In this lesson based on 1 Peter 3:5-6 you will discover what it means for a wife to accept and surrender to her husband’s authority and how this act of godliness can impact your marriage and home.
Take your Bible and open it to 1 Peter 3. We are nearing the end of a series on marriage.
- We spent one Sunday looking at five reasons why God created marriage.
- We spent three weeks unpacking what God says about being a husband and how to love, cherish, sacrifice, lead, and care for your wife like Christ does for the church.
- Counting today, we have spent three weeks looking at what God says about being a wife and how to follow your husband’s leadership, how to truly be beautiful on the inside and how to influence your husband for God.
Today, we take a look at surrendering to your husband. I know that is an odd word to use. But let’s redeem and sanctify this word surrender. Let me explain. When people think of surrender they usually think of a soldier surrendering to the enemy or a criminal surrendering and turning themselves in. But there is another aspect to surrendering that is important to understand if you want to experience all that God wants you to experience as a wife.
Let’s talk about this word surrender for a moment. To surrender means to give oneself up to the leadership and authority of another. As a wife you will discover there are two people you yield to, you surrender to.
- First, you are to surrender to God. You are to yield to God’s authority and His power and His wisdom. This means you will trust Him. You will trust what He says about being a woman, being a wife, and how to respond to and love your husband. When you obey God and do what He says you are surrendering yourself to His will and His way. When you surrender to God you set yourself up for success. Surrendering to God is a prerequisite to the blessings of God.
- You also, surrender to your husband. As his wife, you yield to his authority and leadership as the head of the home. You surrender your desire to control him by letting him lead. That is his responsibility and God will hold him accountable for how he leads you and the family. If this was easy, every wife would do it. It’s not easy, especially if you are married to a selfish man. When you surrender yourself to God and to your husband you are setting yourself and your marriage up for success. Surrendering is prerequisite to blessing.
With that said let’s read 1 Peter 3:1-6.
“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.” (NLT)
Today we are going to focus on verses 5-6 and I want you to see four Biblical principles of surrendering and what it means to you as a wife.
Surrendering is an act of holiness
Number one, surrendering is an act of holiness. To be “holy” means to be set apart and made special. Look at verse 5, “This is how the holy women [the women who set themselves apart, the women who knew they were special and valuable]…. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful” (NLT). When you accept the authority of your husband, live a pure and reverent life, and develop a gentle and quite spirit by the Holy Spirit working in your life you become one of those holy women who are beautiful.
There is something you need to notice here. Don’t miss this. This is important. Regardless of what translation you have they all communicate the same principle. The principle is… surrendering is a choice you make. Verse 5 says, “This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.” They made themselves. They made a choice to clothe themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. They made a choice to follow their husband’s leadership. They made a choice to trust God. They surrendered to God’s will and God’s way when it came to being a wife. When they made that choice they made a choice for holiness. They made a choice to be special. They made a choice to be set apart.
This brings us to number two.
Surrendering is an act of faith
Number two, surrendering is an act of faith. As God’s Word is explaining what it means to be a holy wife and a beautiful woman God’s Word says in verse 5, “They trusted God….” These holy women of old believed God. Specifically, they trusted God about what He had to say about marriage and about being a wife. Let me give you two areas of trust these women had when it came to God.
- They trusted God’s design for being a wife
Number one, they trusted God’s design for being a wife. As you study the Word of God you are going to have to wrestle with this question, “Do you believe what God’s Word says about being a wife?” Do you believe what God says about being a wife in 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, Titus 2, and Proverbs 31? Do you trust God to do what He says even though you don’t fully understand it?
You are never going to be the kind of wife God designed you to be until you trust God’s design for being a wife. As long as you trust your own definition and design for a wife more than you trust God’s design you will never experience the blessings that come doing it God’s way.
- They trusted God with their husband
Secondly, they trusted God with their husband. Remember, last week we saw that as a result of the Fall, when sin entered the human race… one of the consequences of the Fall was that all wives would desire to control their husband. The holy women of old resisted this desire and instead trusted God to speak to their husband, change their husband, and bring their husband to the point where they needed to be. The holy women of old did what God said to do as a wife and trusted that God would bring about the needed changes in their husband.
Surrendering to God and to your husband is an act of faith. It always has been and it always will be. This takes us to number three.
Surrendering is an act of submission
Number three, surrendering is act of submission. The order of things in the Bible is always important. Look at verse 5 again, “They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” You will never accept the authority of your husband until you trust God with your husband. Until you trust God and trust God with your husband you will always want to lead your husband and control him.
Whether you realize it or not you know how to accept the authority of others in your life. If you have ever had a coach in sports, music, art, or dance then you understand accepting someone else’s authority in your life. If you have ever had a job where you had a boss then you have accepted their authority over you in that job environment. The same is true in your marriage. God has given the husband the responsibility to lead and to oversee the home. He is the head of the home. God has given your husband authority in your marriage. But what does that mean?
