After messages directed towards men in the previous weeks, Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Church in Riverside, Calif., turned to women on Sunday, speaking to them about how they can get a "new" husband if they heed advice by Apostle Peter. Laurie's wife joined him on stage.
As most Americans like "new and improved" version of everything, Laurie said the women of his church could get a new husband. But it's also about how to be a new wife, he added.
"Let's talk about women, what qualities they should have, and the biblical secret to reaching the non-believing or nominally believing husband," the pastor said, and quoted 1 Peter 3:1-4 (New Living Translation).
"In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God," the passage reads.
Based on the passage, Laurie shared four things that married women can do.
"Be the best version of you that you can be," the pastor said, introducing his first point. "First and foremost, you want to be a godly girl," he explained.
Women need to be beautiful not only outwardly, but more importantly inwardly, he added. If you only focus on the external, you would effectively waste your life because "there's something called gravity that's gonna kick in."
"There's nothing more beautiful than a woman who has walked with God for many years. Her inner beauty comes out... Let's be honest, beauty fades, but the inner beauty will almost overwhelm it."
If you want to look at a model woman – a woman with virtues – you can find it in Proverbs 31, Laurie said. The word virtue, often used for women, is not a weak word; it speaks of influence, force and strength, he explained.
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel," Laurie quoted 1 Peter 3:3. The godly woman focuses primarily on the internal, but does not forget the external, he said. "Don't just be preoccupied with the external."
There should be balance, and that balance is found in 1 Timothy 4:8, he said. "For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come," the verse reads.
The second thing married women should do is "respect your man."
Quoting 1 Peter 3:1-2 (New American Standard Bible), Laurie said "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior."
"Do you respect your husband, and does he know it?" he asked. Wives need love and husbands need respect, he said.
Laurie shared a quote from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs' book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. "When a husband feels disrespected, it is specially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is specially hard to respect her husband."
How to break this cycle? "Do your part," and remember not to worry about the feeling, Laurie said. "God is not calling wives to feel respect; He is commanding them to show respectful behavior."
The third thing is, "submit to the leadership of your husband," Laurie shared.
Submission is not about superiority, but about sacrifice, meeting the needs of your mate before your own; it means to hold someone up, he explained.
Men and women are equal, Laurie underlined. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus," Galatians 3:28 states. Both the husband and the wife are to submit to one another, he clarified.
1 Corinthians 11:3 sheds light on the need for submission. "But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."
The three distinct personalities in the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal; there's only functional difference, Laurie said. "So God the Father is the head of Christ not in essence or is in nature, but in function."
Jesus emptied Himself up for God the Father, but he did not empty His divinity, "not for a moment." Jesus laid aside the privileges of His deity by walking among us as a "man" and accepted crucifixion, he said. "The husband has the God-given responsibility to provide for, protect and lead... The wife is to submit graciously to this servant-leadership the husband provides."
But what if the husband is not doing his part, should the wife still "submit"? "The short answer is, yes and no," Laurie said.
Yes, because you can win without a word by your behavior as you observe your chaste and respectful behavior, as Apostle Peter said, Laurie explained. But not when your husband asks you to do something un-biblical or something that's not appropriate, he added, quoting Colossians 3:18, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."
To share the fourth thing married women should do, Laurie said women talk more than men. Women by nature are more verbal and even more persuasive. But don't use that to manipulate your husband, and resist the temptation to nag, he suggested, quoting Proverbs 19:13, "... And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping."
Nagging or verbal persuasion is not effective in influencing your husband, Laurie said. "Do it without your words, in action."
Before ending his message, Laurie called his wife, Cathe, on stage to bring in "feminine perspective."
"My submission to Greg is like submitting to my spiritual leader... and as unto the Lord," she told the congregation. The headship of God the Father over Christ is not an assault on the dignity of the second person of the Trinity, she added.
Laurie requested his wife to advice what a woman should be thinking about and living for as she wakes up every morning. Unmarried women should seek to present themselves to God, who created them and has a plan for their lives, she said. And married women should ask God for patience. For, marriage is like a garden, which takes time and work. "Hang in there, don't throw in the towel... Have a long-term goal."