There is a fallacy going around the church that women who are strong-willed cannot be submissive in a Biblical way. But that’s just not true. Marital submission IS possible, even for a woman who is strong-willed.
You can find many strong-willed women who were good wives and wonderful women of God. Deborah, Queen Esther, and Ruth, are just a few that are named in the Bible.
Submission for the Strong Willed
Even the Lord Jesus Himself, had a servant’s heart. And yet He was a strong leader when He needed to be. He was strong-willed, but He knew when to “lay down His life” for those He loved and be submissive. The difference is that He KNEW when it was the Father’s will that He strongly exerted His position in Kingdom work, and when He was to submit. And Christ is our example. The Bible says,
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!“ (Philippians 2:5-8)
Again, Jesus knew when to exert His strong will and when to yield to submission to God’s Heavenly plan. You could in essence call Him meek. The Bible says that the “meek shall inherit the earth.“ When you are meek, it does not mean you have to be weak. You can be, but you don’t have to be. Meekness is also defined as: “strength under control.” Just because you yield when you feel it is necessary, it does not mean you are weak. As a matter of fact, it takes extra strength to yield when that is not your tendency to do so.
Strong Willed VS Weak Willed
Someone who is meek is kind, patient, and controlled. When you are “controlled” you are not necessarily weak-willed. Those who will “inherit the earth” because they are meek, know when it is best for them to willingly step back for the betterment of the situation. They also know when to go forward in a controlled way. Meekness and voluntary submission takes true wisdom and strength of purpose and will to do this.
That’s why a woman can still be strong-willed and yet be submissive when the situation calls for it. And when she is, she is Spirit-led, not led by her own self-will and determination. (And the same is true with a man.)
Below we provide web site links to articles, which are written by two very strong-willed women. They are both examples of this. It is my belief that they can help us to grasp onto this concept that being a woman who is strong is not a bad thing unless it is mis-used. And again, the same goes for a man. He must know when his strength is a good thing to use. He must also know when he is to respond in tenderness and be submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The first article is written by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias (which appears on the web site for the ministry of Family Life Today). The second is written by Debbie L Cherry (which appears on the web site for Crosswalk.com). Please read:
Jane Johnson Struck conducted an interview on this issue with Brenda Waggoner. What was her reasoning behind this interview?
“Because the issue of submission is so emotionally charged and hotly debated, I interviewed Brenda, a licensed Christian counselor and prolific author, to address what the Bible says about submission in marriage. Brenda shares not only her personal experiences but also her hard-won insights.”
To learn more, please read:
— AND FINALLY —
The ministry of Family Life Today, aired a series of radio broadcasts where they interviewed author Cindy Easley on this area of married life. Day 1 dealt with “Following His Lead.” Day 2 dealt with “Implementing Submission.” And Day 3 is titled, “Engaging Your Husband Through Submission.”
To choose to listen to the interviews or read the transcripts, please click onto the following web site link:
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
If you have additional tips you can share, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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Filed under: For Married Women