How Can Husbands Love Their Wives Self-Sacrificially?

The Bible calls husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially. In Colossians 3:19 the apostle Paul writes,

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” (Col 3:19)

And again in Ephesians 5, comparing a husband’s love to Jesus’ love of the church, Paul says:

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Eph 5:28)

We could explore other passages, but you get the point. The Bible is big on husbands loving their wives.

The Type of Love

The type of love husbands are to have for their wives is a self-sacrificial love. We know this because the Greek word behind love in these verses is agape. Agape, in Greek, denotes a self-sacrificial love. It is same love Jesus demonstrated when He went to the cross for our sins, sacrificing Himself for us. Agape love then is a love that gives rather than takes. It is a love that sacrifices.

How do we love our wives in a self-sacrificial manner?

(1) We love our wives self-sacrificially by not being harsh with her.

In the second half of verse 19 in Colossians 3, Paul specifically commands husbands not to be “harsh” with their wives. When I first read this, I didn’t fully understand what Paul was saying, so I did some research into the word “harsh”.  I found it means that husbands aren’t to make their wives bitter or resentful because of unfair or abusive treatment. Instead, husbands are to treat their wives fairly, not using or abusing them. As well as husbands aren’t to make decisions or perform actions that would make their wives resentful.

What are some things that might make your wife resentful?

  • An unwillingness or not offering to help with the kids.
  • Not abiding by the family budget.
  • Going off with your buddies all the time instead of doing things with the family.
  • Glueing yourself to the TV instead of helping out around the house or talking with your wife.
  • Caring or ministering to others whenever they ask, but not setting aside time to do so for your wife.

(2) We love our wives self-sacrificially by leading in a non-selfish way

Being the head or the leader of your household doesn’t mean you always get your way. That’s not how Jesus leads. Since we are modeling our love and leadership after His, we should act as He acts. When Jesus came it wasn’t all about Him, instead, it was all about us. Remember, He left His heavenly abode, took the body of a man, gave up His rights, and His life for us.

We are to do the same. We are to give up our rights for our wives, sacrificing for them, instead of always demanding our own way. When we do that, we are loving and leading in a non-selfish way.

(3) We love our wives self-sacrificially by seeking to build her up in the Lord.

Husbands are to do all they can to promote their wife’s well-being and sanctification. Marriage, then, is about more than fulfilling our own sexual appetites. It is about us working to build up and sanctify our wives, washing them with the Word of God, in order to ready them to meet their heavenly husband — Christ.

(4) We love our wives self-sacrificially by providing for her physically and emotionally.

As a husband, we are to make sure we are doing all that we can to provide for our wife. Certainly that means we are to make sure her basic needs are met. But our wife’s basic needs are just one area for which we are to provide. Along with providing physically, we are also to provide emotionally. Men, including myself, often miss the mark on this one. I believe that is because it is easier for us to spend our energy working than it is to spend our energy talking, listening, and drawing our wives out. But if we want to love our wives as Christ loves the church – self-sacrificially – we must provide for both her physical and emotional needs.

Question for Reflection

  1. What other ways can a husband self-sacrificially love his wife?

Resources

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Adapted from my sermon A Wife’s Submission and a Husband’s Love

 

Protect Your Wife From Yourself

lthe-masculine-mandateI used to think that if a man came into my house to attack my wife, I would certainly stand up to him. But then I came to realize that the man who enters my house and assaults my wife every day is me, through my anger, my harsh words, my complaints, and my indifference. As a Christian, I came to realize that the man I needed to kill in order to protect my wife is myself as a sinner.

Richard Philips, The Masculine Mandate, 87

Should We Redefine Quality Time in the Internet Age?

I recently came across an old article I had saved that appeared in the New York Times back in 2011. The article is entitled Quality Time, Redefined. It was written by Alex Williams. You can read it here. In his article, Williams argues computers, Kindles, and iDevices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, are creating a different form of quality time for families.

Quality Time?

Throughout the article, Williams provides anecdotal evidence from families and couples, who believe these devices have given them more opportunity for quality time, even though they are simultaneously connected to “parallel worlds” through their iDevices. He tells of a family who spends their nights reading, watching shows on iTunes, doing homework, and playing video games all at the same time, in the same room, on each of their individual devices, while interacting with one another about the content they are digesting.

One mom says, “An evening like that can bring more closeness than a night spent huddling over a board game back in the days of analog.”

Williams agrees, and he believes this and other accounts serve as evidence that “technology is bringing the family together, not pulling it apart.” He believes families are pulled together because the “proliferation of devices and media options make it easier for family members to pursue their interests online while seated in the same room.”

But does spending time doing your own thing, submerged in your own world, really count as quality time?

Not in my opinion. Sure, these families are in the same room, and they may even be interacting, but they are not building meaningful relationships with one another. They are, instead, projecting their digital world onto each other through momentary blips of conversation, which doesn’t serve to build deep relationships.

