Well, here we are—almost halfway through the journey. You made it back for another day. I’m going to tread carefully over these next few days. These verses could be controversial, and I’m going to do my best to unpack them in a way that helps both men and women. My goal, like Peter’s, is to help you live with HOPE. In this passage, we turn to HOPE at home.
Before I jump into Peter’s words, I want to first off say a couple of things to the women. One of the happiest days of my life was our gender reveal party for our third child. I remember opening the box and seeing pink balloons come out. I still get tears in my eyes when I remember our family jumping up and down at the news we were having a daughter. I am also grateful to be a dad of two sons whom I love dearly.
However, I have a special place in my heart for my daughter. There is no one on the planet I relate to like Karis. I am more protective and tender with her than anyone else (aside from Stacie, of course). I’m not sure if Peter had a daughter, but I kind of imagine he might have. Let’s just suppose for a moment that he did. When he wrote these words, his daughter would have been approaching marriage age. I can imagine Peter having his daughters of the faith in mind as he writes these words.
Let’s remember a few things we know for sure about Peter. He’s writing as a pastor. Like I mentioned earlier, we know he is a husband. On top of this, he has been profoundly impacted by the way Jesus interacted with women. At some point in the next week or two, go read the gospel accounts to see how Jesus broke some of the social norms of his day in order to show respect, honor, dignity, and concern for women.
Unfortunately, women were treated like slaves in Roman society. They were considered to be a man’s property—either their father’s or their husband’s. Just like we discussed with slavery, Peter does not condone this approach; rather, he is pastoring followers of Jesus through their situation. If you read ahead, you will notice Peter gives six times the amount of attention to women as men. My interpretation of this one is super practical. Husbands are typically harder to deal with than wives, and the women in Roman society really needed help.
Spiritually speaking, women tend to be more responsive to God and more willing to change. Because of this, many women find themselves trying to lead their families spiritually without support and strength from their husbands. This is a problem. Peter is trying to help.
In the midst of this, Peter helps us see that God has created families to operate with order. The marriage relationship consists of two people equal before God but designed by God with different roles and responsibilities. We need to look no further than the Trinity to realize that mutual submission is a part of the natural flow of how relationships work. Yet, even within the Trinity, God the Father is the ultimate authority. Jesus lovingly submitted to His Father all the way to a cross.
Not once does the Father abuse His authority. Not once does Jesus rebel against the Father’s leadership. We see this also happening as the Spirit submits to Jesus. It’s a beautiful relationship that has existed for all eternity.
It’s in the timeless picture of God’s design and the timely nature of women’s struggles in the first century that Peter gives words of encouragement for wives. Peter’s instruction is not for women to submit or follow “men.” This is important. He is not being a chauvinist. Peter is talking to wives and how they are to relate to their husbands.
Let me illustrate. One of my big surprises in 20 years of ministry has centered around how much easier it is to reach women than it is to reach men. I do think men want purpose—they want their lives to count. I just think sometimes men’s heads, including mine, are a little harder. In many instances, a wife will decide to follow Jesus and then be in a situation where her husband is just obstinate to the faith.
What does she do? Does she run? Does she preach at him? Does she give him books about being a better man? Does she tell him about the men she’s meeting at church who are more godly? How should a woman respond?
This situation has happened a million times over in the history of the church. A woman becomes a follower of Jesus, but she is in a marriage where the husband will not submit his life to Jesus. Peter’s words transcend generations and cultures. The best way to win a man over is through a pure and reverent life!
The more you preach at a man, usually the more that man is going to hide in his shell. The more you model how much Jesus has changed your life with your deeds, the more likely he is going to be drawn to ask questions and seek answers. It may take a really long period of time, and it may never happen the way you hoped it would.
Stacie and I have dear friends who have gone through boxes of tissues with tears for their marriage. Asking God to change a hard-hearted husband is a common struggle in the church.
You are not alone. Your heavenly Father sees you. He knows your struggle. His heart breaks as your heart breaks. He sees and He cares about every tear you shed. Your Father wants to strengthen you today as you seek to live the Good News without any words. Whatever pain you are bearing today because of marital disappointment, I pray that you would sense God’s Fatherly love toward you. Your Father is pleased with you. He is your reward.
May you live a life that is so different that your husband cannot help but notice the change. Perhaps there are some old ways of life that you need to let go of. May your respect, honor, and submission to his leadership soften his heart. May you be willing today to make difficult decisions to live a more God-honoring life.
Perhaps certain friends are pulling you down, and you need to cut ties. Will you make the choice today to let your life be marked by the grace of God and an unrelenting commitment to follow Him no matter the cost?
“Jesus broke social norms of his day in order to show respect, honor, dignity, and concern for women.”
So thankful for Jesus’ example. So thankful for the tender compassion with which this day of the devotional was written.
A pure and reverent life. That’s a really good aim. ?
Thank you Pastor Andy
Ahh good message setting the example an example that draws people to seek what you have to smile through the tuff times and people wonder why in heck is he or she smiling.
the Bible has many Women that have had a profound impact on shaping the church one huge one is the book of Ester and there’s Priscilla also the lady that helped the spy by lower him down the wall thank you for clarifying that in the old Roman days Women were treated like property it helps to understand the writings of Peter glory to God that so much has changed and blessing to all the Women whom without them I wouldn’t exist looking forward to the next message thank you!
Our Heavenly Father comes through. It may take years of faithfulness, God will be working in both of you, refining who you are. The wait is worth the spiritual change.
Love today’s devotional. My husband is a follower of Jesus but that doesn’t mean there are no problems. During this season my focus has been prioritizing my marriage and learning how to best communicate each time we have a transition in this COVID-19 season.
I continually need to ask God for guidance on what to say and how to communicate well so that I can honor and respect God and my husband with my words.
Mutual submission as husband and wife is one of the best ways to sustain a healthy marriage.
Wow! Wow! Wow! Pastor Andy, thank you soo much for this devotion. It has really hit home for me. I grew up in a life filled with “awkward” circumstances and situations. I knew times were different for women back in Biblical days, but never understood how to really interpret them to today’s world. And you did that for me here.
Although, I couldn’t quite understand it all, I knew that one thing was for certain. I had to trust God’s truth. To just be faithful, obedient, and do the best I knew how to to live a life that honored Him. Despite my natural tendency to fight injustice acts, I learned that me going against my natural inclination, is a far more powerful and positive impact. Becoming a person that fights with a different tactic. A tacit that consists of me living life leading by example. Staying focused and wholeheartedly fixated on living out God’s pure and unadulterated word. Trying to pour out to others the same love and mercy that God gives me.
Yet I still sometimes wonder if what I’m doing is enough. Pastor Andy, thank you for reminding me that I am, and to continue to stay faithful and believing, even in those times where I’m doubtful in myself.
When we are faced with difficulties in our relationships and other areas of our lives, it is not always clear what God has planned for us. If we trust in God and lift our hands to the heavens, I do believe God will perform miracles when the time is right. God wants us to share his good word to help those around us.
God moves in mysterious ways!
Reading your article has greatly helped me, and I agree with you. But I still have some questions. Can you help me? I will pay attention to your answer. thank you.