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!

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