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Questions & Answers

Male and female roles

First posted: August 29, 2010

 

Question

{The question below was extracted from an email sent to us by a visitor. The wording is ours, but it is consistent with the issues raised in the email.}

 

Some 2 months ago, we received an email from a sister in Christ in which she shared that she was growing in the "male" nature of the Spirit, but was concerned and confused about how that growth could affect her "female" role as a wife. In other words, she was asking,

How can I grow in the "masculine" nature of the inner man within me (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10) without losing my "femininity" and without having my role as a wife distorted somehow?

 

 

Answer

 

The key to the issue this visitor is grappling with is to discern how the surrounding context affects the role one is supposed to play. For example, a police officer may have the authority to stop a car in the street and ask the driver for his driving licence in case he detects reasonably suspicious behaviour. Because of his authority as a police officer, the driver will be compelled to comply with his requests (unless he can determine that the officer is being unreasonably suspicious of him). Even so, the driver's obligation to submit to the officer does not mean that he must obey every order that the officer gives to him. The police officer may have authority over the person's driving behaviour and over his public behaviour in general, but he cannot tell someone who to marry, for example, or who he can be friends with. The police officer cannot tell someone to hand over a book he sees in the person's vehicle just because he disagrees with its content. In other words, the officer has special authority within a given context or jurisdiction, but, once he steps outside of that context, the officer "loses" that authority and becomes just like everyone else. In fact, when the officer is off-duty, he loses most of that authority as well, even when it may involve a matter where he would generally have authority were he on duty.

 

Consider now a female police officer. Such a person would have the authority to arrest lawbreakers, push them around and taser them if they get rowdy, and even shoot them down and kill them if the situation merits it. Despite all of that power, once she takes off her police hat and goes home to her husband, her authority to "order people around" is "gone", and she must be careful not to carry over the "power" derived from her police authority into the realm of her marriage. Just because she can taser a non-compliant criminal does not mean she can pull out her taser gun whenever her husband does something she does not agree with. In the context of her marriage, i.e.- in the context of things directly related to her as a wife and him as a husband, she must be willing to recognise her husband's authority and submit to it, as long as that submission does not force her to compromise her principles as a police officer. Having said this, when she puts her police hat back on the next day, she stops being her husband's wife and becomes a police officer once again. If, during the day, she stops a car for speeding and discovers that she just stopped her husband, she must act like a police officer, and she is not only "entitled" but required to exert police authority over him if he broke the law, even if he is her husband. Therefore, within a given context, the woman is to submit to the man, and, under a different context, the man is to submit to the woman, even if we are talking about the same two people.

 

It is worth meditating on the following 7 passages in the light of the above:

 

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"1 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; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Peter 3:1-7)

 

Consider the phrase "hidden man" that appears in verse 4. The word "man" was translated from the male Greek noun anthropos.

 

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"And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. " (Genesis 21:12)

 

Notice how God tells Abraham to obey what Sarah, his wife in the flesh, is telling him to do.

 

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"1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." (Genesis 16:1-4)

 

As opposed to the case above, this was a case where Abraham was not supposed to obey what his wife was telling him to do. Notice also that she is called "Sarai", not "Sarah", because she was not yet walking in the "hidden man" made after God (1 Peter 3:4).

 

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"18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. 19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal. 20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them. 21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good. 22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall. 23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, 24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. 25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. 27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord. 28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. 29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. 30 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; 31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid. 32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: 33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. 34 For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall." (1 Samuel 25:18-34)

 

Notice how David, a male, did right in heeding the voice of a female, Abigail. Notice also how Abigail did not ask her husband for "covering" or "permission" to go and talk to David. Notice also how Abigail literally called her husband a "fool" (v25) in front of a "stranger", instead of "standing by her man" in "humble submission" to her husband's will. Instead of portraying all of this in a negative light, the Holy Spirit portrays it as a good thing throughout 1 Samuel 25. Because of David's submission to Abigail's words and Abigail's "non-submission" to her husband, the lives of innocent people were spared, and even Abigail's husband was given 10 more days to live.

