…Submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21 (NKJV)
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is necessary in order for a marriage to be what God wants it to be—in order for it to rightly reflect and represent Christ's relationship with His Church. Something else is necessary too, and we see it here as Paul begins his definitive discourse on marriage with these words: …Submitting to one another in the fear of God.
A bit of clarification is in order. Our English word for fear is better translated in this passage as "serious reverence and respect." It's not the type of fear that inspires insecurity or uncertainty. Rather, it's the type of reverential reaction that governs one's actions. In other words, this is the type of respect that rubs off on your behavior, not in a negative way, but in a positive way because God is the object.
Essentially, Paul is saying that before we get into what a husband has to do or what a wife has to do, let's be sure to bring God into the picture. Let's remember that He's in the middle of all this. When that's the case, there's a healthy foundation for both husbands and wives to do what they are supposed to do, because they ultimately revere and respect Him.
It's the same thing that happens when a parent walks in on a group of children. Their behavior is immediately changed (or at least it should be) just by knowing there's a higher authority now in the room.
Every healthy marriage is going to have this godly governor. It has to. Our reverence for God is the taproot for our relational faithfulness to our spouse. Left to ourselves, apart from recognizing God's place in and authority over our lives, we're going to revert to our sinful nature. We're going to be like Adam, looking to pawn-off and deflect our responsibilities instead of embracing and fulfilling them.
Think about it…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
Consistency breeds security. If you're an employer, you take comfort in knowing that you have consistent employees working for you. If your car needs to be fixed, you're going to take it to a mechanic who has consistently performed well. And if you're a coach, you'll probably draw up a play at the end of a tight game that puts the ball in the hands of your best and most consistent player.