Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Why Jesus Modeled Humility

Leslie Basham: A member of the Revive Our Hearts team sent a book to a listener in Guatemala. The book was Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. And the Lord is multiplying that message there. 

Women:

I want to let you know that the book you sent about forgiveness is so timely because of a situation that we’re going through! We are reading this book with a group of girls here in Guatemala. Thank you so much for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. 

Nancy: It thrills my heart to know a group of girls in Guatemala can be learning crucial biblical truths about forgiveness. And I’m so grateful for Revive Our Hearts listeners who make it possible for us to continue producing resources, equipping our Ambassador team, and spreading the truth that is setting women free all around the world.

How do listeners do that? They did that through their prayers and through their financial support. By supporting Revive Our Hearts financially. May 31 is the end of our fiscal year. It means we’re in the process of closing one set of books and budgeting for the coming year. So your gift right now will make a big difference, helping us finish the fiscal year healthy position and ready to enter a new season of ministry.

We’re asking the Lord to provide at least $680,000 this month. Now, I know that’s a lot, but I also know that God can do it. Would you pray with us for His provision this month? And would you be part of the answer to that prayer by making a generous donation to Revive Our Hearts at this time. You can do that online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

Your prayers and your support is so important as Revive Our Hearts continues spreading the truth that sets us free. 

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 201, for Friday, May 4, 2018.

Yesterday, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth talked with Cindy Easley on the “S” word. The biblical concept of submission is always distrusted and misunderstood, but Cindy Easley has been showing us how beautiful it is when a wife uses her strengths to support her husband's decisions.

We’re including this interview as part of the series, "The True Woman Manifesto—Affirmations, Part 2." Now, let’s get back to Cindy and Nancy.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Cindy, I find that often when I’m teaching on a subject, I’m living in it for a period of time. Many times I get tested in that very area myself. I was teaching on meekness not too long ago, and I found myself blowing it constantly, or maybe more aware of how I was blowing it in those areas, but it became more of a battle ground for me for a period of time.

I’m just wondering—I’ve never written a book on submission, and don’t hope to have that assignment, but you had that assignment—as you were writing it, did you find yourself over those months sometimes in a battle ground and really saying, “I don’t know anything about submission. I’ve blown it. How can I write a book on submission?”

Cindy: Absolutely. I think the next book I’m going to write is on wealth. Hopefully that will come to me.

It’s so true, especially as I was interviewing these women, because I would see my own flaws in the area of submission. I would think by the time I started this, I kind of had my act together. Then they would bring up something like complaining, or they would talk about serving a husband who is incapacitated or ill. Michael has severe back problems, and as I was writing this book, he was going through back surgery and was off work for a time.

So all of that really came to life in my home as I would look at these women as my role models and say, “Okay, so what would Gwen do? Or what would Mel do? Or how did Susan behave in this way?” It was very helpful in a convicting sort of way to have this on a forefront. I was happy to finish the book and move on, though, to something else.

Another thing, as I studied submission, you can’t separate submission from humility. Humility is really the thing. As I studied the humility of Jesus Christ, that turned my heart, turned the corner in submission for me. As I was writing this book, God continued to show me my pride, and that was painful. He put me in situations that . . . I would let my ego run a little bit, and He would just show me, “Cindy, this does not bring Me pleasure for you to have this kind of an ego or for you to have this kind of pride.”

Not even in my marriage—just outside of my marriage—in my character, understanding that I was not living the humility that would be appropriate based on my faith in Christ and on Christ’s example.

Nancy: Christ’s example is such a powerful thing here. You think about Philippians chapter 2, which you reference in your book: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (v. 3). That’s husband, that’s children, that’s friends.

Cindy: That’s right.

Nancy: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests” (v. 4). Isn’t it true when we’re having clashes, contentions, thinking, "What’s best for me?"

Cindy: Absolutely. It’s all about us.

