(Editor's Note: Parts 1 and 2 of this series may be found by using "Author Archives.")

Equipped for the Assignment
Headship and submission are roles that have been assigned to us by God. Those roles operate correctly when we fulfill them "even as" Christ and His church. Jesus is the Head of the church whether anyone acknowledges Him as Head or not. He doesn't fear that anyone will take His Church away; He is secure in His role. He knows that it is His assignment from the Father.

As a pastor, I've had to face my own insecurities. I never wanted to be the head of anything. When I played basketball in high school, if the score was close, I didn't want to be in the game. I would have rather sat on the bench.

"But you could have been a hero - made a last-second shot and won the game!"

That thought never entered my mind. I was afraid I would drop the ball.

Can God take someone with a personality like that and make him the head of a local ministry? Yes! Because headship is a role He has assigned to me; it is not a position for which I must qualify myself. I am head whether I want to be or not, or whether my congregation acknowledges it or not. God has given me the assignment of being the head of my church under Jesus. The more I meditate on that fact, the more secure I am in my position. The insecurities I experience are just thoughts; I don't have to allow those thoughts to affect my actions. I just need to acknowledge Jesus. My being a pastor was not my idea, but His.

Ephesians 5 gives us the "job descriptions" of the roles in the marriage relationship. In verse 22, God is talking to wives. He is not talking to husbands. Husbands, if you got a letter from God, it wouldn't contain verses 22-24. He would start your letter in verse 25.

He doesn't want us to get confused in this. That's why He said, "Wives ..." and "Husbands. ..." Husbands, it's not your business to know what He told the wives. It's not your business to look at verse 22 and say, "She's not doing that!" You're not even supposed to know its there! It wasn't written to you! Wives, stay out of verse 25. It's not written to you, it's written to your husbands.

If we would mind our own business, we wouldn't take on the assignment of making sure that our mate does their part. That is what causes most of the upheavals in our homes. We've read too much. We like what we've heard God tell the other one better than what we're hearing Him tell us.

With each assignment comes the ability—not of us, but of God—to fulfill it. With your role as the submitted ones in the church comes ability from God to fulfill that role. You have a grace to operate under the authority of your pastor, to be a support to him.

There is an anointing—an ability—which makes our roles relatively easy to fulfill, if we choose to accept our place of assignment. But there is no equipping unless the role has been assigned. The church can't switch roles with Jesus. We wouldn't want to. Not only is it impossible for us to take His place, but we couldn't fulfill His role if we got there. We're not equipped.

What if I tried to be pastor of all the local churches in my city? Would I have some problems? You'd better believe I would. That assignment has not been given to me. If I take on a role that God has not assigned me, great consternation comes upon me.

You are the head of your own ministry to the lost; God has given you that assignment. That position isn't reserved for those with specific gifts. He has said to every believer, "Go into all the world." Because He's assigned you that role, you are equipped to witness. Jesus will work with you. But you may not be equipped to stand in the pastor's office or in the office of a prophet. That is another role, and you would have to be given that assignment by God before you could stand in it. The equipping comes with the assignment.

We are in submission to Jesus if we are born again. Male and female, we are all submitted ones in the church. That assignment has nothing to do with gender. It's not men against women or women against men; in the church there is neither male nor female. But in the marriage relationship, God has assigned the roles of headship and submission according to gender. It's a role assignment - it has nothing to do with the character of the person.

Wives have been given the submitted role, and there's no equipping for headship. As a wife, you can't say, "This isn't fair; I want to have the headship of this home." That's not an option. If you pressure long enough, you may be given some of the responsibilities of the headship role but you won't have what it takes to handle it. God has assigned roles for the purpose of protecting us. The ability comes with the assignment.

The equipping to be the submitted one in marriage comes with the assignment. The equipping to be the head in a marriage comes with the assignment. The equipping to be the submitted one in the local church comes with the assignment. We don't have to struggle for the ability is there. We just flow with it. The struggle comes when we try to stand in a place of responsibility that we have not been given.

