Freedom of Responsibility

Today's Guest Blogger is Anne Dryburgh. Anne is a missionary in the spiritually dark country of Belgium. She is presently working on her PhD in Biblical Counseling. Enjoy feasting on her wisdom today! 

                Over the years I have seen numerous women struggling with guilt and discouragement because, despite all their best efforts, their husbands have not been won for the Lord. These women may have become Christians and long for their husbands to become Christians too, or they may be married to men who live external Christian lives (by going to church and attending Bible studies), but who do not change.

                Usually they have been given the well-intentioned advice by other women to obey 1 Peter 3:1-6: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives – when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external – the braising of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”

                This verse has been understood to be the key that will unlock whatever is holding their husbands back from living closely to the Lord. Many of the women that I have talked to choose to never voice their opinion to their husbands. They try to give him whatever he wants and to strive to live on a spiritual level that enables them to hover above the irritations of life while retaining a quiet spirit. Inevitably this effort fails. And when I talk to them, they are filled with guilt and discouragement. They ask questions along the lines of: why did it not work, am I not spiritual enough, and why does God demand so much of me?

                It is at this point that we will think about the gospel again. Paul teaches us that all have sinned (Romans 3:10, 11, 23) and that the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe (Romans 3:22). Change for any believer comes by actively getting rid of what is not of the Lord in his or her life, and living in thought and behavior in the Lord (Ephesians 4:22-24). Romans 9:14-16 and 2 Timothy 2:25 teach that it is the Lord who causes a person to come to repentance.

                Seeing that the responsibility for a husband’s salvation and relationship with the Lord is between him and the Lord, and not theirs, is a freeing truth for these women. I have seen this free women from living in a bondage of fear. They became fearful of saying or doing anything wrong. They became fearful of not praying enough. They became fearful of not reading their Bible enough. They became fearful that they are not spiritual enough. Now they could see that they are none of these things in and of themselves. But Jesus has paid for their sin and failures on the cross. They are in Christ and can live in him and his grace in their marriage. The next question is naturally about what the Lord does expect of them….