Nancy: He says,

Don’t look [primarily] to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in a form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped [He didn’t cling to His rights as God], but he made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, being found in the likeness of men. And being found in human form [which in itself was humiliation], he humbled himself [further] by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (vv. 5–8).

This is the gospel.

Cindy: I think that is some of the most beautiful Scripture in the Bible. To understand that Jesus Christ gave up His rights to come to earth to be a human to suffer hunger and pain and humiliation and betrayal for the very people He came to save. That, to me, speaks volumes—that I should give up my rights to serve my husband and my family.

Again, we’re not talking about slavery. We’re talking about a godly servanthood that considers others as more important than yourself.

Nancy: There’s something powerful about the influence a woman has in the life of her husband, in her marriage, when she’s willing to make that choice of submission.

Cindy: Yes. One thing I also discovered is that when a woman submits to her husband, he understands the mantle of leadership to be much more serious because he knows she will follow, and if he knows that, then he realizes, “I have to take this role and do my best with it.”

So yes, our influence, the way we line ourselves up under our husband’s authority, the way we respect him will change our husbands as it changes us.

Nancy: It’s powerfully motivating.

Cindy: It’s powerfully motivating.

Nancy: Because now he feels, “I’m accountable to God. I’m not having to do a tug-of-war with my wife.” I’m having to give account to God.

Cindy: That’s right. I think he feels the weight of his role, and his role is much heavier than ours in that he is responsible for leading the family appropriately.

There was another thing. You know how God works so many things in your life together. As I was writing this book, I was also, in my personal devotions, studying the book of Luke. There’s another example of Jesus’ submission that I had never seen before, and that’s in Luke 2:41 and following. You remember the story when Jesus was a twelve-year-old boy and taken to the temple for the first time?

The temple time was over, and His parents were returning home. They thought He was in the caravan, and then when they realized He wasn’t, of course, they panicked—as any parent would—retraced their steps, and finally found Jesus in the temple. They have a little discourse there. Mary attempts to put Jesus in His place—as any mom would of their twelve-year-old boy.

Nancy: You can imagine her hyperventilating a little bit there.

Cindy: Relieved at finding Him, but angry that He wasn’t where He was supposed to be.

Nancy: “What are you doing?”

Cindy: That’s right, and the next verse says, “So Jesus returned with them and continued in subjection to His parents” (v. 51). I think, “Now, wait a minute, this is Jesus—the Son of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of peace, who is putting Himself under subjection to fallible, human parents.” That spoke to me so loudly because I thought as if God were in the back of mind saying, “Cindy, see Jesus was in submission to fallible humans, and so are you.” That really was a wake-up call to me as, again, I was in the midst of writing this book and understanding.

How much clearer can you get that this is something God has for all of us. We all have areas that we’re submissive to someone or that we’re under subjection to rules and governments and authorities and our bosses. It’s not meant to be a harmful thing for us, just as it was not meant to be harmful for Jesus to be in subjection to His human parents.

Nancy: You point out something I think is very important. We’re not implying that the one in authority, the husband is the one you’re primarily talking about in this book, is infallible, that they’re always right. We’re not saying that at all. Even the godliest husband, and I think this is important to state, because it’s easy for a woman whose husband is maybe not walking with the Lord to say, “Well, your husband is a pastor; you’re husband is biblically literate, he’s a godly man, he’s a good leader. My husband isn’t like that.” There is no husband, no matter what it looks like on the outside, who is always right. They make mistakes. They’re fallible like we are, so you’re saying submission still applies even with a fallible leader.

Cindy: That’s exactly right. I have two women I interviewed in the book. One, Susan, is married to a non-believer, and Carol is married to a recovering alcoholic. Neither of which are godly men leading the home, and yet these women have chosen to place themselves under their husband’s authority. They have seen God use bad decisions in their husbands to lead the family, and more importantly, to lead their husbands toward Himself.

I think so often we want to get in there and have all the decisions right or have these godly husbands, and we interfere with what God is trying to do in their life because we think we know right or, if we don’t do it this way, it’s not going to work out.

