Are You a Strong “Neck”?

Currently I’m reading Aimee Byrd’s latest book, No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God, and I was hooked after just the first few pages. Not only is it written to women, but also to pastors as they seek to diligently shepherd the women within their congregations. In the book, Byrd points out that too often women and women’s ministries within churches are left to fend for themselves rather than receive the pastoral care and guidance they so desperately need. This can then lead women to be easily swayed by poor, or even false, theology.

The basis of Byrd’s book is taken from 2 Timothy 3:1-7, which says:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

I never thought much of phrase “weak women” within this passage, but now I can’t stop pondering this idea. The fact that the Bible specifically refers to women in this context should cause all of us to take note and beware! This is a problem I never even considered was present within the church, and it’s one I probably would have brushed off as irrelevant until my eyes were opened to this great need among women through this excellent and thoughtful book.

Out of all the rich thoughts and challenging statements I’ve come across thus far in the pages of No Little Women, perhaps the one that sticks out most to me is this:

Women need to be strong “necks” in our homes, which also overflows into our communities and churches.

Byrd explains it like this:

Before the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” popularized it, [Charles] Spurgeon gave this witty advice to a bride in a wedding ceremony he was officiating: “According to the teaching of the apostle, ‘The husband is the head of the wife.’ Don’t you try to be the head; but you be the neck, then you can turn the head whichever way you like.” It’s funny because it’s kind of true. We don’t have to be the head to have power. But let’s not have weak necks! [1]

Byrd points out the influence women generally have over people by citing research done by Ladd Wheeler, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, which shows that “women and men are both less lonely when they spend time with women” and that “men open up and have deeper conversation when a woman is involved.” In fact, throughout the study, “whenever a woman was involved in an interaction, both individuals disclosed more about themselves, and the interaction became distinctly more intimate.”[2]

For most of us, it doesn’t require formal research to recognize the influence women have in our homes and communities. Have you ever heard the popular expression, “If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”? How many times have you observed that statement to be true? Without doubt, “our influence can be devastating to a family when we are self-serving and manipulative.”[3] We have power in our homes to set the mood, either for the better or for the worse.

So, Christian women, here are some questions for all of us to reflect upon: Are we using the influence we have on others in a positive way? Are we determined to be strong “necks” in our homes?** Are we showing our husbands and children that our strength comes from the Lord? Do we find joy in the Lord no matter our circumstances? Do we point our household to Christ in all situations? Are we strong, supportive, and encouraging wives to our husbands? Do we share the Gospel with our children, friends, and neighbors? Are we hospitable within our communities toward both believers and unbelievers alike? Do we serve our churches joyfully? Are we making Christ look attractive by displaying spirits of grace and humility? Are we growing in God’s Word and in holiness?

Truly, the way in which we care for our families, submit to our husbands, teach our children, serve our churches, and live in our communities really matters. What a tremendous responsibility! We have a mountainous task ahead of us that won’t grow any smaller until we reach eternity. Thankfully, we have the ultimate example of One who perfectly exercised His influence, namely Christ, who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). During His time on earth, Jesus Christ was a servant leader who used His influence to love, care for, and minister to others, even though He didn’t owe mankind a thing. In fact, His love is so great that He laid down His life for those who hated Him, and He now gives eternal life to undeserving people who repent and trust in Him as Lord. The new life believers are given in Christ leads us to be conformed to Christ and stirs within us the desire and the ability to be strong necks in our homes. So I challenge myself and all my sisters in Christ to “run with endurance the race that is set before us,” and may we use our influence in a way that points others to Jesus Christ, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).


**I am in no way implying that we should not submit to our husbands as head of the home, but that is a discussion for another day. For a concise article on what biblical submission is and is not, click here.

[1] Byrd, Aimee. No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2016. pp. 26-27.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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