Biblical Womanhood Flourishing in the Marriage Covenant

[Disclaimer: It may seem that I blog a lot about Piper and his books or his resources on DG, and I would have to say yes, that is probably the case. It is not because I want people to go and follow him. It is because the God that Piper serves and writes about is so BIG because of how he supports the truths found within Scripture.]

Josh and I have the joy of walking through premarital counseling with dear friends. They will be marrying at the beginning of the year. As we read many books prior to marriage while we were being counseled by Josh’s parents, we encountered many authors that savored Christ greatly and portrayed it beautifully in their books. Dave Harvey’s When Sinners Say “I Do” and Paul Tripp’s What Did You Expect were our favorites. It was not until immediately after marriage that we purchased John Piper’s This Momentary Marriage. This is the book that we are using with our friends. As we read through the pages again, I find myself truly savoring the marriage covenant created to demonstrate Christ’s love for His Bride.

What I would like to highlight in this post is the flourishing of biblical womanhood that exists in the marriage covenant. It is FREEING to willfully submit to one’s husband, not out of fear but FREEDOM. It is a beautiful thing to laugh when considering the future, especially when things within marriage can get us bogged down, because we have the sovereign hand of God so sweetly caressing our future.

“What we see is the deep strong roots of womanhood underneath the fruit of submission. It’s the roots that make submission the strong and beautiful thing that it is.” (This Momentary Marriage, page 96)

1 Peter 3:1-6
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

I want to hone in on verse 4.

{ word on a weakness in my life I constantly have to fight against:  I have struggled for years with body image. The very thing that we are warned against in this passage. When in high school, I hid being bulimic for some time. Praise God for freeing me of that prior to starting college, but the damage of believing such lies still can surface in my heart. My husband has been the biggest encouragement to me. Not that I need to be showered with external compliments all the time (though he is so good at doing that with joy), but he more than anything points me to scripture and shows me that God is after my heart. I remember when I was struggling with my body image early in our marriage and working in an office where I felt distracted from all my unbelieving coworkers that obsessed about working out or being fashionable, Josh reminded me of 1 Samuel 16:7b, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” }

The adornment of the hidden person of the heart is challenging. It makes me fight against what our culture projects. It makes me fight against what the fleshly side of me wants to believe. When I am down and out, running 5 miles may feel therapeutic and God can use that, but running to his word and searching for his promising will be more soul-rewarding. Verse 4 of 1 Peter also shows me what is precious to God. When I see such a statement in scripture, my ears perk up. I want to be precious to God. I AM precious to God in Christ, and my behavior will be precious to God in marriage if I am embracing a gentle and quiet spirit. That does not mean that I am a helpless, brainless wife that succumbs to every decision her husband makes. What a drudgery that would be! It means that I put my hope in the promises of God. This is, as Piper calls it, the deepest root of Christian womanhood. We see that as we continue reading verses 5 and 6. This takes work! This takes getting into God’s word and wrestling with my heart. This takes theology intake. Being a bible-saturated woman is the only way I can hope in God because by doing so, I am filled with truths and promises of unshakable joy.

Proverbs 31:25 – “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

Next I go to fearlessness. Hoping in God will produce fearlessness! Behind the hand of my sovereign God, even in the midst of great calamity and suffering, there is fearlessness. Josh and I had a miscarriage soon after we got married. Just a couple weeks before, we found out we were not going to China as we had been anticipating our entire engagement. We were devastated to say the least. We were unsure of God’s will for us. We were suffering the loss of our baby. There was real pain. Bill Seal was the spiritual foundations pastor at The Village Church Dallas Northway campus. He has gone to be with the Lord now. As he was dealing with his diagnosis before all of us in the sanctuary one day, I remember him so clearly stating that God must be lifted up. Yes, we lift God up for all the good in our lives. But God also must be lifted up for the seemingly bad because God’s purpose in our lives is good and loving. Tears rolled down my face as my heart comprehended this reality in regards to our miscarriage. God is so good and gracious. He is not slow to bring about his plan. It is perfect. Blessed foreknowledge! This pain in our marriage taught us fearlessness to some degree. Needless to say, it will take a lifetime of suffering and trusting in a Sovereign Lord to fully grasp fearlessness.

1 Peter 4:19 – “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

I am to cloth myself with such characteristics everyday. Willfully submitting to Josh as my guide in this family is a calling from God that I pray to answer more joyfully with each morning. I’ve been reminded through reading this book again that marriage is not about being in love. It is about covenant-keeping. We have to fight for that. Oh how GLAD I am to know this fight is not in vain as Christ Jesus has gone to the cross and absorbed the wrath for his bride! That is glorious! We have been purchased and not by our own doing. It has been solely by the predetermined will of God to come incarnate and draw chosen sinners to himself through his death and resurrection. It is because of this unbreakable covenant that I know with much love in my heart for my husband, that our marriage will only flourish as we are sanctified from one degree of glory to the next. Though such love will ebb and flow, our covenant remains hidden in Christ (Col. 3:3.)

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