Relationship are built by interacting with one another in a meaningful way. In this article, you don’t hear of anyone talking about their day, the struggles they are having at work or school. Parents are not walking their children through Scripture, nor are they teaching, or even modeling a Christian worldview. Husbands are not washing their wives in the Word, and no one is practicing or learning self-sacrifice. Instead, they are celebrating Mario Kart victories, and sharing an occasional laugh at the latest Facebook video.

These families have not found a new way to experience quality time together. They have, instead, found a new way to experience “Me Time”, while making themselves feel as if they are experiencing family time.

Quality Time Involves

Quality time involves members of the family actually talking to and interacting with one another on a deeper level. Rather than treat the iPad as if it is a pacifier for teenagers, parents need to spend time talking with and drawing their kids out, and couples should be doing the same. A night on the couch indulging in Facebook, Twitter, and Hulu does not build long and lasting relationships. Nor does it allow parents to teach their children the ways of the Lord.

Families need to take time to unplug and disengage from their computers long enough to actually sit and talk with one another. Rather than “veg out” in front of the latest iDevice, parents should be opening the Scriptures with their children and teaching them what the Word of the Lord says. They should be modeling prayer and true Christian fellowship for their children. As well as parents should be spending time discussing the latest social trends, in order to help their children, teenagers in particular, develop a Christian worldview. Doing these things constitutes quality time.

Conclusion

So while the latest technologies are allowing families to spend more time in the same room together, it does not mean they are spending quality time together. Quality time is not interacting while having screen time. Instead, quality time is time together engaged in real and meaningful activity and conversation, which is uninterrupted and unencumbered by our iDevices.

Question for Reflection

  1. What do you regard as quality time?

Authority Isn’t A Bad Thing

Authority. The first thing most people do when they hear the word is cringe or prepare to reject it at all costs.

Rejecting authority is our natural reaction. It has been ingrained in us since the beginning. Our first parent’s Adam and Eve rejected God’s authority for their own, leading us to do the same ever since. So it is only natural we buck at the idea of authority.

Everyone is Under Authority

While that is our natural reaction, God tells us everyone is under authority.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11:3).

God’s authority structure is arranged so that:

  • The head of every man is Jesus Christ.
  • The head of every wife is her husband.
  • The head of Jesus Christ is God.

An Objection

Immediately, upon reflecting on this list, some, especially those in the feminist movement, look at this structure and say, “God thinks woman are less valuable than men because they are subjected to them.” But that is not true. God’s structure isn’t based on worth, it’s based on roles.

Tax season ended several months ago. I don’t know about you but that is one of two seasons I don’t look forward to — summer in Texas being the other. But, as we all know, those are two seasons you can’t avoid, because they come back year after year.

When you finally sit down to fill out those dreaded tax forms, one question that appears on your form is: Are you the head of the household?

When the IRS asks that question, they don’t mean to imply that your children, or even your spouse, is of lesser value than you. They simple want to know the role you play in your family.

In a similar way, God’s authority structure is also based on the role we play in our family, which means men are not of greater value than women, they just play a different role. A role assigned by God, as the head of the family.

Digging Deeper Into the Structure

As we dig deeper into God’s ordained structure, we learn:

(1) Men must submit to Jesus

Men are not given absolute authority. Instead, men must act under Jesus’ directive because He is our head.

With Jesus as our head, we must allow Him to guide us, to lead us. As well as we must exercise our role of authority as Jesus would.

A good example of how Jesus exercises His authority is found in Ephesians 5:25-30

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” (Eph 5:25–30)

Ephesians 5 teaches men several things about leadership – how we are supposed to lead and what our role as the head of the family looks like.

According to Ephesians 5, men are to love, sacrifice for, provide for, care for, and protect their families, their wives. We aren’t to dominate them with a heavy hand. Nor are we to abuse, or use them. Instead, we are to love them as Jesus loves the church, giving of ourselves for them. We are to do everything in our power to care for them, protect them, and provide for them. We should also nourish them with the Word of God, leading them spiritually.

We should do all this, while at the same time allowing Jesus to lead us. He should continually be our example of headship, as well as our leader.

(2) Wives must submit to their husbands

I am fully aware that this is a controversial statement, especially in this day and age. But we are going to tackle it anyways.

What does it mean for a wife to submit to her husband?

Let me start with what it doesn’t mean, because I think that will clear up some misunderstanding.

  • It doesn’t mean you are to be dominated by your husband.
  • It doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with or even challenge your husbands ideas.
  • It doesn’t mean your husband can use and abuse you and you must take it willingly.
  • It doesn’t mean you can’t call your husband out on his sin.
  • It can’t mean any of those things because a husband is supposed to lead like Jesus.

