In this post I will address four areas where the man is supposed to work out his role as a leader in his family. These four applications follow the example that Christ demonstrates in loving the church.
The first is this, you should take the lead in seeking and strengthening your own relationship with God.
Hold it Bob, shouldn’t the wife pursue God on her own. Yes, we all need to pursue God, but husbands, YOU are responsible to make sure that your wife and children are pursuing God. How can you teach them the deep things of God unless you go deeper into God yourself? Are you teaching youself about the love of God so that you can teach them about it and more importantly demonstrate the love of Christ for his church?
You must pray in order to be equipped and to teach your family about prayer. You must go to the Word daily if you will convince your family of the daily need of God’s Word. How does Christ love his church, his bride? Christ is working to present the church without blemish, he is making her pure. We are to do the same with our wives. Husband, are you concerned with your wife’s purity. Is God using you as a means to her sanctification. He’s certainly placed you in that role.
Perhaps you have a wife who is growing spiritually and in fact has outpaced you in your sanctification. That’s awesome, that’s wonderful. But the son of Adam will say, “I’ll let her be the spiritual leader, I’ll just provide the food and take care of the bills.” Adam, where are you? That response is not biblical and it’s not satisfying to you or your wife.
You, man in Christ, go hard after God and your family will reap the benefits.
And so the second application grows out of the first, you should take the lead in shaping the spiritual life of the family. As you train yourself to think biblically it is your responsibility to teach your family to think biblically. The bible addresses the issues of money, of dating, of what should occupy our time, of how we should treat others. Every place that the scripture touches on any topic is an opportunity to learn how to think biblically about that topic.
Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Bring them up! Fathers, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Children do not raise themselves. Martin Luther said, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”
Deut 6: 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Children do not learn to think biblically on their own. It takes diligence and effort on the part of parents. But the father is held responsible to make sure instruction is taking place. We parents are not responsible for what our kids do with our instruction but we are responsible for their learning how to think biblically.
The third application, is the head the husband should take the lead in gathering the family for prayer and Scripture reading and worship.
A fews days ago Teresa said on the phone that we need to get back into our evening devotional time. We have a book that I try to pull out at supper each evening and we have a short devotional and a scripture and talk about it. She reminded me, gently, that we fell out of our intended habit. She was supporting my role as spiritual leader. That evening she placed the book and my Bible beside my dinner plate. Not in a condescending manner although I may have felt threatened for a moment.
I can give you lot’s of excuses about why we fell out of or haven’t established the habit of daily pursuing God as a family. Someone said, “Excuses are like armpits, everyone has a couple and they both stink”. In my old nature I was Adam’s son. Like Adam I was standing by passively when there were important decisions not being made and responsibilies not being met. Teresa submits to my headship as the church submits to Christ but Christ is infallilble - I am not. I need her help and her reminders when I fail.
When I fail there is only one response to this. Repentance! I have gone to God and repented that I have been lazy. I have apologized to my wife.
John Piper counsels married couples that the devotional life of a couple is the soul of a marriage. Husbands and wives praying together is the source of healing in areas that we don’t even know are hurting. The most compelling reason that convinces me that this is true and foundational is that it is the hardest thing for me to do and that doesn’t make sense.
It’s weird, it feels awkward. In the morning while I’m driving to work I will think, “I will pray with Teresa tonight before we go to sleep”. Then night comes and the kids are tucked in and I’m tired and I just want to go to sleep. I will finally satisfy my guilt by saying, ‘well, we can start tomorrow night’. Adam, where are you? Just do it! Confess your failure. Does fear stop you? Does pride stop you? Those are such scrawny little enemies. Be a man, do it.
The last application I MUST emphasize because it is the one most obvious in Christ’s love for the church.
Husbands, take the lead in reconcilation. This doesn’t mean that wives should never say they are sorry. But look at the example of Christ.
Who took the initiative to make things new in his relationship with the church?
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Who left left his throne to come and bring mercy to sinners?
Phil. 2:5 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Peter denied Jesus three times, who made the first move toward reconciliation? Mark 16: 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
Has the Lord ever come to you after you have failed him. Being the head of the family doesn’t mean you can wait for your wife to come to you. You take the lead. Let’s summarize -
Take the lead in seeking and strengthening your own relationship with God,
take the lead in shaping the spiritual life of your family,
take the lead in gathering the family for prayer and Scripture reading and worship,
take the lead in reconcilation.
These things take grace, they take humility, they take courage, they take the Spirit of Christ working through a godly man. Save oh Lord, save us through godly men.
what an inspiration. I just gave your blog page to an old friend from long ago. love mom
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