If you have not yet read my last two posts on Ephesians 5, I would encourage you to read them before digging into this tough verse.

Ephesians 5:33 “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

My dear husband with our four kiddos on his 39th birthday
My dear husband with our four kiddos on his 39th birthday

When you see the word “phobeo” what do you think of? Phobia? Me, too. What does that mean to you? Fear? Me, too.

In my trusty Blue Letter Bible app, it defines PHOBEO (G5399) as:
* to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away)
* to put to flight, to flee
* to fear, be afraid
* to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm
* of those startled by strange sights or occurrences
* of those struck with amazement
* to fear, be afraid of one
* to fear (i.e. hesitate) to do something (for fear of harm)
* to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience

The KJV translates Strongs G5399 in the following manner: fear (62x), be afraid (23x), be afraid of (5x), reverence (1x), misc (2x).

Phobeo occurs 97 times in 91 verses in the Greek concordance of the NASB.

In looking through the concordance for this Greek word, many of the times this word is used is when Jesus says “FEAR NOT” or “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” It is also used three times in Revelation – Rev. 14:7, 15:4 and 19:5 – encouraging man to fear God and give Him glory.

But in THIS verse? “Phobeo?”

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

We are told to RESPECT our husband, to PHOBEO, to FEAR?? our husband. WHAT????

I can get fearing God, reverencing Him as HOLY, being struck with amazement at the GLORY of the Lord. But, my husband???? How can this be?

The Lord brought 1 Peter 3 to mind, to see if that same word was used there …. and YES, it is.

But, that’ll have to wait until another time. My household and familial responsibilities call.

Maybe you could read 1 Peter 3 for yourself while you’re waiting. Try out Blue Letter Bible for yourself.

Heavenly Father, please speak to us. Open our eyes to Your truth. Teach us Your ways. Show us how to reverence and honor and fear our own husbands in a way which brings You honor and glory. You alone are worthy. Amen.

A profound mystery – Ephesians 5:32

wedding cake

Hi! If you haven’t read yesterday’s post on Ephesians 5:1-2, I’d encourage you to do that prior to reading today’s.

So, as I arrived at the section of this chapter that I was looking toward studying, I settled on verse 24:
“Now as the church submits (hypotasso) to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

I had to look up that word submits, so back to my favorite Bible study app – which is also my favorite Bible study website – Blue Letter Bible I went. I highly recommend it. This is where I find much of this info I share with you guys!

Anyway, while reading Ephesians 5:24, I clicked on the verse, then went to “concordance/interlinear”. So painless!

* to arrange under, to subordinate;
* to subject, put in subjection;
* to subject one’s self, obey;
* to submit to one’s control;
* to yield to one’s admonition or advice;
* to obey, be subject;

This word was a Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”.

For those of you who haven’t heard my testimony, this was a key verse the Lord used to change my heart. This verse spoke to my deepest places of control, of independence, of self-reliance. First, I needed to submit myself to CHRIST. Second, I needed to submit myself to my husband. Submitting to Christ is hard enough, but submitting myself to a fellow, fallen human being, now that is doubly tough.

Then, in verses 25-30, Paul instructs husbands to love their wives.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. [Eph 5:25-30 ESV]

As I just shared, it is HARD for me to submit to my husband, but, sisters, it is just as hard for my husband to love me self-sacrificially. I pray the Lord will fill me with empathy for Bill as he struggles to give himself up for me, as I struggle to give myself up for him.

But, keep waiting, there’s more.

31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. [Eph 5:31-32 ESV]

Look here. So, God joins the man and woman together and they become one flesh. They are joined together. They become one body. Remember, what GOD has joined together, let no man separate.

In the same way, Christ and the church become one. We are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price. We are to glorify God in our body. We have become joined in our flesh with GOD. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. We are the BODY of Christ.

We submit to Christ because He is the head of the body, the Church. We submit to our husbands because he is the head of the one body which we have formed. (Look back at Ephesians 5:23)

Suddenly all these verses are joining together in a way that I had never grasped before.

