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Spiritual Authority part 2 5.22.07

Copyright © 2007 Ron Schwartz
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Spiritual Authority

Part 2. The Application Of Spiritual Authority

 

May 19, 2007

From Ron and Karen Schwartz

E-mail us: kmsrjs@triton.net.

 

 

Husbands, Wives, and Synergy

 

(Note: Portions taken from a previous note entitled, “Spiritual Synergy.”)

 

Genesis 2:18 KJV

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

 

This verse follows on the heels of the creation account found in chapter 1.  Each thing God did was “good;” that is, until He made man.  We find here the first thing God did that was NOT good.  He made man alone.  This word “good” is an adjective used in the widest possible sense.  It means “favorable, beautiful, bountiful, cheerful,” etc.  In short, man could not find goodness as long as he was alone.

 

Far too often, the significance of this event is overlooked, seen instead as simply Adam’s need for companionship.  We typically read this passage, nod our heads in agreement, and then go on without really giving it much thought.  But there is far more here to consider than simply the fact that Adam was lonely.  When God made woman, He made a being that was much more than simply a companion.  With Eve, Adam had the potential to become good.

 

We learn here that God created Eve to be a “help meet.”  The word “help (Hebrew: help, aid, or succor)” means just as it would seem: “to aid or assist.”   Interestingly enough, the word “meet” means “a part opposite, specifically a counterpart, or mate.  It has the idea of something being set against (as in opposition) something else.”   Eve could help him become better by providing balance through an opposing viewpoint.  Their collaboration and cooperation is known as “synergy.”  It is the friction between these two opposites who work together for a solution that creates synergy.

 

We have all heard of the word “synergy.”  At its most basic, it means “unity [cooperation, working together].”  But it goes way beyond unity.  It carries with it the idea is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  The dictionary defines “synergy” as:

 

·         “The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that the combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

·         Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.”

 

Synergy comes from the Greek words “sunergiā,” which means “cooperation,” and sunergos [Strong’s 4904], which means, “working together.”  The idea is that when things work together effectively, one and one can equal three.  It means that combining forces produces a better product than that which could be produced separately.

 

The union of a husband and wife is the best example of synergy.  Together, they can excel at work, raise a family, mind the affairs of a home, and do the work of the Lord.  Their co-laboring allows them to be vastly more effective than if each were to attempt it on his own.  But there is still more to the synergy that is produced by this union than mutual cooperation.  Because they are opposites, they see and do things in their own way, so they bring into the union their own distinctiveness and differing points of view.

 

Just like the husband and wife relationship, Christians are not meant to be mere clones of one another, each working independently of the others.  We are designed to be different.  Imagine two people with conflicting opinions.  One wants to eat Chinese and the other Mexican.  But they only have one car and time is limited.  They are both strong-willed and insist on meeting their own individual needs.  In order for either of them to be fed, they must come up with a creative solution.  This is where synergy begins: not with unity or agreement, but with the problem, the disagreement, diversity, or opposite.  Synergy ends with unity.  Synergy is also lost when a strong-willed individual insists on his own way or assumes control.

 

Spiritual authority in the husband and wife relationship should take the form of synergy.  A husband is a fool when he ignores the benefits he can receive because of some misguided need to have control over his wife.  When God created Eve from Adam’s side, He demonstrated that she was his equal.  In making Eve his opposite (i.e., “help meet” or “help through opposition”), God demonstrated that she was to be his balance.  A wife is by her very nature a unique individual who is different and opposite in many respects.  But she is also equal and therefore clearly able to provide balance for her husband.  God did NOT make woman to simply provide companionship, an obedient slave, or to experience forced conformity to man’s will.  He made her to make her husband good.  In this type of relationship, one and one equals three.  They are able to do much more together than they could ever accomplish apart.

 

On the other hand, a woman must learn to respect and submit herself to her husband.  Keep in mind that submission is not a spiritual act but demonstration of respect for the natural order God established.  Submission is especially difficult because most women grow up in a male-dominant environment.  They learn early in life that getting their way requires force, manipulation, and sometimes even seduction.  Though these tactics may be effective in the “real world,” they can be (and usually are) devastating to a marriage.  Communication is key.  Probably your greatest challenge is to learn how to communicate rationally instead of through anger.

 

The ultimate objective of every husband is not to have his wife in subjection to him but that she would be in subjection to the authority of the Holy Spirit.  This is true spiritual authority.

 

 

John The Baptist And Raising Children

 

Families are a mixture of both spiritual and natural authority.  Paul recognized this when he wrote in 1 Timothy 3:2-5 that “a bishop [is] one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?).”  Natural authority is easy to achieve.  Most parents struggle with spiritual authority in the home.  Spiritual authority is NOT simply disciplining children into subjection but helping them to find and achieve the rule of the Holy Spirit in their own lives.

 

At this point, we will revisit a subject we covered last year in our newsletter entitled, “What Children Wish Their Parents Knew.”

