For the last five weeks as I have been looking at Colossians, I have been looking at it from a cultural viewpoint. I chose to do this because the Colossian church found themselves fighting a cultural belief system that was trying to change the church. We learn in the Bible that Christ changes our culture and He created the church to be a light in the world while we live out His love. This new culture that we are to live as followers of Christ goes against our human nature and sometime the human nature doesn't like the way it sounds. I honestly don't know what the Colossian culture believed about family life; however, I know America's culture. I believe these next few verses in Colossians rubs the American culture the wrong way because the word "submit" is thrown into the mix. Submission seems like it is the opposite of independence; however, this is something that God desires for our families. With that said, please read Colossians 3:18-21.
There is something that caught my eye as I was reading through these verses and looking them up in the Greek on BlueLetterBible.com. The Greek word translated as submit is hypotassō. This word means to obey or to be subject to someone; however, this word was more often used as a military term. Please read what Blue Letter Bible says about it:
"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,'" (see footnote 1).This word had a greater meaning than how we look at submit. It does mean to follow the lead of someone else, but notice that it is a voluntary attitude. This is something that wives are to do out of their love for God and their husbands. The other thing that catches my eye in this description are the words, "assuming responsibility and carrying a burden." Submitting to our husbands does mean to follow their lead; however, we do this because we are assuming responsibility in our family and carrying the burden for our family. This is how we share the load with our husbands.
Husbands are to love their wives. So, even though wives are to submit to their husbands, husbands are to show their wives love and never be harsh with their wives. These two roles in the family may sound very different from each other, but these roles are symbiotic. Husbands and wives show love and respect for each other when we do these things as God planned.
Children are told to please the Lord by obeying their parents. When you think about it, family life is where we first learn obedience which is something God desires from all of us. But fathers are reminded that they are not to aggravate their children. The Greek word is erethizō which means to provoke. So, while we parents are to expect obedience from our children, we do not need to present our requests in a way that provokes anger. Verse 21 tells us that the end result will only be that our children will be discouraged.
Each role in the family has an important responsibility and when we all are doing our part there is harmony. It doesn't mean that it will be easy to do our part, but we all show love and respect to each other when we do it. And remember, we don't have to be a family on our own; we have Christ working in us. Christ is who gives us the strength and ability to live out His culture (Phil. 4:13).
How does God want you to live in your family?
This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty and Monday Musings.
1. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for hypotassō (Strong's 5293)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 12 Mar 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5293&t=NLT >