This is indeed a profound mystery.

Lord, I pray You would give me the strength and the humility to submit myself. As Christ gave Himself up for me, let me give myself up to Him and to my husband in willing submission and love and obedience. Father, I pray for all my sisters who cannot fathom giving up control, who cannot imagine letting go of the hundreds of plates they are trying to keep spinning. I ask you to help us. Give us the strength to humble ourselves under YOUR mighty right hand as we submit to You, the head of the church, and submit to our husband as the head of our one flesh.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s look at verse 33.

Ephesians 5 – Imitating God

walk in love

This morning I was drawn to study Ephesians chapter 5. Join me, in watching how it played out.

As I’m looking at Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children,” I see that word therefore and I think, “Something must come before this,” so I’ve gotta look back at the previous verses ….

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:29-32

Got it. I’m imitating God by being kind and tenderhearted and full of grace, forgiving others as God has forgiven me. Simple enough. (Ha!)

But, don’t miss the other big nugget buried in this 8-word verse – I am imitating God as His child, and not just any child, but His *beloved* child. Wow! This is great already, and I’m only one verse into it.

Now, as I’m moving on to verse 2, “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” I immediately jump on that “walk” word (Greek – peripateo) and mentally think – WOW! I’ve got to study this more — looking at what else we walk IN and what we walk BY. But, anyway, I am reminded that I need “regulate my life, conduct my life, pass my life” in LOVE. Yes, I did look up “love” and this is agape love – both times – I am to walk in agape, as Christ agape-d me.

And more than that, I see that Jesus gave HIMSELF. Gave = paradidomi = to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one’s) power or use; to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage; to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death; Jesus did this Himself. He gave HIMSELF up. He became a sacrifice, an offering, Himself – and I know that He sacrificed Himself, not on His own behalf, but on MY behalf. He gave Himself up – for me – this is how He showed His love for me and this is how I am to imitate Him, walking in love, giving myself up for the benefit of others – even others who do not deserve it.

Notes to self:
Imitate God by being tender and kind and forgiving
I am His beloved child
I am WALKING in love
Jesus gave Himself up for me as a living sacrifice to God

Getting good here! I could stop now, really, and have some great things to think about as I go about conducting my life today, but I really wanted to get down to the end of this chapter. For your sake, though, I’ve been long-winded enough for one day! Please stay tuned for tomorrow for the rest of the chapter.

Until then, go walk in love, being imitators of God as His beloved children.

Yoke bearing and stillness

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

God is a constant being of apparent contradictions. He is both full of mercy and judgment. He is both all-powerful and humble. He is both invisible and everywhere.

The Christian life, as well, is full of these same apparent contradictions. We are to both work for the Lord with all our hearts and to wait patiently upon Him.

But as I see it, this is where the greatness of God leaps out at us. As we humble ourselves, as we cast all our cares on Him, as we take His yoke upon us, this is where we find rest for our souls. This is where we are still and know that He is God and that we are not.

Sisters, my right elbow/arm/hand is really acting up and I am trying to figure out how I am going to be able to “keep at it.” How am I supposed to keep typing, writing, driving, cooking, phone talking, cleaning, and disciplining with only my left arm?

And this is where God grabs me. This is where the rubber meets the road. Is He sufficient? Is His strength made perfect in my weakness? Will I be still and know that He is God? Will I be thankful for two working legs and a working left arm?

This is where the choice is made. I have to choose to take up His yoke, to cast my cares on Him, to humble myself, to make my requests known to Him.

Lord, thank You that You are the giver of rest and peace and life to the fullest. In my weakness is your strength made perfect. As I humble myself, I am exalted. Magnify Yourself in me. Father, I pray You would use this time of weakness to show Yourself mighty, both to me and to the world who is watching. Whether this is displayed in healing me in an amazing way or in blessing me with a gentle and humble spirit, please Lord work in me to exalt Yourself. Sustain me and my family by Your grace and love. Amen.