Susan, in talking about being married to a non-believing husband, was very helpful and understanding. She talked a lot about the things she did wrong her first several years of marriage as she tried to win her husband to Christ by reading the Bible in front of him, begging him to go to church, making him feel bad, or giving him shameful looks when she’d leave for church.

Nancy: Getting on her knees at night.

Cindy: Yes. Getting on her knees at night and kind of being showy about prayer. As she understood that those things were pushing him away—she was being religious; she wasn’t being faithful—and as she began to understand that and started respecting and loving her husband, she saw amazing changes in him. Now, he has not accepted Christ yet, but he is certainly closer than had she continued in that behavior.

Nancy: And he’s not pushing against her.

Cindy: That’s right. He’s not pushing against her.

Nancy, you bring up a really good point about women, “If only my husband were this or that.” When your husband is the pastor, and women see him all cleaned up on Sunday morning, and he’s studied God’s Word and delivers an excellent sermon, they just think, If I was only married to him, or if my husband was only like him.

Nancy: They think all week long, “You all are having prayer meetings, and he’s reading the Bible.”

Cindy: That’s right. Like that’s all we do is talk about the Bible every day for hours and hours in our house. Michael and I delight in dispelling some of those myths because we do pray together, but we do not study the Bible together. We know a lot of marriages do, and we think that’s a wonderful thing. But it has never worked for us, mainly because we’re both so selfish with our own time with God. So we study apart, and then there’s times I would say, “Oh, you wouldn’t believe what I read today.”

Just this past week Michael and I were on a walk. He was talking about something he was reading, and I went, “I read that same thing.” Now, I’m reading in Hebrews, going through Hebrews 11 and reading the stories behind each of the men and women that are listed in the Hall of Faith. At the same time, he is reading in Samuel. So we’re reading the same story but in actually different books of the Bible.

That’s really fun, then, to talk about some of the things God is teaching us, but we don’t sit down together and, “Now open your Bibles to Ephesians verse 1.”

So we just want to dispel some of those myths that you don’t have to have your marriage look this way for it to be a good, solid godly marriage.

Nancy: I want to come back to this thing of wanting him to make perfect decisions and everything to be right. I think the whole issue of expectations is something that can be real harmful to a wife and marriage, expectations of what it looks like for him to be a spiritual leader. We hear this from women all the time: “My husband is not a spiritual leader.”

Don’t you think women have some picture in their mind of what that ideal spiritual leader is, and then they end up disappointed?

Cindy: I do. I think what they think is unrealistic personally. I think they’ll read a book from some man who wrote about how he does nightly devotions, and he’s written twelve books on devotions for his children, and they think, Well, my husband hasn’t written a book on devotions for children.

Nancy: And probably never will.

Cindy: Yes, right, never will and doesn’t do devotions.

Submission doesn’t mean that you abdicate spirituality in your home. It may be that you come to him and say, “Do you mind if I read this Bible passage to the kids tonight?” That is godly submission just as him doing it himself. It may be you saying, “Hey, I read this today. How about if you read this at dinner to the kids? I think it would be a really cool thing.”

You know your husband and what he’s going to be receptive to, and it’s you in an attitude of respect helping to develop him but not berating him or saying, “If you were more like JoAnn’s husband, or whatever.”

Nancy: And not putting him in a position where he’s afraid he’s going to look foolish.

Cindy: That’s right. That’s part of it too. Exactly. You don’t want to ever make him feel like he’s less of a leader or less of a man because he doesn’t meet your expectations.

Nancy: Something else you said just a few moments ago brings up this whole issue of control. We women are fixers. We want it to be right. I think there’s this kind of built-in instinct if we don’t feel he’s doing it just right, we want to correct that. We want to change it; we want to fix it. Men don’t necessarily respond with glee to that kind of effort on their wives’ part.

Cindy: I think that’s a pretty accurate statement. I don’t think we need to fix it. I think we need to let them fail. We need to give our husband permission to make a bad decision. We all make bad decisions.