 

To gain understanding into how we as parents should exercise spiritual authority, let’s look to the example of John the Baptist.

 

Matthew 3:1-3 KJV

1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

 

John 1:29 KJV

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

 

John the Baptist understood that his purpose was 1) to prepare the way of the Lord and 2) to introduce people to Christ.  As Christian parents, this must also be our goal.  The preparation of our children should not be to make them look good but to prepare them for God.   Also, it is our job to introduce them to Jesus.  And there’s more.

 

John 1:20 KJV

And he [John the Baptist] confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

 

Far too often, some parents forget this important fact: they are not God.  Instead of preparing their children for Christ, they take the place of Christ.  Except the Christ they model seems more like the taskmasters of Egypt than the Savior who gave Himself for us.  Whether their parents created such an environment intentionally or unintentionally, children who grow up in such an environment often grow into adults who blame, and therefore hate, God.  At the very least, they often decide He is not the kind of God they want to continue serving on their own.

 

John 3:30 KJV

He [Jesus] must increase, but I [John the Baptist] must decrease.

 

As Jesus’ authority begins to grow in our children’s lives and they begin to submit to Him, there must be a corresponding and proportional diminishing of our spiritual authority and control.  Children must see that our spiritual authority as parents does not supercede the authority of the Lord in their lives.  As they grow older and more mature, they must be allowed to trust God and to fail just like we do.  This will build spiritual confidence and maturity in them.

 

Too often, children are not allowed to make even small choices, much less the more important ones.  Their environment sometimes resembles a military academy or, worse yet, prison, where parents work to control and manipulate their children right up until the time they leave home.  Then they wonder why their children cast aside their values as though they were chains.  Such children have never learned what serving Christ is all about, or even who He really is, all because their (possibly well-meaning) parents placed their own laws above teaching their children how to develop a relationship with the Lord.

 

Many parents continually force their children to “do” right instead of helping them to “be” right.  They force them to follow parental convictions and then wonder why they grow up to be shallow and phony.

 

Sometimes Christian parents get lost in rituals.  They become overly preoccupied with what their children are doing.  Are they reading the right materials?  Are they dressed right?  Are they watching TV, playing video games, listening to foul music, and talking with bad friends?  As parents, we SHOULD be concerned with such things.  But if that is the extent of our concern, then perhaps we are missing the most important things: namely, how our children are developing spiritually, socially, and emotionally.  These things CANNOT be mandated to a child.  They can only be suppressed.  In other words, you cannot MAKE your child spiritual or socially balanced or emotionally mature.  Parents can, by their actions, suppress these areas of their children’s lives from developing.

 

Revelation 2:1-5 KJV

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

 

Here we find the danger of teaching our children structure rather than relationship.  This church began out of a love relationship with Christ.  They were His bride, and they loved Him.  But somewhere along the way, they came to believe that it was what they did that pleased Him.  Jesus commends them for all that they have done, but He tells them that they have “fallen” and are in need of repentance.

 

We face the real danger of creating children who are like the church of Ephesus.  They do everything right but they have no love and passion for God.  They misconstrue their “rightness” as relationship and then wonder why God is not active in their lives.  They grow up to become pastors and leaders who create more churches like Ephesus, churches that do everything right but lack the power of God.   It is our fault.  When we create children in our own image (instead of God’s), they will, in turn, create churches after the manner in which they were raised.   And we sit wondering where we went wrong.

 

Judges 16:18-21 KJV

18 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.

19 And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

20 And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

 

Samson lost the things of God he possessed because he placed so little value on them.  Many children who are raised in godly homes eventually cast aside the ways of their parents when they grow into adults.  This happens because they have never come to see their parents’ ways as anything more than routines.

 

Some children look forward to leaving home so they can escape the pressures of how they were raised.  They want to escape the emptiness they feel as they go through the motions of family devotions and prayer.  They want to escape the knowledge that they feel nothing in their hearts.  But what they fail to realize is that when they leave home, they take their hearts with them.  They may be able to escape the routines of their parents, but they cannot escape the emptiness in their hearts.

 

Galatians 4:19 KJV

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

 

Children must come to see all the attributes of Christ in us that we want in them.  In other words, they must be able to obtain forgiveness and second chances.  We must demonstrate the ability to forgive seventy times seven because our Lord is kind, forgiving, and full of love.  It is through love and forgiveness that they learn to see the Lord we serve.  We must treat our children with the same grace and mercy that we have found.  Far too often, this is not the case.  Far too often, we act as though the Lord we serve is a taskmaster: he cannot be pleased and is never satisfied with our best.  As a result, we must reflect in our relationship with them the relationship they have, or one day will have, with the Lord.

 

The ultimate objective of parents is not to have children in subjection to them, but that their children would come to know and live in subjection to the authority of the Holy Spirit.  This is true spiritual authority.