Instead, what it means for a wife to submit to her husband is that:

  • She willingly accepts her God give role as her husband’s helper.
  • She willingly allows him to lovingly lead her, as Jesus is leading him.
  • She willingly accepts his decisions, as he seeks to do what is best for his family both physically and spiritually.

We know this is what it means for a wife to submit to her husband because her submission is based on Jesus’ submission to His father.

A wife’s submission is modeled by Jesus 

Even though Jesus is equal with the Father and God Himself, He willingly accepted His position as the Son, submitting to His Father. In doing so:

  • He accepted His role as Christ — the One who died for the sins of mankind.
  • He willingly allowed the Father to lead and guide Him, even to the cross.
  • He willingly accepted the Father’s will, allowing His decisions to be final.

Just as a husband is to be led by Jesus as he leads his family, a wife is to be led by Jesus as she submits to her husband. We are to live in obedience to the roles we are given in God’s authority structure.

Submission As A Reflection of the Gospel & God’s Wisdom

When both husband and wife submit according to God’s good design, two things happen.

(1) We Reflect the Gospel – by sacrificing our will for God’s will, just like Jesus sacrificed His will and His self for us.

(2) We Reflect God’s Wisdom – by showing the world that things go well when we function within our roles.

Before I accepted my first full-time pastorate, I worked for a staffing and recruiting company based out of Atlanta.

Relatively early in my tenure, I had the opportunity to move to Dallas and help open the companies first satellite office. When we moved, the owners did something I would never do. They didn’t appoint a manager for the office. Their thought was that a leader would naturally rise to the top that others in the office would follow. When that happened, they would promote that person to office manager.

In theory, that sounds good. In reality, it didn’t work. The result was an unproductive work environment that kept the office from thriving.

No one knew who “really” was in charge, who they were supposed to take orders from, or even their own role. The result was chaos, conflict, and an office that didn’t run as a well oiled machine.

Likewise, there is chaos and conflict in the family, when individual family members operate outside their God given roles. On the other hand, when we function within our God given roles, things run smoothly.

When we really think hard about it, we realize authority isn’t such a bad thing, it is instead a good thing that shouldn’t be despised, cringed at, or rejected. It’s something that should be embraced as a means of grace by which God provides for His people.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you think of God’s authority as a means of grace?

Resources

Post adapted from my recent sermon God’s Authority Structurewhich can be listened to in its entirety here.

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6 Practical Ways Fathers Can Man Up

An epidemic of epic proportions is occurring right before our eyes. An epidemic we have the power to do something about.

What’s happening?

Fathers are not only abandoning their families – 17.4 million children grow up in fatherless homes – they are also abandoning their God-given responsibility as the spiritual leader in their homes. As a result, millions of boys are growing up unprepared to lead their families.

What we need, then, is for fathers to man up and lead their families. But how? How can we lead our families.

6 Practical Ways Fathers Can Man Up

(1) When at home, be at home

After a long days work, it is easy to retire to the work bench, study, den, or lose yourself in social media or the TV, but we have to resist that temptation. We have to engage our children in some meaningful way when we are home. We have to actually be at home, when we are home.

(2) Eat dinner together

When I say eat dinner together, I don’t mean for us to sit in the living room watching TV together with dinner plates in hand. When we do that, we might be eating dinner at the same time and in the same room, but we aren’t eating together.

No, what I am talking about is actually turning off the TV, setting our phones aside, and sitting around the dinner table together talking with one another.

For those of you with teenagers, this might be the only time you have their undivided attention. It might be the only time you have to build into them. Don’t waste that opportunity because your favorite TV show is on.

Watching TV together does not have the same impact as talking together.

(3) Read the Bible together

I know what you are thinking, we don’t have the time for that. How am I ever going to get everyone in my family together at the same time? If that is you, you might need to cut some activities out of your schedule, so you will have the time. What’s more important: That your child participate in yet another extra-curricular activity, or you read God’s Word together?

In all reality, you may not even need to cut your schedule because I am not talking about an extensive hour long devotional every night. I am instead talking about devoting 5-10 minutes to reading the Word and praying together.

5-10 minutes is not a lot of time, and it is something we can all do. Just take the time you spend scrolling through your Facebook feed and watching cat videos, and devote it to your family.

While 5-10 minutes is not a lot of time, it does take discipline. It does take a little planning and motivation. It does take putting down the remote, turning off the game, and setting your phone or tablet aside for a few minutes.

If you want to know the secret to accomplishing a family devotional each day, make it apart of your routine. It has worked for our family. Reading God’s Word as a family happens every night after we brush our son’s teeth and before we put him to bed. Since it is apart of our routine, we do it. If we don’t do it, it feels like something is missing.

Surely, there is some place you can add a 5 minute devotional to your daily routine.

(4) Play together

Carving out fun time is important because it’s one way to build a relationship with your kids. Relationships are key if we are going to lead our children.