 

Notice also that David declares that he would have murdered all who "piss against the wall" in Nabal's house (v22, v34). This rather graphic expression (which is correctly translated from the original Hebrew text) only appears 6 times in Scripture, the first two times being in 1 Samuel 25 above, and it is always used in the context of a person's "household" being obliterated. This phrase is an obvious reference to biological males, and is a figure of a man's endowment to expand and conquer (as illustrated by a male's biological ability to project his urine forwards, with the urine representing "marked territory"). Thus, God's use of the phrase "piss against the wall" is an emphasis of how a woman (Abigail) was able to save a group of men from certain death.

 

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"24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee." (Matthew 17:24-27)

 

Notice how Jesus and His disciples were being compelled to submit to a foolish and unnecessary commandment. Even though Jesus had no proactive interest in complying with this commandment, once the environment around him (in this case, Capernaum) pressed it upon Him to "submit", He did the minimum required to comply with it (notice that the fish only had enough for Jesus' and Peter's tribute; nothing is said of the other disciples' tribute). Jesus complied, not because it was the "right thing to do", but as a way to prevent satan giving other people "mental excuses" to consider Jesus as "unGodly". In other words, we also have to take into account the mindset of the weak to avoid placing stumbling blocks in their path, even if those "stumbling blocks" are actions that are not inherently wrong (Romans 14:1-9). This partial submission, which unnecessarily limits our freedom, is motivated by our love for others. Having said this, it is important to note that this principle did not prevent Jesus becoming a stumbling block for His staunch enemies (1 Peter 2:6-8). Jesus did not mind calling His staunch enemies "hypocrites" and "whited sepulchres", even when He knew that such words would most definitely act as "stumbling blocks" to His "ingratiation" with these men. Thus, the principle of acquiescing and submitting on account to the weakness of others must not be allowed to degrade into blind and non-confrontational submission to unrighteousness.

 

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"29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. " (Matthew 22:29-32)

 

Notice that marriage on Earth is portrayed as a temporal thing. In other words, a woman's role as her husband's wife is temporary in nature. Whenever a woman sees herself enveloped in the context of her "home" and "marriage", she is to put on her "wife hat" and act in submission to her husband, knowing that it is one of the many temporary roles she is to play during her "earthly" existence. When she is at work, she must don the "employee cap" and act in submission to the authority of her employer; when she is still a child, she is to wear the "daughter cap" and act in submission to the authority of her parents. In the Spirit, we are to discern the specific temporary context we are in, and we are to wear the corresponding cap.

 

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"42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. " (Luke 2:42-51)

 

There are moments, even in the midst of the temporary contexts described above, where we are called to let our eternal son of God nature override all the temporary caps. Even when we are to wear these temporary caps, we never stop being sons and daughters of God on the inside. Therefore, we must be aware that the temporary caps do not imply total and unconditional submission, as shown by the "child" Jesus when He went to the temple without asking for permission from His earthly parents. Consider also how this passage describing Jesus' "escapade" ends with the Holy Spirit describing Jesus as remaining "subject unto" His earthly parents after they returned to Nazareth (v51). Even Jesus, the Son of the Most High God, knew that He had a temporary role to play as the "son" of His earthly parents, but He never forgot who His true and ultimate Father was (v49).

 

In order to have an even clearer sense of the answer to this visitor's question, we recommend our articles on Romans 13, given that Romans 13 describes the true concept of authority from God's perspective, not man's. We also recommend the article on the "rise of women" during the latter-day Revival, as well as the posting on "Salty marriages". This latter posting must be read in the context of how a female New-Covenant believer must see marriage as an opportunity to act as a blessing for her husband, blessing him in such a way that she will have an eternal impact on his life (obviously, this door of opportunity swings both ways, as evidenced by 1 Peter 3:7).

 

As we have shared before, those who enter into the fullness of the green-horse stage begin to operate in spiritual "androgyny". This "androgyny" is coupled with a certain "angelic soullessness" that the natural believer is unable to comprehend.