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Christian Leadership at Home
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25 NIV).
Men have been appointed by God as the head of the home. I understand that many women find this troubling and the Bible is full of stories of courageous women that have served the body of Christ. The truth is that many men have done a terrible job of leading their house in any capacity, particularly spiritually. Many men are not even physically present in the home or if so, they do not recognize Jesus as their Lord and savior and will not even attend church on Sunday.
A real man should be a provider. He provides identify to his family. It is his responsibility to let children know that they belong. As men, we love projects. We love to build something and to be a part of something greater than ourselves. Most men enjoy working with their hands and tend not be comfortable speaking to a group of strangers, especially about their faith. We have many large tasks that we want to accomplish in life – pay off the mortgage, raise our children to love God and their neighbor, get promoted at work to get the coveted corner office, etc.
A man who is also head of household gives direction and also serves as the spiritual head of the family. A man should also be a protector. This is not simply physically protecting the family from harm, but also setting boundaries to safeguard the family from evil. The man is the professor of the family. He professes over the family and professes his faith.
He teaches life skills to his children on how to endure hardship and builds up their confidence. A real man will teach his son how to respect and love women. A man is the priest of his house. He is called to be the spiritual leader in the family. The grandfather should always be the priest at a family fathering. This means leading the family in prayer, scripture and blessing his children and grandchildren.
A man who is also head of household gives direction and also serves as the spiritual head of the family. A man should also be a protector. This is not simply physically protecting the family from harm, but also setting boundaries to safeguard the family from evil. The man is the professor of the family. He professes over the family and professes his faith. He teaches life skills to children on how to endure hardship and builds up their confidence. A real man will teach his son how to respect and love women. A man is the priest of his house. He is called to be the spiritual leader in the family. The grandfather should always be the priest at a family fathering. This means leading the family in prayer, scripture and blessing his children and grandchildren.
St. Paul detailed his instructions for Christian households in Ephesians 5:21-33.
21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
I feel that this scripture has often been taken out of context and has been used to make wives feel subordinate to women. God has indeed appointed men as the head of the house but that does not make women subservient. God and Jesus are equal but Jesus was subservient to the Father. Recall when Jesus said, “yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
God wants husbands to “love your wives as Christ loved the church.” I had a woman tell me recently, “if my husband were to love me as Christ loved the church, then I could submit to that all day long.” What I heard from this woman is that her husband is not honoring her. Honor is critical for a marriage and it must be freely given by both. Husbands must love their wives “as they love their own bodies.” A husband who is not loving his wife is not loving himself because upon marriage, “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” So, if your wife has a problem, you have a problem. If she needs love, you need love.
Marriage is a Holy Sacrament from God and every Christian marriage contains a husband, wife, and God. The husband must respect his wife but he must show her and his family that his primary responsibility is to God. When anything or anyone else becomes our primary focus, we are worshipping a false god and not adhering to the first Commandment in Exodus 20.
Husbands, you have been given much responsibility. Recall the words of Luke 12:48, “to whom much is given, much will be required.” You will be held accountable for your leadership of your house. In order to lead like Jesus, you must be a servant like Jesus. A wife is to be honored, respected, and loved. I want every husband when he joins the cloud of witnesses to be greeted by “well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
Prayer: Dear God, May we always love our wives as Christ loves His church. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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