Don’t think play time is all fun and games. Even during play time, questions and opportunities to talk about God come up. It may only be for a minute or two while resting, but those couple of minutes over the years add up. Who knows, maybe that conversation will be replayed over and over in your child’s mind for the next couple of days.

(5) Memorize Scripture together

Not too long ago my Sunday School teacher challenged the class to memorize Scripture together as a family. What a novel idea!

Memorizing Scripture together not only motivates the parents to hide God’s Word in their heart, but it also motivates the child to do the same. As well as it’s another way to stimulate conversation around God’s Word.

(6) Don’t quit ministering

That’s true even after your kids have left home. Things are going to look different, but keep at it. Share with them what you are learning in God’s Word. Send them a blog post or sermon you liked. Give them a book. Tell them you are praying for them. Encourage them to train their kids. Whatever it may be, keep at it. Don’t stop ministering!

Challenge

I can’t stress how important it is for our society and churches that fathers lead their families in a biblical way. If we want to turn our country around, fathers have to train their children. If we want to raise up another generation of leaders in the church, fathers have to train their children. If we want to kill the current epidemic happening in our country, fathers have to train their children.

Fathers, it’s time we man up! It’s time we take God’s Word seriously. It’s time we be involved in our kids lives, training them, instructing them, and teaching them to be future spiritual leaders.

Question for Reflection

  1. Fathers, are you manning up?

Resources

Post developed from the sermon: Fathers, Man Up!

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God’s Original Design for Marriage

Marriage Ceremony

Marriage is under attack in this country. The attack isn’t just coming from the LGBT community, but from all fronts. The mainstream media often pictures marriage as something to dread, as a last resort, or something modern couples don’t need.

Marriage, however, isn’t something to dread. It isn’t a last resort, or something to shrug off. Marriage is a wonderful union instituted by God. One God designed to be a blessing.

What is God’s Original Design for Marriage?

In Matthew 19, Jesus tells us God’s original Design for Marriage. Jesus says,

Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (vs 4-6)

Jesus’ response is grounded in creation and it teaches us at least four things about God’s design for marriage.

(1) Marriage is between a man and a woman 

Genesis 1 and 2 tells us God created Adam and Eve in the beginning. Eve was created as a helper for Adam, to complement and assist him in his God given job.

God’s choice and design of Adam’s helper is significant. God didn’t created another man to help Adam. He created a woman. A woman with different gifts to complement and help Adam. A woman who was able to bear children so they could fulfill God’s command to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). So from the beginning God’s design for marriage has always been between a man and woman.

This idea is not popular today. The LGBT community would have you believe marriage is for anyone in a committed and loving relationship. That, however, is not how God designed it. Again, from the beginning, God’s design for marriage has always been between a man and a woman.

(2) Marriage is between one man and one woman

God didn’t create several wives for Adam. He created him one helper, one wife.

I know what you are thinking: What about Abraham, Jacob, Elkanah, or Solomon? They all had several wives. They all were blessed by God. So why can’t we?

I think that brings up a good point. Just because something is in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s the best practice, it doesn’t mean it is permissible. Before you brand me as a heretic, let me explain.

The Bible is designed to teach us. Sometimes God teaches us through commands, while other times He teaches us through life examples. When we look at the lives of those who had multiple wives, the Bible teaches us it’s not for the best. On the surface, it might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. It just creates an atmosphere of jealousy, deceit, lies, and competition. All things that aren’t good.

If you want a modern day example of polygamy and its negative affects, the show Sister Wives is a good one. The show chronicles the lives of the Brown family. They are a part of a fundamentalist Mormon group that believes in polygamy. Kody, the husband, has four wives and 17 kids.

After watching a couple of episodes, its evident polygamous marriages aren’t the best marriage environment. We understand why, when we realize God created the institution of marriage to be between one man and one woman.

(3) Marriage creates a one flesh union 

When two people are married, they are literally joined together by God. They become one flesh.

The word picture evokes that of a welder. When a welder takes two pieces of metal and welds them together, those two pieces become one piece. That’s the point Jesus is making here. When two people are married, they are welded together so that they become one.

(4) Marriage is for life

Go back to our welding illustration. When two pieces of metal are welded together, they aren’t easily separated, if that can even happen. That is the same thing that is supposed to happen in a marriage relationship. Once a one flesh union is created, it’s not supposed to be separated. It is to remain as one unit for life, just like those two pieces of metal that are welded together.

Of course, this is not a popular idea today. Over 50% of marriages now end in divorce. From the beginning, however, that was not God’s intent. Instead He designed marriage as a one flesh union between one man and one woman for life.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you agree with Jesus’ teaching? Why or why not?

Resource

For more teaching, listen to my latest sermon Jesus’ Teaching on Marriage, Divorce, and Singleness.

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