The Responsibility of Headship
If there is a problem in the church, at work, or in our homes, it is a problem with responsibility. Either those who aren't responsible for an assignment want it, or the ones who have the assignment don't want the responsibility.

The weight of headship—the responsibility of the position—often won't fall upon the head unless there is submission. If my wife does my job because I'm not, the weight of the position will never fall on me; it will be harder for me to face up to my responsibility. If an employer doesn't want to make decisions, and the employees continue to cover up for him, the employer won't feel the weight because his employees are bearing it. Soon everything will be helter-skelter because the head is not in charge. We must leave responsibility where it belongs. We must allow the heads to be head.

Sometimes men have great difficulty taking responsibility for the role they've been given. Being the submitted one seems easier; it's so easy just to let things happen. I have first-hand experience in that—I've struggled with taking responsibility. I've never wanted to be president of anything. But since I've been assigned headship roles as a married man and a pastor, I must take responsibility for those assignments. Submitted ones want the head to take the lead. They do better if the head fulfills his responsibility, because they are equipped to submit. If the head doesn't declare what direction they're going, it's hard for the submitted one to follow.

Some want headship because they think it means reward. But headship doesn't mean reward; it means responsibility. There is no reward for usurping our assignment. The only reward we receive is for obedience to the role we've been assigned. The reward is the same for the head or for the submitted one. There is no difference in heaven. "Well done, good and faithful servant," He will say, as He opens His arms to every one. He won't ask, "Now, were you a head or a submitted one down there?" He will ask, "Were you obedient?"

The Wake-up Call at Home
Too many times we men think that since we have worked hard all day, we can "check out" when we get home. We can't! The minute you walk in your door, husband, you are the head. You can't say, "I put in a hard day at work so I'm just going to lay down on the couch and cover my head with the newspaper. Call me when its supper time." Then watch TV all evening. Then go to bed. No! You've got great responsibility.

You might have been a submitted one all day but now you are in charge. Husbands, your real responsibility begins at home. You can't go to sleep "on the job." You need a "wake-up" call as you go from one assignment to the other.

First Timothy 3:4-5, in speaking of the bishop, or overseer, says that he is, "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

That is an admonition to me as a pastor. I can't devote all my energy to my job, because if my home is not ordered and functioning properly, it will reflect in my church. God's priority is the home. We can't pretend we're on a spiritual binge and neglect our homes. We can't say, "I don't have time to deal with family, I have ministry to do." That violates God's priorities.

First Timothy 3:12 deals with deacons—submitted ones in the church who have been given responsibility. "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well."

All spiritual people, not just pastors, must accept the assignments given unto them. That's God's way. You won't have success beyond God's way; receive the wake-up call at home.

Submitted Ones Need Guidelines
If our employers never gave us guidelines—what we're supposed to do, what is expected of us, what we're there for—we would have a very difficult time doing our job. The same thing happens in the home if the submitted one is not given a set of guidelines. If the head does not give the submitted one guidelines, he is not fulfilling his headship role. Guidelines are the key for the submitted position to fully function. Without input from the head there is great confusion.

One guideline may be that the wife has responsibility over the finances.

"But I thought finances are the responsibility of the head!"

A lot of men who can't put two and two together are trying to manage the family finances, thinking "Bless God, I'm the head of this house," not trusting in their wife's ability. Those men are not fulfilling their headship role. It is the head's responsibility to keep the home in order. It is the head's responsibility to establish guidelines. There are no set jobs; it comes down to "What's best for the home?"

Husbands, it is your responsibility to build your home to be the best that it can be, even if that means delegating certain responsibilities to your wife because she does them better than you. It's your home and you are the responsible one. When someone looks at your home they will see you.

When guidelines are given according to ability, there is freedom for each to fulfill their roles. Without any guidelines, the position of the submitted one cannot work.

Without guidelines, the whole process struggles, and will fail. Without input, guidelines won't be established. The head and the submitted ones must communicate. It is impossible to have silent partners in these relationships.

Word of Faith Church
All rights reserved. Used by permission.