“Accepting the authority of your husband” means…
- You acknowledge God’s order in the home. God created marriage. He made a man. He made a woman. He made them equal. He made them both valuable and significant. He also gave them different responsibilities. God gave the man the responsibility to oversee and lead the home. God gave the woman the responsibility to help the man oversee and lead the home. The husband is the head of the home. The wife is the helpmate of the home. When you accept the authority of your husband in your marriage you are agreeing with God regarding the design and order of the home. When you agree with the designer and creator you are aligning yourself up for the best scenario in your marriage.
- “Accepting the authority of your husband” also means you yield to his leadership. A couple of weeks ago we spent an entire lesson on what it means to submit to your husband and what it does not mean. If you missed that lesson I would encourage you to go online and listen to it. When you yield to your husband you are honoring him, respecting him, and obeying God all at the same time. You may be smarter than your husband, make more money than he does, and more committed to Jesus than he is but the bottom line is when a decision is to be made and somebody has to make it, that somebody needs to be the husband. You yield to his leadership.
- “Accepting the authority of your husband” also means you help bring order to the home. If your husband is trying to lead and you are trying to lead then you have a two headed monster guiding the home. The children are not sure who is in charge. The husband is not sure who is in charge. You are not sure who is in charge. You end up having a home where there is no real authority and everyone does their own thing. You have chaos.
When you accept the authority of your husband you are acknowledging and agreeing with God on the order and design of the home, you are yielding to your husband’s leadership and thereby honoring and respecting him, and you help bring order, peace, and stability into the home.
Surrendering is act of boldness
Number four, surrendering is act of boldness. It takes courage and boldness to trust God with your husband and to surrender to your husband’s leadership. This is not easy or every wife would do this. God is not telling you to do this because it’s easy, but because it’s the right thing to do and the best for you and your spouse.
To help you understand this principle of surrendering to your husband we are given a Biblical example in Sarah. Look at verse 6, “For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do” (NLT).
Peter takes us back to the book of Genesis, to the story of Abraham and Sarah. From the life of Sarah we have our attention focused on one significant point: Sarah called her husband “master” or “lord” (some translations). When this word (kurios) is applied to Jesus it means “Lord” with a capital L. But this was a very common word that could also mean “master” or “sir” or even “my dear husband.” It is a term of deep and abiding respect.
To understand the point you need to know when Sarah called Abraham her master. When you research the life and times of Sarah and Abraham you discover a fascinating fact. The Bible never records Sarah directly calling Abraham her “master” or “sir” or even “my dear husband.” The only reference to this term comes from Genesis 18.
God had promised Abraham that one day he and Sarah would have a son. That promise was made when Abraham was 75 and Sarah was 65. By the time we come to Genesis 18, 24 years have passed. Abraham is now 99 and Sarah is 89. That’s a problem because they were both well past childbearing age. Romans 4:19 says of Abraham, “his body was as good as dead,” and of Sarah, “her womb was also dead.” With that as background, we pick up the story in Genesis 18:10. The Lord visited Abraham in the form of three men.
One of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master – my husband – is also so old?” (NLT)
As she responds to what she is overhearing in her mind and heart, she refers to her husband as “my master.” I don’t know if Sarah ever called Abraham “her master” to his face, but it doesn’t matter. She said it in her mind, which revealed her deepest attitude toward her husband. That’s the connection to 1 Peter 3. Her attitude toward her husband was one of deep respect not because he was perfect, but because he was her husband. She respected him because of the position of husband in her life.
This section on the wife concludes by saying in verse 6, “You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do” (NLT). This means that those who follow Sarah’s example and apply verses 1-6 in regards to following your husbands leadership, live a pure and reverent life, focusing on developing an inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, and trust God in what He says and trust God with their husband are doing “what is right.” It may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do according to God’s plan for wives and marriage.
In addition when you apply these principles to your marriage as a wife you can do it “without fear of what your husbands might do.” This means whether your husband appreciates your commitment to God and him or not, makes right decisions for the family or not, loves God or not, follows Jesus or not you don’t have to be afraid of the future. You are doing what is right and you can apply these principles with confidence, love your husband with confidence, and follow your husband with confidence based on your godly attitude toward Him.
To the best of my ability I have given you several things from God’s Word addressing surrendering to God and your husband in marriage.
- This may be new to you and you may need to do your own personal study of what God means when He says wives should trust Him and accept the authority of their husband. I want to encourage you to do that study. Dig deep in it to see for yourself what the creator of marriage has to say about your role as a wife.
- This may not be new to you, but God’s Spirit spoke to you about some things you have been saying or doing that causes your husband to feel disrespected and devalued as the head of the home. Talk to your husband about it and if you need to, ask for his forgiveness.
Before we wrap this up I want to say a word to the husbands. Men, if your wife falls way short of what has been mentioned here today don’t criticize her or nag her about becoming better. If she was here today, she heard what was said and she saw what the Bible says. You pray for her, encourage her, and be her supportive and loving leader.
To become the women God wants you to be and to become the wife and mom God wants you to be you need to have Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life. He needs to be your Lord so He can be your leader. You need to have His Spirit inside you.