© 2007 Ron Schwartz
All rights reserved.
Part 2. The
Application Of Spiritual Authority
May 19, 2007
From Ron and Karen
Husbands, Wives, and Synergy
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
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”
“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
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.
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
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
4 Nevertheless I
have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Christian leaders will point to scripture concerning the apostles to explain
the respect and submission they want to receive. So let’s consider the
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.
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).”
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.