Years ago I read a study about management. It said it’s not that good managers make more good decisions than poor managers. It’s simply that they make more decisions.

Think about it this way: If you have twenty decisions to make in a week, but you only make five decisions and every one is hitting the nail on the head, you still have fifteen decisions that nothing happened to. So if a husband is a good manager, he will be making a lot of decisions, some of which will not be good, but that’s okay.

Isn’t it wonderful that God can deal with our faults? He’s not worried about us making a wrong decision.

Nancy: But even you saying, “That’s okay that some of those decisions may not be the best ones," a lot of women have a hard time feeling that, thinking that. What we’re thinking is, I’m afraid. Something is going to go wrong. Something is going to fall apart. Don’t you think there’s a lot of fear that makes us have this knee-jerk reaction of pulling in the reins or making sure . . . maybe it’s just pride, fear. I don’t know what it is.

Cindy: I think you’re right. I think it’s fear. All I can say is take a deep breath and let me tell you something is going to go wrong, and something is going to fall apart. We learn more through our difficult times. We grow closer to Christ, or our husbands grow closer to Christ in difficulty than in perfect everything. It’s okay. Take a deep breath. There will be a bad decision in your week, in your month, in your year, and you will survive.

Nancy: I'm going to put you on the spot and ask if you can give an illustration out of your own marriage where you saw your husband getting ready to make a decision where in your heart you are thinking, I don't think this is the right thing for us.

Cindy: Years ago when Michael was pastoring a church in Grand Prairie, it was a wonderful church and a wonderful community. But he was becoming restless. We felt like God was moving us along. At that time he started communicating with a church in California. There were a lot of phone calls, a lot of going back and forth in the mail. Michael was becoming wooed by this church in California.

Michael is highly relational, and what he was being wooed by was the relationship with these men. So one day he got off the phone them, and they had invited us down to spend some time with them.

Now, when you are a pastor and you are looking for a church, it's like getting married. There's the dating phase, the engagement phase, and then the marriage when you actually agree. Well, we were in the dating, and they were asking Michael if he would be engaged. That's where we were in the process.

So Michael got off the phone and he was so excited. They were talking about dates they could fly us out to California. But I set Michael down at our kitchen table after he got off the phone and said, "Michael, if this is the direction you want to go, I will follow. But let me give you some insight on what I see."

Because my husband is so relational, it was really the relationships that were interesting to him. But I said, "You are going into the same situation that we are in now. It's a different climate, a different place, but the churches are very similar." Again, I said, "I will go, but I'm just asking you to think through that."

I think within a short period of time, maybe by the next day, he called them back and stopped the process.

It was one of those situations where I did it the right way. I don't always. Often he will make a decision that I don't like, so I'll pout or get mad or I'll try and manipulate him. But this is one time he really listened to what I had to say because I had his best interest in mind. I wasn't looking out for me. I'm happy to live in California. It's just that I didn't feel like we were going in the direction that he really wanted to go. So that worked out.

Now, let me give you an illustration with our children. There have been times when Michael will make a decision on how to parent one of our children that I wholeheartedly disagree with.

Nancy: That happens in every marriage.

Cindy: It does. In fact, I found that when I ask the question of these women: Where's one of the most difficult situations for you to submit to your husband? I would say, almost without exception, they said, "Parenting." Even Janet Parshall, whose children are grown, she said she still had the tendency to want to step in and fix her children's problems. And her husband says, "Janet, step out of the way and let God work in their lives."

Nancy: And her husband is probably right.

Cindy: She says that every time he is right. But the point is, it doesn't matter how old we are, it doesn't matter if our children are two or thirty, we still want to as moms want to fix their problems. That's for me sometimes when Michael and I have the biggest problem, when it comes to the children. He will say they should not do this, and I think they should. There’s times when he’s made a decision. Michael tends to be more of the critical parent, and I’m more of the compassionate parent.