 

 

What About Submission

 

1 Peter 3:1 KJV

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives

 

Ephesians 5:22 KJV

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

 

1 Peter 5:5 KJV

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

 

Demonstrating subjection and submission is showing respect to the natural authority God has established.  But submission is NOT a spiritual act.  If it were, then a woman whose unsaved husband wanted her to sacrifice her salvation because of his selfish nature would be in sin if she disobeyed.  But since her spiritual authority is found in the authority of the Holy Spirit, she does not violate her spiritual authority by obeying God.  Let’s be clear about this: an unsaved man does not exercise spiritual authority over his saved wife.  His authority is a natural authority.  Consequently, it is not uncommon to find the saved wives of unsaved men wrestling with the inner conflict of how to submit to their husbands, which they know God wants of them, while still serving God.

 

We must be careful not turn submission into a spiritual act.  When we do that it becomes law, and women will submit, not out of love but out of some sense of duty or threat of sin.  This tends to diminish a wife’s effectiveness as his help meet.  Christian wives submit to their husbands because that is the natural order that God established, and it is therefore pleasing to Him.  But to make submission exclusively a wife’s role is wrong.  We are “all [to] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”   Consequently, it should not be hard for a woman to submit to her husband and he to her.  Submission should be our lifestyle.

 

Remember, example is the best teacher.  Husbands teach their wives and children humility and submission by demonstrating it to them, and so does the wife.  True submission and humility is not a result of a person with spiritual authority lording over us but because the nature of the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives causing us to be “subject one to another, and… clothed with humility.

 

As for children, Paul writes, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3).”  The phase “in the Lord” once again establishes that true spiritual authority comes from God.  However, unlike other forms of submission, this form comes with a promise (i.e., “that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth”).  It is interesting that failure to submit does not come with a threat of sin but a loss of promise.  This is because submission is not a spiritual act but simply following the natural order God established.

 

By nature, children will obey their parents.  It is a very natural thing.  It does not require spirituality but discipline.  In much our society, natural order has eroded into chaos.  As a result, children do not obey their parents, mothers abort their children, and men abuse their families.  Paul described this when he wrote that “in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be without natural affection… (2 Timothy 3:1-3).

 

Christian men do not need to demand submission from their wives or subjection from their children.  They foster the natural affection that is born in them.  They do this through love and example.  This does not mean that we do not discipline our children.  It simply means that discipline must be combined with a demonstration from the parents of what they expect.  Parents must demonstrate to their children what they will someday need to show to their own children.

 

What about submission to Christian leaders?  Christian leaders often quote scriptures like the following:

 

Hebrews 13:7 KJV

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

 

Christian leaders who demand or require submission are fools.  People will freely submit to someone whom they respect.  Paul writes that a true leader’s “faith” will follow, and their “conversation (or manner of living)” draws respect.  Christian leaders who feel the need to protect their authority are bullies, not leaders established by the Lord.

 

Quite often, Christian leaders will point to scripture concerning the apostles to explain the respect and submission they want to receive.  So let’s consider the scripture:

 

Acts 2:43 KJV

And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

 

Acts 5:11-15 KJV

11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.

13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.

14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

 

It is quite clear throughout the scripture that people submitted and respected the apostles not because of a spiritual obligation but because of the quality of their lives.  They did not submit because it was required of them.  They submitted because of the God they saw in these men.  This is the truest example of spiritual authority in Christian leaders.

 

Finally, a discussion on submission would not be complete without addressing wives unequally yoked with unbelievers.  Wife, if your husband is unsaved, you must take whatever steps the Spirit of God instructs you to see that your children are raised in the fear of God.  This may at times require you to go against your husband’s wishes.  If it comes to this, do so with the utmost humility and respect.  Let him know how difficult it is for you to disobey his wishes.  But don’t forget that, just like your children, your husband needs God’s love and salvation.  He too has a soul.  It would be much better for you to serve God with him rather than without him.  Regardless of what people tell you, the answers for your questions can only be found in the leading of the Holy Spirit, but you can be sure that everyone around you will second-guess what you do.

 

The wife of a saved but lukewarm husband may have just as many challenges.  Many women have found that by quitting their institutional churches and then starting or attending a house church, their husbands are forced to become the spiritual leaders God intended them to be.  You must come to grips with this.  Your husband will face many challenges to become a spiritual leader as long as you submit to the spiritual leadership of a pastor and you both attend a church that already has a spiritual leader (the pastor).  Most men become lukewarm because they are unable to do that which God has called them to do (i.e., be the spiritual leader their own homes).  Their wives have already made their choice of which leadership they are going to follow (i.e., the pastor), so why expect from the husbands something they can never be while in an institutional church?  Wives, you must decide which is more important: the comfort and enjoyment you get from submitting to your pastor or your husband’s spiritual life.  Remember, your union with your pastor is not a holy bond, but that which you have with your husband is.  “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man [or his wife] put asunder (Matthew 19:6).

 

The ultimate objective of every wife is not that she would be serving God in the church of her choice but that her husband would be in subjection to the authority of the Holy Spirit.  This is true spiritual authority.

 

 

Amen.

 

E-mail me: kmsrjs@triton.net.


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