This past weekend, I was blessed by attending a Christian men's retreat. Admittedly, there was a lot of food, a lot of talk of SEC football, and a good bit of laughing and carrying on. There was also a lot of talk of “what a Christian man was,” “what a Christian man is,” and “what a Christian man should be in modern times.” The minister leading our retreat said, “You can define yourself, or the world will define you the way it sees fit.”
That last line stuck with me all weekend, and has followed me back to “the real world.” Now, admittedly, I am very old-fashioned. I’m a young married father whose wife routinely tells me I should have been born in the 1950s. I even call myself Old School in most things I do. I blame it on being raised by passionately Christian people who valued things like truth, honor, decency, mercy, right and wrong, and true love. My worldview was shaped by people who were raised in a time where personal accountability mattered. The only entitlement complex they had was the entitlement to get up and go to work every day, to work hard for everything they had, to know right from wrong, to love God and try their very best to serve Him. They raised their children, scraped by as best they could, and helped their neighbors and their church. Does this mean they were saints? Of course not! It just means their lives were dominated by the biblical perspective of Luke 10:27.
I realize I am not the spokesman for all Christian men. Heaven knows I am the reason 1 Timothy 1:15 was written. I do strongly believe though, that a major reason our nation is in such horrible shape is that Christian men have abdicated their responsibility for being the leaders of their families.
Many Christian men have abandoned their God-given obligation to lead their families. And by lead, I am not referring to a domineering style of leadership but one of service and humility. Christian men, married, engaged, single, or otherwise, find our calling to lead in Ephesians 5:25 , “Husbands, love your wives, just a Christ loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER.” (Emphasis mine). Is it by God’s design that man should be the head of the household? Absolutely. Does that mean that the wife then becomes his subject? Absolutely not. It means the husband loves his wife and family so much he sacrifices his very being in place of the family unit. Who he is as an individual no longer matters. In the eyes of God, the man and wife become one whole unit. The most important mission a man has after becoming a husband and father is doing his best to make sure his family has a relationship with Father God.
Husbands, pray for your wives! Praying together isn’t one of my favorite things, but I pray for my wife multiple times every day. She’ll occasionally text me, asking me to pray for a situation she is dealing with. When you pray for your wife, you are praying to your Father about your better half. Even in anger, she is still the other half of you. You can pray about whatever fight you had, but you also need to know that everything you confess to God, you are talking about the other half of yourself. And admit it boys, every husband reading this knows he married way outside his league.
Don’t fuss because the dishes aren’t done. Get up and do them! Learn to load the washing machine. If you don’t know what to do, ask your wife how you can serve her! I can say with 100% assurance she will fill you in. You may be tired after work, but so is she. And if you are loving her like Christ loves you, then you sacrifice yourself for her. The traditional days of women shouldering the whole load and men relaxing in the recliner are over. If we are loving our wives as Christ loves the Church, then we need to consistently take intentional steps that help lighten her load. Sure you have responsibilities like yard work and such, and this is not to take away from your responsibilities. But, we make time for the things that are important to us, and sacrificing one ballgame or one hunting trip to stay home and help our wives with the ponderosa will not kill us.
Those are your kids too. Yep, they are wired. Yes, they are going to do things that make absolutely no sense, like draw pictures on your car with a rock. But, you and your wife are parents TOGETHER. Some fathers, even fathers in the church, see the children as the wife’s responsibility. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the truth. Confession time: I love kids. I wish I were financially able to have 20 of them. I love the innocence and sincere belief that are of their nature. I believe they should be protected by my life or my death, whatever it takes. I also am an active dad. I’ve been covered in every substance you can imagine, and some that you don’t want to. I thank God for those moments in my life. I also thank God every day for that little girl that toddles around my living room, babbling incessantly in words that only she can understand. How is it that any husband could ever not want to be a part of that? Did I have to learn a lot? You betcha! Would I change a second of it? Not for all the coins in Solomon’s vault.
I take my role as a father and husband seriously. Many today try their best to tear down the paternal role in a family in an effort to build up the maternal. To some point, the failures of many men have led to that disrespect. If we are ever going to change that, we have to stand up and be the Christian leaders God calls us to be. Not with a domineering, authoritarian, or dictatorial spirit, but with a guiding, loving hand. The same guiding, loving hand Christ uses with us. One question men ask of ourselves and are asked by others is, “How will I be remembered?” My fervent prayer every day, is that that little, toddling, babbling girl, will see enough Jesus in me to seek out a man with a good amount of Jesus in him, and will join together to raise little Jesus-loving children.
At my funeral, if all that is said is that I loved Jesus, my wife, and my little girl with everything I had, I will count that as a victorious life.