III. Women, Play Your Role
According to the
passage I just read in Ephesians 5, earthly marriage is a drama. God
Himself is the producer; the earth is the stage; the Holy Spirit is the
director, and the Bible is the script. You have no choice in the role you
play. When you are born, God assigns you a body. If He assigns you a
female body, the role you play in the drama is the church. If He assigns
you a male body, the role you play is Christ. You don't have to worry or
wonder about how you are to act or play it out , because the script is
You can't change your role. The role is assigned. The moment you
say, "I do," and the preacher pronounces you husband and wife, the curtain
is lifted and the drama begins. You can't stop it.
The drama we are playing as husband and wife, picturing Christ and
the church, is not a drama we can stop if we mess it up. If we fall down,
we must get up and go on. If we forget our lines, we can't stop. The plot
is set. The lines are given. We can't rewrite the script.
If we could get every man and woman in the world to take the Bible
as it is and say, "I'll read the lines that have to do with me, and I'll
play my part," we could solve all the martial problems in the world. But
the problem is, we are reading the other fellow's script and saying, "He
is not playing his role too well," or, "She is not playing her role too
well." We are experts at identifying our partner's problem.
I challenge you ladies tonight. Look at your script and see what
you role is. The first word is given to the wife in verses 22-24, "Wives,
submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the
husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:
and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject to
Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
I can almost hear the Director of the drama saying, "Okay, let's go
over your script." And He says to the lady, "Let's go over your part in
the drama. I am the Director. I am the Holy Spirit. I will see that you do
it right. I will help you. If you mess up, I will be alongside to assist
you. Here are your lines. You are to play the part of the church, and your
husband is to play the part of Christ. That is your God-assigned role. You
must submit yourself to your own husband in everything."
I like to think of the word "submit" as being an attitude, not an
action. Titus 2:3-6 says "The aged women likewise" are to "teach the young
women to be sober [that is, not to be flighty], to love their husbands, to
love their children, To be discrete [that is, appropriate], chaste,
keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands." Submission is an
attitude; obedience is an action. Did you know you can obey your husband
without submitting to him? You can say, "I'm going to fix your breakfast
because you asked me to, and I am supposed to obey you," but you can have
a bad attitude while you are obeying.
The Holy Spirit, the Director, says to the wife, "Your role is
this: you are to be the church. Your husband is to be Christ. And you are
to be subject to your own husband, like the church is subject to Christ.
Do you understand that?"
The says, "Yes, I've got that, but I don't like a boss telling me
what to do."
The Director says, "It is not like a boss over an employee. It is
more like a head over a body. It is a little different."
She says, "Well, what if he asks me to do something I don't want to
He says, "You have to play the part. Even if he asks you to do
something you want to do, your part is to be submissive to your husband in
everything" (Ephesians 5:24).
"What if it gets rough?"
"I will help you. I am the Director. That is my job. I will stand
It may get rough sometimes. I heard of a lady who had a nervous
breakdown because her husband grumbled so much. She went to the doctor and
he asked, "Do you ever wake up grumpy in the morning?" She said, "No, I
let him sleep. I wouldn't wake him up for anything!"
You are not responsible for how your husband plays his role, but
you are responsible for how well you play your role. You are to show the
world the relationship of the church of Christ, and your part is to make
the church look best you can. It is the husband's part to make Christ look
as good to the world as he can by playing the part of Christ.
You say, "What if he doesn't try very hard? What if he messes up?
What if he gives me a tough time? You mean I still have to play my role?"
The Holy Spirit says, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own
husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even
as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ. so let the wives be to
their own husbands in every thing."
She says, "In every thing?"
"Yes, every thing."
I made a mistake as a young pastor that I corrected later. I told a
lady, when her husband told her not to go to church, "You just tell him
you are going to church anyway. You are going to live for God." I gave her
unscriptural advice. You are to be to your husband what the church is to
It is like buttoning up a shirt--if you get one button right, you
get the rest right. If you get your role right and keep it right, no
matter how much pressure comes--and you can believe there is going to be
pressure--it will work out right. A preacher once said, "Do good and it
will be good."
Did you know the whole life is pressure? You are like a vessel on a
potter's wheel. God is forming your life, and He makes you form the
pressures that come to your life. When you say, "I do," and the curtain
goes up, it is like getting inside a pressure cooker. But don't worry; it
won't blow up. There is a safety valve.
First Corinthians 10:13 says, "There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you
to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also
make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." When you think you
have had all you can take, there is a pop-off valve. You don't have to
release it; it works automatically. Did you ever say, when something went
wrong one day, "If one more thing HAPPENS, I'M GOING TO PULL MY HAIR OUT!"
Do you know why you still have your hair?
