One of the toughest places to be a man is at home.
I meet (and know) lots of guys who work hard, love to play hard, shoot guns, hunt, change their own oil, and watch Braveheart every Friday night. None of these are bad. The danger is when we as men, fail to be men, at home.
I grew up on the media of the late 80’s and 90’s. That era gave rise to shows like the Simpsons, Roseanne, and Married with Children… all of these depicting men as socially inept and goofy at best! The wife is seen as intelligent, in charge, and leading the home. The man, showing spotty signs of wisdom, is mostly walked on and disrespected by the wife and kids.
Today, a lot of men are left wondering, “What is a man supposed to be and do?” Ephesians 5:21-31 provides a fundamental passage for understanding how a man (father and husband) is to lovingly lead his family. In verse 23, Paul says, “For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.”
The word for “head” is a word that has been hotly debated for quite some time (and will continue to be). Numerous people from various camps have spilled much ink over attempting a correct interpretation. Sadly, many men believe this verse gives them the freedom to be authoritarian dictators of their home. They believe headship is about “ruling over.”
While both men and women are of equal worth and dignity in God’s eyes, I believe that each has a unique role. Gender is not by accident, but by design. Just as Adam was given spiritual responsibility in the garden, so Jesus comes to redeem man’s role to lovingly lead his home. Leading is not about ruling over, but rather, it is about being spiritually responsible for your wife and family.
Men are given the charge to be responsible for their family by leading spiritually, loving sacrificially, suffering graciously, and pursuing Jesus faithfully (Ephesians 5:25-29; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
As Gary Ricucci very simply states, “The role of a husband (father) doesn’t begin at the altar – it begins with the atonement.”
Below are just a few simple questions to help evaluate if you are a father and husband who is spiritually leading at home:
Who initiates spiritual growth in your family?
Who in your family is eager to serve at church, get involved in a Bible study, seek out biblical wisdom, or discuss spiritual things? Are we just along for the ride or leading the charge?
Who initiates spiritual guidance in your family?
Who takes responsibility for teaching your children? Who is the one to suggest or make sure time in God’s Word is happening as a family? Are you helping your children stay focused on God’s Wisdom?
Who initiates discipline with your children when necessary?
By discipline I do not mean punishment. Who is the first to lovingly guide and correct your child’s heart and behavior? Do you try to stay out of conflict, or are you fully engaged in helping to guide your children’s step so they grow to walk in wisdom?
God has called you to lovingly lead your family! By His grace and the power of His Spirit, He’s also given you everything you need. Keep pressing on as you seek to be spiritually responsible for your family.