4,12)
  • chasten/ discipline children (Prov 13:24; 22:15; 29:15, 17; Heb 12:6)
  • love their children (Prov 13:24; Titus 2:4)
  • be forgiving toward children (Luke 15:20-24; Eph 4:32)
  • provide a godly example to children (2 Chr 26:4 2 Tim 1:5)

Godly parenting cannot be accomplished with only occasional interaction with one’s children. Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 makes it clear that properly raising your children takes daily conversation, training and discipline.  Opportunities arise every day for parents to communicate God’s love, His Word and His plans for their children. Parents must be present with their children and available to them in order to adequately train and raise them.

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

As children grow in godliness and as a marriage matures, both require less time to manage. What then is a fourth priority for a Christian wife, according to Scripture?

When a husband and wife are each day devoting themselves to God, their marriage, and their children, and when a husband is providing for his family – what is next? After these priorities are being met, the husband and wife can then minister to the Body of Christ.

Often times, leaders in the church get this confused. They think they must minister to everyone else in the church first. Then, if they have any time or energy left, they might spend a little time with their spouse or children. This is NOT God’s order for the married Christian!

Ministry is very important, yes. Christians are to be light and salt to the world (Matt 5:13-16), participate in church (Heb 10:25), and share the Gospel with others (Acts 1:8; 1 Pet 3:15). But ministry is not to replace the family priorities God has made clear in the Bible for both a husband and wife.

Ministry to others must be balanced with the very important marriage and family responsibilities already given by God in His Word. As stated previously, the orderly home life and right relationships of the ministering person must come before leadership and ministry (1 Tim 3:1-7).

KEEPING YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

God does not change (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8). He has already made clear in the Bible His plan for a husband and wife. God will never call someone to do something that does not agree with what He has already said in the Bible! If a man or woman thinks God has told them to do something, and it does not agree with the Bible, it is NOT from God. God’s Word is complete and final, and is not to be changed or added to (Ps 119:89; Isa 40:8; Rev 22:18, 19).

Today, Christian men and women are often tempted to abandon their God-given roles in order to pursue things they perceive as more ”exciting” or “important”. Many people in the world around them are abandoning their spouse for someone else, or replacing their role as parents with their work outside the home. Even ministers can become too busy serving the church to take proper care of their families.

Christians must not become deceived by or follow the unbiblical standards that they see in others. If they do, their marriages and families will suffer.

God has made very clear in His Word what His priorities are for a Christian husband and wife. If a husband and wife truly desire all that God has for them, they will follow what He has already instructed them to do in His Word. When they are faithful and obedient in the responsibilities God has already given, then God will release more privilege and responsibility to them (Matt 25:21; 1 Tim 3:8-13).

God honors faithfulness and a heart that is yielded to Him. He looks for those who are obedient and completely devoted to Him­ and then chooses to do great things through them (2 Chr 16:9).

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR WIVES

There are many passages in the Bible that give practical instruction for living as a godly, loving wife and a fruitful Christian. Take time to read and study the passages below:

Deuteronomy 6:6, 7; Proverbs 14:1; 31:10-31; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Philippians 2:14, 15; 1 Timothy 3:11,12; Titus 2:1-5.

Add to this list other Bible passages you find helpful for instruction in being a godly wife and mother. You might each week choose an area of your life that needs improvement, and then put into practice the godly principles you learn from Scripture.

If you feel you are not living as the Word instructs in an area of your life, PRAY. Ask the Lord to help you – He certainly will answer! A wife may also want to talk with her husband about the things in her life she wants God to change. She can ask her husband to pray with and for her. There is immense power when a husband and wife agree together in prayer (see Matthew 18:19). Prayer together also promotes unity and a heightened sensitivity to each other’s needs.

Remember, God has provided all the strength, grace, wisdom and help you need to be a godly wife and mother. If you feel weary or discouraged, remind yourself of these truths: “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) and “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal 6:9).

FULFILLING GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU

For both men and women, their relationship to God is their first priority. If they choose to be married, their spouse becomes their next priority. If they choose to have children, taking the time to care for and train their children becomes their next priority. A man must also provide for his family by consistently working. A husband, wife and older children must also be available to serve in the church and to share the Gospel.  All other things in a married couple’s life must come behind these important priorities established by God in His Word.

Do you want to fulfill God’s highest plan for you? Do you want to be sure you are fulfilling God’ will? Then live your life according to God’s priorities – which He has already revealed in His Word and you will be set on a pathway to fulfill all that God has planned for you!