It’s no secret that we view life through a lens that is very specific to us. This lens is created by our family background, genetic makeup, socio-economic standing, education, and local culture. I’ve heard it said most simply, “All you know is what you know.”.
Some of these lenses are good! As Christians, the Bible should be held in such esteem in our lives that we look at everything within the context of what Scripture has to say about it. The Bible is our standard of right and wrong in a world that has blurred the line between.
But many times, we end up looking through that lens backwards. We take what we know from the world and use it to look at the Bible, basing our interpretations of the Bible on shaky realities established by the world. Sometimes our core beliefs are so entrenched that finding the root of them is like trying to untangle two knotted necklaces. You can’t tell where one starts and another begins to pull them apart. This is why it’s SO important to stay in the Bible and know for sure what we believe and why.
I was reminded of this myself recently…
We’ve been in a family series at church, looking at what the Bible has to say about marriage and family. I’ve had the privilege of helping teach some of the Wednesday night material with Brandon, which required some joint prep work in looking at Scripture. This means some conversations about our own marriage and whether or not it lines up with Scripture. We got into the lovely ‘wives submit’ passage, and talked about how it practically plays out in our finances, parenting, and communication.
Pause for a second. Need evidence that we take on the world’s vantage point? If you’re a woman, how did you react to that last paragraph? I bet the hair stood up on the back of your neck. Even just a little bit. I bet you didn’t break out in praise like the psalmist when he said:
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey!” (Psalm 119:103)
So what do we do when culture’s seems to contradict the Bible, but we know that the words of the Bible are good? What do we do with that internal conflict?
This is what the Holy Spirit asked me as I was reading through Acts, through Paul’s missionary travels. He would travel from city to city and plant churches and encourage the believers there. The stories all have the same general idea, but all of the sudden I noticed a trend that I hadn’t seen before.
Acts 16:1-5 – Timothy’s mother was largely responsible for raising Timothy to honor God. So much that he was chosen to go with Paul on his travels.
Acts 16:11-15 – Paul and Silas are looking for a place to pray and instead come across a group of women working. They sit down and talk to them, and specifically meet Lydia, who was a believer. She used her home and resources to help them on their way.
Acts 17:4,12- Large groups of ‘prominent, God-fearing’ women in both Thessolonica and Berea believed and were part of the first churches there.
Acts 17:34 – A specific prominent woman, Damaris, was part of the church in Athens.
Acts 18- Aquilla and his wife Priscilla, both of whom were tent makers, were a HUGE part of Paul’s life in Corinth.
Women were super influential in the spread of the gospel in the church’s infancy! And don’t miss the culture that the church was being planted in. This culture devalued women, reduced them to mere property. Contextually, for the author of Acts to mention the influence that women had in the early church speaks volume to the value that God places on women!
But in our culture, we jump right to “controversy” around the Ephesians 6 passage that talks about wives submitting to their husbands. We assume that it’s belitting and down putting. Our jaded cultural lenses can show us things that Scripture never actually says. I’ll admit it give me a little heartburn at times.
And here is where the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder. I found myself conflicted, feeling as if Scripture said two different things. Like Acts was communicating value and Ephesians was demeaning. Things that appeared to be a contradiction.
But it’s quite the opposite! I don’t want to jump in and talk about husband and wife roles today. Maybe another time. But I do know that that passage places an awful lot of responsibility on the husbands to afford their wives protection and love. I also know that that passage has to do with the husband and wife relationship only, not men and women in general.
Yes, if I follow the Biblical mandates for my marriage, it will look different than the world. But it comes with a promise of a fulfilling marriage if I do it God’s way. May be worth looking a little bit backward to the culture?
So I had to drop my worldview lenses and see what Scripture says. It says that I’m a loved child of God. I may have a different role than my husband, but God can use me to help advance His kingdom just as much as the next person, as long as I’m willing to lay it all down and follow Him. And laying it all down may mean patterning my marriage after Scripture, not the world’s interpretation of Scripture.
And maybe instead of focusing so much on the conflict that I feel at times our different roles, I should that the God who loved me enough to send His only Son to die for me won’t steer me wrong in my marriage.
Whatever issue you struggle with, when you feel the tension between this world and the Bible, I’d encourage you to evaluate what lens you use, even if it means untangling some necklaces, and making sure that everything is viewed through the lens of the words of the One who loves you more than you will ever know.