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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Marriage and the Husband as Spiritual Leader

What does it mean for the husband to be the spiritual leader? Often we talk of these things without actually looking into the words of the Bible, without considering the actions of Jesus. The words have gotten old and trite—what would Jesus do—but nonetheless are our guide. After all, isn’t our goal as Christians to become more Christ-like? So, let’s consider a couple of things from the Bible.

We are told that the marriage relationship is like the Jesus/church relationship. To look at how Jesus responded to people, and especially his disciples, and especially the women who were part of his ministry, is important to truly understand our roles in marriage. The man is to be the head of the home, just as Jesus is head of the church. What exactly did Jesus do here on earth as he led his disciples? By looking at his human actions, perhaps we can glimpse what is expected of the man, as head of the house.

First, Jesus never forced anyone to follow him, even though he, above anyone else, knew what was best. He called to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me.” And they followed, with no pressure from Jesus for them to do so. The disciples voluntarily gave up much to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from him.

And later, we know what happened when Jesus entered the house of Martha and Mary. Mary sat at his feet while Martha scurried around in preparation. Jesus said “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Matthew 10:41-42)

I champion the rights of men whenever I have opportunity. A huge burden has been placed on them, one I do not see coming from the teachings of the Bible. This just scratches the surface but from this short consideration a couple of conclusions can be drawn. Husbands never force their wives to their way of thinking. Instead, they gently persuade them to follow and the women discover truth for themselves. Secondly, Christian men give their wives opportunity for study. This anxiety for a perfect home, perfect meals, a perfect hostess, takes a backseat to learning from Jesus.

Godly men will help to relieve this anxiety so their wives will have an opportunity for Bible study. They will act like grown-ups and not throw clothes on the floor and leave them, or just fill in the blank here, if that adds to the burden of the wife.The men do not have to lead the Bible study but instead make sure that wives have time to study by helping out whenever they can.

To summarize, Christian men will ask wives to follow but never force and will always allow their wives to draw their own conclusions. They will also help relieve anxieties and not overburden their wives with demands, freeing them to have time for Bible study.

Remember that each of us must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) Ultimately, no one is responsible for my salvation except for me!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Psalm 139, Part 4

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.~verses 13-16

 

This study comes at an opportune time. That’s always cool, and I like to think of it as a God thing. I’ll mention below why I find this applicable right now. First, let’s try to figure out the meaning of these words. Many times, the first verses are used by pro-lifers to advocate their position. Being pro-life, I agree with that usage. Today, however, I would like to apply them more broadly.

Let’s think about it… God formed us. He knows us, knows all about us, and knows the lives he wants us to live. We should be thankful for ourselves, everything about us, for it says Wonderful are your works! What is his work in this context? Us! People. We all remember the popular meme—God doesn’t make junk. We are intricately woven, fearfully and wonderfully made.

Remember the admonition, love others as we love ourselves? That means we are to love ourselves, warts, buckteeth, double chins, short legs, and all. Perhaps we are not the best Candy Crush player, perhaps we are clumsy at sports, perhaps we’re only average in intelligence…the list can go on and on. None of that makes us failures. God formed us to do HIS work, not the things we think are important. 

I watched The Lego Movie the other night. Emmett says this:

You don't have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it's also true. It's about all of us. Right now, it's about you. And you... still... can change everything.

And that is true of each of us! God has given each of us a destiny. These words, in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them, do not mean what we think they mean upon first reading. It does not mean we are predestined to live out a certain life. No! Instead, these words mean God has predestined a path for us, a path upon which we will fulfill our destiny, the destiny he formed us to live. It is up to us to choose to walk that path, it is up to us to stay on that path, it is up to us to know we have a path, even when Satan whispers lies in our ears.

One interesting part of this passage says, my soul knows it very well. What do you feel in your bones, what do you really know about yourself, what will you do when you discover your purpose? How do you feel when you know you are intricately woven by God’s own hands to fulfill your purpose here upon this earth?

Don’t let Satan’s lies, his whispers, destroy your faith in yourself. Be courageous! God has given you all you need!

P.S. Oops. Almost forgot to say why these words come at an opportune time for me. I went into a-fib yesterday. This is at least the fifth time this has occurred. When my heart acts up, fear begins to boil and spills over into my life. I have to remember that God has set me on this path and I cannot let fear overwhelm me! I hope to work for God as long as I draw breath and even when fear threatens to defeat me!

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