Whenever I am asked to write or to speak on the topic of the Christian husband, I am reminded of my own failures and inadequacies. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home; therefore, the beauty of covenant marriage was not modeled for me. However, in God’s providence, I came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and, because of the powerful transforming work of the Holy Spirit, I was able to see principles in God’s Word that have helped me to understand and embrace my call as a Christian husband.
Space limitations prohibit me from going into all the ways a man is called to lead, nurture, and protect his wife; but, I would like to focus on a few simple principles that I believe are crucial—areas where the modern church today often seems to fail.
Lead – Scripture calls men to lead their families. Ephesians 5:23 clearly tells us that the husband is the head of his own wife. This is a message often treated today as archaic or old-fashioned. In our egalitarian society, such a concept is viewed as sexist or misogynistic.
Today, even the church often fails to promote masculine leadership. It seems the church has been influenced by the secular world, instead of the other way around. We see the world growing more and more confused when it comes to issues of gender and responsibility. Yet, too often, the church seems to follow the tune of the same mixed up drummer.
Love – Contributing to the cacophony, many Christian men fail to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Men put conditions upon their love, and look instead for what they’re going to get out of it.
But, that is not the way the Jesus loves His Church. The Bible tells us that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). We learn that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This is a truth Christian men need to embrace and model. We are called to love our wives whether or not they are submissive; and we must obey God whether or not our wives ever do.
Sacrifice – Christian men are also called to sacrifice for their wives. Often when we hear the word sacrifice, we imagine taking a bullet for the one we love. Yet, the sacrifice of a Christian husband should be seen in the day to day. Not necessarily in one final act of grand heroism, but in the more important matter of everyday faithful living.
Too many men attempt to escape the demands of this kind of sacrifice through recreation, vocation, and even ministry itself. We are often ready to serve the Lord and others; yet, in our zeal, we sometimes leave our wives and children behind.
Teach – Paul talks about the way Jesus cleanses His Bride with the washing of water by the Word. This means that a Christian husband should know his Bible, and use it devotionally to teach his wife. Christian women should of course read and study on their own as well. 1 Peter tells us that our wives are co-heirs with us in the grace of life. Yet, loving leadership calls us to teach our wives. Churches can and should equip and encourage Christian husbands to lead this way.
Protect and Provide – Finally, a Christian husband is called to protect and provide for his wife, just as Jesus protects and provides for His Church. Too many times, the church today ignores this call. The sins of abuse, adultery, or negligence are allowed to ravage lives. And Christian wives who suffer the trauma of abandonment or broken relationships find little to no support.
Men, husbands, we will stand before a holy God and answer for our failure to nurture our wives. And elders and deacons, we will likewise answer for our failure to confront sin in erring husbands, and for ignoring devastation in the lives of our Christian sisters.
Men, reflect upon the covenant nature of your marriage. We are told in Malachi chapter 2 that God has created husbands and wives to be one because He is after godly seed. When we fail in our call to be godly husbands, we slander His Name and put that seed at risk—we lie about Jesus: Who He is, what He does, and the reality of His faithfulness.
It is time for us men to repent—to lay aside our pride and our fleshly desires, so that we might glorify God by rising up to the call of the Christian husband.
Originally published in the August, 2012 edition of Every Thought Captive.
And to make it legal, the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the other elders or members of Providence Church.