So there may be a time that we have a discipline issue, and Michael will come down very hard on the child. He might restrict Devon from TV for a month, or he may keep one of the girls from doing something that they had planned on doing, prepared to do, and then because of some behavior, he will say, “You cannot do that as a consequence of this behavior or this action.” Then, what we find, or I have found, is that might not always be the best way because we spend weeks cleaning up that one consequence. It would have been easier to have moved their heart in a different manner.

However, as a wife, it is my role to support that decision even if I disagree with it and to not pit my child against my husband, but for me to support him no matter what, even if I disagree, and to say, “Your dad and I have decided” or “Your dad and I agree.” That is the best way to show him respect.

When our husbands make decisions that involve our children that might not be the best, our children will get over it. We think it’s the end of the world. In a year the kid won’t even remember it, or they’ll laugh about it.

Nancy: There’s probably more negative consequence that takes place when they sense the parents’ division.

Cindy: Absolutely. I agree. They absolutely do.

Nancy: And yet you’ve said—I’m so glad you said this and illustrated it—that it doesn’t mean that you don’t speak into your husband life. It doesn’t mean that you don’t give input. It’s a matter of how you say it, and when you say it, and saying it with the right spirit.

Cindy: That’s right. I think when we see our husbands going down a path that is destructive for them or destructive for the family, I believe it is our duty as a wife to approach them lovingly, respectfully, thoughtfully. One thing I bring up in the book is a rule that I instigated myself called the three-day rule, which I discovered reading the book of Esther.

Remember when Esther was asked by Mordecai to go into the king, she said, “Give me three days to fast and pray, and then I will.” She’d made the decision to go in to the king. She wasn’t asking God, “Do I go, or do I not?” She was asking God, “What do I do? How do I approach him to win my husband’s favor?”

I do the same thing. I wait three days to give me . . . now, I admit I don’t fast usually during the three days, but I do spend time in prayer and thinking through what I want to talk about. Sometimes I’ve found out that within three days, the issue is gone. It really wasn’t important. Maybe it was my own issue not my husband’s. But often it gives me enough time to go in to approach him respectfully with the right words, to really think through what I want to say.

I think when our husbands understand that we are approaching them with their best in mind, back to Philippians 2, their interests are more important than our own, when they understand that, then they are willing to listen.

Now, here’s where submission comes in: When you approach your husband respectfully with the right words, and he still chooses to head down the path, what is your behavior? How do you react? Or do you pout and scream and cry and do the opposite? That is not a submissive attitude.

Submission is your willingness to cooperate, especially when you don’t agree. In fact, really, there’s not submission when you agree. It only comes into play when you don’t.

Nancy: Right. Cindy, I just believe that the Lord has been speaking to women who’ve been listening as we’ve been having this conversation. Right now women who are maybe in that pouting stage or resisting stage and have not had that willingness to cooperate. I want to say to our listeners, as we often do on Revive Our Hearts, it’s not enough just to hear the truth. God wants us to be doers of the truth.

You may need just right now to wave that white flag of surrender to the Lord. It’s first to Him and to say, “Lord, I want to be, I’m willing to be the helper, the servant, the team member, the partner in my marriage that You want me to be. Would You give me the grace to make those choices, to have a submissive heart, and then to live that out in a way that would be pleasing to You?”

Leslie: We can’t glorify God as submissive wives without God’s power in us. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been pointing us to His power. Along with that power, you need biblical knowlege, and we’d like to help you grow in understanding biblical submission.

Our guest, Cindy Easley, has written a helpful book called Dancing with the One You Love about what the Bible says about submission and how we can display a submissive heart. This book was formerly called What’s Submission Got to Do with It? You may have heard Nancy and Cindy using that title.

We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Your gift will help make Revive Our Hearts possible each weekday, and here in May we’re asking the Lord to meet a serious need of $680,000. Ask for Dancing with the One You Love when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

How do you submit to a husband whose decisions are going against God’s Word? Cindy Easley will talk about it next time. Please be back Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants your marriage to thrive. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture has been taken from the English Standard Version.

 

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