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Submission. I know that's not a very popular word these days. In fact, it's a word that has struck fear into the heart of many a woman. Yet it is a scriptural word - one that you must understand if the power of God is ever going to flow in your marriage.

The doctrine of submission is one of the most abused doctrines in the Bible. Misguided men have used it as an excuse to oppress and mistreat their wives. They've even twisted it to lead their wives into sin. I want to set the record straight. I want to let both husbands and wives know that real, biblical submission is good news, not bad news. It's a principle which, if properly understood, will turn your marriage into the powerhouse God designed it to be.

In Ephesians 5:22-24, the Word of God paints a beautiful picture of a right relationship between man and woman. It is in this picture that the word "submission" appears:

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church....Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."

The Buck Stops Here
Before we go any further, I want to make something clear. When God designed the husband as the head of the wife, all He did was assign leadership responsibility. Nothing more. He did not indicate that the man is more important than the woman...or smarter than the woman...or any such thing. As a matter of fact, God says that in Christ "there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).

When you have more than one person involved in anything, one individual has to be assigned final decision-making responsibility or there is anarchy. The buck has to stop with someone, and in the marriage relationship that someone is the man.

Now guys, that doesn't mean God is giving you a little kingship where you can order your wife around and do whatever you want. No, it means He has given you a solemn responsibility to be the leader of your home. What's more, He is expecting you to pattern that leadership after the ministry of Jesus Christ Himself. He says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Eph. 5:25).

No Bullies Allowed
One of the most outstanding aspects of the leadership of Jesus was that He never forced it on anyone. Everyone who submitted to Him did so voluntarily. True submission in marriage cannot be forced either. Any bully who tries will find one of two things on their hands - bondage or rebellion.

I can just hear you husbands thinking, Oh great! How do I get my wife to submit to me then? By loving her as Christ loved the Church. We are able to love Jesus because we're confident of His love for us. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us. He didn't withhold anything.

Husbands, when your wife is that confident in your love for her, when she knows you would lay down your life for her, submission will never be an issue in your family. It will simply be a fact founded on love.

You see, woman in her most basic state was made to respond to man's leadership. She is most comfortable when her man is operating as he's supposed to and she can adapt to the direction God brings the family through him. She wants to be in submission.

Why then are so many women running the show? More often than not, it's because they have to fill a leadership void left by their husbands.

Me, a Prophet?
To learn how to fill that leadership void, we must look back at our pattern - Jesus. His ministry involved three different phases: prophet, priest, and king. To follow His example, you as a husband need to minister to your family in the same three ways.

First, there is the prophet role. What does a prophet do? He proclaims the Word of the Lord. As prophet in your home, husband, it's your responsibility to proclaim the Word to your family. That means taking the initiative and doing it, even if you feel your wife is more spiritual than you.

You may find a hundred other excuses not to assume the role of prophet, but unless you're speaking the Word to your family, you've abdicated one of your primary responsibilities as leader.

How do you function as a prophet in your home? There are lots of ways. It may mean initiating morning or evening family devotions. It could involve something as simple as getting your family to church to hear the anointed Word.

When your child falls and hurts her knee, instead of running for the aspirin and bandages, you speak what God's Word says about healing to her and pray the prayer of faith. When you're staring at a stack of bills that you don't know how you're going to pay, you don't moan or fret. You proclaim that God meets all your family's needs according to His riches in glory. You proclaim your deliverance from the curse of poverty.

I realize you may feel strange doing such things at first. But forge ahead anyway. That's what I had to do. I remember not long after I had promised the Lord I would take my role as prophet in my home, my oldest boy, Jim, hurt himself during a ballgame. When it happened, I knew I was going to have to go out there and pray for him. And to tell you the truth, I didn't want to do it.

I didn't even know how to pray very well back then. What's more, many of my old buddies were watching. But even though I felt awkward, I walked onto the field and prayed for Jim. God honored that little step of faith and enabled him to play the rest of the game.

He'll do the same kind of thing for you. Don't worry about your inadequacies. Just take the first step and God will do the rest.

Priest and King
The second aspect of the husband's responsibility as leader in the home is the role of priest. Jesus, our High Priest, is sitting at the right hand of the Father. There, He is involved in two priestly activities - He intercedes or prays for us, and He ministers to us. Those two priestly functions are the husband's as well.

Husband, it is your responsibility to pray for your family. And I'm not talking about a weak, "Bless my family, Lord," before you fall asleep at night. I'm talking about genuine, serious intercession. The kind of prayer that pleads the blood of Jesus over your wife and children, commissions angels to surround them with protection and keeps them from the snares of the devil.

Wives, this isn't to say that you shouldn't pray as well. It's vital that you do so. It's just that the husband has been given ultimate responsibility and accountability for operating as the priest of the home. We're simply talking about leadership here.

A priest also ministers to his family. When your wife is hurting, you are to minister to her in the power of the Holy Spirit. If your children are experiencing a traumatic situation in school, as the priest of the home you extend the love of God to them and encourage them in the Word. Operating as a priest by praying and ministering in love is not just an option for a Christian husband who wants to be the kind of leader that Jesus is. It's a must.

The final aspect of Jesus' method of leadership is His kingly ministry. It's also the most frequently abused when applied to the marriage relationship.

Husbands, as king in your home, you're responsible to seek God about the direction for your family and carry out that direction in a way that will keep all of you on the course God has planned.

Now, don't take that to mean you simply sit on the throne, make all the decisions, and ignore what your wife has to say. Oh, no. You need to sit down with her and say, "Honey, I feel the Lord is speaking to me about our finances right now. ..." Then ask her what she thinks, because you can't effectively lead without her help. Remember, you two are one flesh (Eph. 5:31). You are incomplete without her. You need her input, her wisdom, and her sensitivity to the Lord to help keep you on track.

Your wife is your best source of counsel. So, seek out her agreement. It's the best safety net God has given you. If you and your wife will agree before making a decision, you're sure to avoid some very costly mistakes.

When you're facing an important decision, and you just can't seem to agree, pray together until God changes one of your hearts. Believe me, it's worth the time it takes. You are God's unbeatable team when you move in the power of agreement.

Source: Heirs Together by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Mac Hammond Ministries

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.

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