A LEADER IN GOD’S EYES
Over the years I have counseled many people who are going through marriage troubles. I have observed that a common denominator in almost every marriage is this - the man is not leading his wife. (What I am not saying here is the man is the only one at fault. No, both parties, more often than not, share in the cause of the trouble). But there seems to be a real reluctance by the man in spiritual leadership. As I have seen this play out, the wife often takes the role of leader in the home- often out of her sin nature (Gen. 3:16) and sometimes out of necessity. This causes conflict on both sides: the man is upset because his wife is now running the house and the wife is upset because the man is not leading his family. As a result, we have major marital issues.
Lets bring this down to what the Bible says about God’s expectations for the family (after all He is the One who designed it). Let’s start with a passage that you probably never considered about God’s structure for the family - Job 1:1-5! The first three verses in this passage tells us who Job is in God’s eyes, describes his family, then talks about all of his possessions. Then we have two very interesting verses of information that God wants us to know about Job:
4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
What is going on in these two verses and why do you think God included them in His Word for you and I to know? I think the clue here is looking at these two verses through the eyes of Job - how did he see himself before God in regards to his family? Job saw himself responsible for the well-being and spiritual vitality of his family. He viewed himself as the one who had to give an account before God for this leadership that had been placed upon him.
RESPONSIBLE IN GOD’S EYES
So I know you might be thinking, “Come on now, that is a stretch!” Okay, let me give us further proof of this viewpoint. Genesis 3 shows us that after Adam was given God’s command, Eve was never told about the tree. This edict was given before Eve was created! (Gen. 2:16-17) Eve is deceived by Satan and eats the fruit of the tree and then gives Adam fruit to eat as well. By the way, this is the first instance in history of man not leading. Genesis 3:6 states that Adam was right by Eve’s side as this scene goes down.
The key question here is when the sin was committed, who did God go after? After all, it was Eve who took the fruit first - Adam makes sure he points this out to God in verse 12! God goes after Adam - why? Because God sees Adam as the one responsible! This is further described by God in Genesis 2 as God put man over all of the animals and made him a “manager”, giving him the responsibility and authority over them.
Ever think about how different men and women are wired? In essence, here is what God did: He took the one (man) and created two and then looked at the two and said, “Be one.” To complicate the matter, when He created woman, he made her completely different than man. Now if I were to give God some advice here, I would have told Him not to do it this way. Make the woman the same as man and they would have a better chance of achieving harmony! Men tend to be more logical thinkers, women tend to lean towards emotional thinking. Men’s interests tend to be vastly different than women’s interests.
Why do you think God did this? It was certainly intentional on His part! As a side note, we men have a tendency to look at women as lesser than because they are wired differently. One very important thing I want us men to think about here is while we display a side of God’s image in how we were created and wired, women display another side of God’s image in how they too were created and wired. So why did God intentionally wire us differently? First, to display another side of God to man, secondly, and more difficult for the man and the woman - that we would have to depend on God to get along in harmony (be as one). This is how He set it up: we need to have His presence in our lives for harmony in our marriages!
I make this point for a reason. Men have a tendency to give up because we do not understand women. This “give up” plays out in us not leading our families well. The reason we often get frustrated in marriage is because we end up attempting to get our wives to be like us, and when we fail multiple times at this, we stop pursuing and engaging! All the while, God is saying to us that we need HIM to make this marriage work.
God gives us a game plan on how to have a solid marriage built on the foundation of Christ. Marriage is designed to display the glory of God and is explained in Ephesians 5:21-33. In this passage a comparison is made for both the man and the woman and their roles in marriage. Verse 23 says, “For the husband is head (leader) of the wife even as Christ is head of the church.” Man is given the role of displaying (imitating) Christ in marriage and the woman is given the role of displaying (imitating) the church.
The key verse in this passage relating to our topic in this writing is found in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Did I read that right?? Does that mean what I think it means? Christ gave himself for the church by dying! Yep, that is what God expects the man to do - die (tall order)!! Let me explain: God is saying that He expects the man to die to himself and place the desires his wife has over his own. If the man does this, this glorifies God! I know what some of you are thinking, “But you do not know my wife- I will get trampled if I do this!” Jesus did this for us, “Even while we were still sinners He died for us!” So here it is: SERVING IS LEADING! Serving glorifies God because it imitates what He has done for us!
Here is a general rule in how God has created His game plan. If you men will do this (die to your desires and consider her desires more important than yours) - the wife will in return love you for this. If you are serving your wife, your wife will serve you back. I have found this true in my own marriage. We have what I would consider a great marriage. We both fail at times (especially me!), but we have grace and mercy all the while serving each other as God intended us to do. If I do a good job serving my wife, she desires to serve me and our love grows for each other. There may be some of you where this doesn't happen. You lay your life down and your wife doesn't respond like this. What do you do? My counsel for you is to be patient, pray for her, and be assured that you are being sanctified by your obedience to God through hard struggles - God is glorified by your obedience!
Men, God has created you to lead. He has given us the example of Himself in doing this. See yourself as responsible! That doesn't mean if your wife or children tragically do not come to the Lord that God will come after you. No! That is the Holy Spirit’s job in conversion. What God expects for you to do is lay the ground work spiritually, be praying for your family, be serving your family by putting your desires beneath theirs… and leading by serving.