Because that "one more thing" never happened. God knew how much you
could take. He never overloads you.
The pressure is on when you say, "I do," and the curtain is lifted.
The role is to be played. You can't change it. The Holy Spirit says, "Are
you ready? These are your lines. You have to play the church. You are to
be submissive to your husband in everything."
"What if he lives to be a hundred years old and we are married
eighty years?" The marriage vow was, "until death do us part."
Submission is a right attitude, recognizing that the husband is the
head. That doesn't mean the wife can't make suggestions--that she can't
tell him what she wants. But the husband is to lead the home, and he is
make the final decision.
Someone says, "Now, wait a minute. I have said, 'I do,' The drama
is on. I know my role. Now, what is my husband's role?"
Well, if he were here, I would tell him. I might say that his
script is a little longer than yours, a little more detailed. But there is
no need to talk about him; he is not here. Your role is to be submissive.
Look at Titus 2. Your role is to love your husband. Your role is to be
discrete, chaste, keepers at home. Did you a woman's home is her career?
It should be.
The home is a man's kingdom, the woman's world and the child's
paradise. The husband is the head of the home; the woman is the heart of
the home, and children are the happiness of the home.
Suppose when you married you didn't know these things. Suppose you
married an unsaved man. Should you still be submissive to your husband in
all things as unto the Lord? Should you still obey him? The answer is,
"Yes." If you got on that stage with a bad actor, then that is your fault.
If he messes up, that just mean you have to play your role better. You may
be the one who makes the whole thing succeed. If he fails, that means you
have to work harder. But the Holy Spirit says to you, "If you married an
unsaved man, if you will work hard at playing your role, even if he
doesn't, I promise you it is more likely your husband will be saved."
First Corinthians 7:14, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified
by the wife." The word "sanctified" means to set apart, not necessarily to
make clean. When an unbelieving man marries a Christian woman, he is
sanctified or set apart in a certain position or place. He has to stay
there 365 days a year. He is in front of a gospel gun every time he sits
down to breakfast, lunch or supper. When he goes on a vacation for several
days, he is constantly with a saved person. Did you know that God put that
unbelieving husband there? God has him with a believer twenty-four hours a
day. What an opportunity to get the Gospel to him!
When an unbelieving man marries a woman who is saved, he is under
pressure all the time; and the Bible teaches in 1st Peter 3 that he can be
won by the conversation or manner of living of the wife.
You can win him if you will be patient and try, but you must play
your role. You are set apart for the task, and he is set apart for the
treatment. And you ought to give it to him. I mean you ought to do
everything you can do to win him to Christ by being everything you ought
to be as a Christian wife.
The whole earthly relationship, the marriage, is a picture of
Christ and the church; and you ought to play the role of the church no
matter what your husband does. Hopefully he will play his role well, but
whether he does or not you have no excuse to fail.
When I thought about this today, do you know what bothered me? In
twenty-eight years I think I have blown it. I wish I had known
twenty-eight years ago what I know today. It never came home so real to me
as it did when I saw that when I was born God assigned me a body, a male
body. And when He assigned me a body, He assigned me a role. I didn't
start playing the role until I said, "I do." But twenty-eight years ago,
in that living room with that preacher, I said, "I do," and God raised the
curtain; and I have been on the stage ever since. It is a live drama. I
can't stop it. I can't even go back and change it.
I must confess I have not been as much like Christ as I wanted to
be. I must confess I haven't tried very hard at times. It is easy to
forget your role. When your husband asks you to do something, it is easy
to say, "Do it yourself. I am not your slave." Remember, you are not
playing the role of the church when you do that.
I would like for you to leave here tonight thinking this: I don't
know about anybody else, but I know my role. I know the curtain is lifted,
and I'm on stage. The drama is in progress, and I am going to live it out
till I die. When life is over, you will either have your role good or bad;
but you will play it. Let's identify our role and give it our best.
I wish I had known, when I first got married, what I know now. I
surely would like to have an opportunity to replay it. I don't like the
way I have played my part. I haven't studied my lines very well. I have
needed a lot of coaching from the Director, the Holy Spirit. But thank God
for one thing, He is always alongside to help us.
I wonder how many here tonight are thinking the same thing I am
thinking: I haven't played my role too well. Wouldn't it be good if you
could go back home and say, "Now, listen, I can't go back and change
yesterday. I can't change my husband's role. I can't play his part. I have
to play my part, but I would like for it to be better."
I wonder what would happen if some of you went home and said, "I am
going to start playing my role no matter what my husband does. I am going
to be submissive. I am going to have the right attitude toward him. I am
going to be an obedient wife. I am going to study this role of the church
and, with God's help, play it."
I think you may find him making some changes if you do, I have
never known it to be otherwise.
End of Book
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