1 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV) “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”
One of the most misunderstood and hotly contested issues in the kingdom of God is that of headship and divine government. But the Bible is clear: God has set up an order within His kingdom and headship is a vital part of His order. If this is true, how are we to understand Scriptural headship?
First we must understand that the kingdom of God is not a democracy but a theocracy. A theocracy is the rule of God through delegated authorities. There is no vote in a theocracy. Decisions from God are administrated from the top through headship and government. People get into trouble when they feel things should be subject to a vote. Some of the most disrupted families are those where the husband and wife attempt to operate with equal authority in the home. This is always a recipe for disaster! Two people will never agree on every issue. Someone has to be the executive decision maker. Thus God has ordained the principle of headship.
Isaiah 9:6-7 declares, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder…Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end upon the throne of David and over His kingdom to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.” We see that God has established government in His kingdom. Without legitimately established government, the harvest of souls would be lost. Shoulders represents government because “the government will be upon His shoulder.” Government is plural involving more than one person. However, the head is singular. Government is to govern. Headship is to lead. The husband and wife together make up the government of the home, but the man is the God-ordained head within that government. In the same way, elders make up the government of the local church, but the head is one appointed by God to be the visionary leader of the congregation. Submission therefore is getting under and lifting the “head” so that the leader can see and hear clearly the direction of God. When government is positioned above the head, it results in visionary blindness, division, and breakdown within the leadership structure.
Submission to headship does not mean inferiority. Submission is the recognition of God’s kingdom order. The principle of headship finds its origin and pattern within the Godhead itself. Everything in the kingdom of God will reflect this same pattern. The Godhead consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are equal in deity and worthy of equal honor (John 5:22-23). Christ is equal to the Father and yet the Father is the head of Christ. In regard to headship Jesus said in John 14:28, “My Father is greater than I.” Within the Godhead there is plurality with submission to established headship. This recognition and respect for headship within the Godhead enables the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be perfectly one in mind, purpose, and work.
Headship in the home or in the church is like a quarterback leading his team on the field. The quarterback is no more valuable than any other player on the team. However, the quarterback is appointed by the coach to lead the team. When the quarterback calls the play in the huddle, the players on the field “line up” to carry out the play because they understand that the coach is ultimately in control of both the game plan and the players on the field. Attempting to usurp the quarterback’s leadership on the field is a sure recipe for defeat and for getting sidelined by the coach. Wives, children, and church members can submit with confidence to those in positions of headship knowing that their “Coach” in heaven is in control.
Application: Trusting God is not as easy when we keep our eyes on the vessels He has appointed over our lives. Submission does not mean tolerating abuse, but it does involve recognizing and yielding to God’s ordained leadership in the home and in the church. It means supporting and lifting the “head” to the place God intended. It means trusting that God will work for our ultimate good through those He has place in leadership over our lives.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I understand that You have established headship and government in my life. I recognize it not as man’s attempt to control me but as Your kingdom order for my life. As I submit to those You have placed in positions of headship over my life, I trust that You are the One who is in control behind the scenes. I thank You for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”