The Five Priorities of a Godly Husband – Part II
- Jay Sklar, Ph.D. <i>Two Becoming One</i>
- 2007 6 Jun
In Part One of this series on the priorities of a godly husband, we considered the priorities of loving God and loving our wives. We saw that loving God above all else is the greatest command in the Bible (Mark 12:30) and serves as the foundation for our lives and our marriages. We also saw that we are to love our wives in the same way that Jesus loved the church, namely, through self-sacrifice. We now consider three more priorities of a godly husband.
Third Priority: Manage Your Family (Ephesians 6:4)
Parents are exhorted to bring up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7a the Lord commands: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.” Fathers in particular are commanded to instruct their children in the ways of the Lord: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
This last verse contains an important contrast: exasperating children vs. bringing them up in the instruction of the Lord. Yes, children are supposed to obey their parents (vv. 1-3). “But fathers,” Paul says, “do not make this difficult for them!” (v. 4). Godly fathers are not dictators who need to prove their authority by constantly giving orders and commands and making new rules. Instead, godly fathers focus on helping their children to understand who the Lord is – they want their children to know that God’s ways are good ways and that his commands are for their good.
1. Since God is the perfect Father, one of the most practical things we can do is get to know God better. What is his character like? How does he respond to us as his children? As we grow in our understanding of who God is and how he relates to us, we will grow in our understanding of how we are to relate to our children.
2. A second step to take is to seek out the counsel of those who have gone before us. Søren Kierkegaard once said, “We have to live life forwards, but can only understand life backwards.” The trick, then, is to find someone whose “backwards” is your “forwards”! Seeking out a godly father for wisdom and advice is invaluable.
Fourth Priority: Provide for Your Family (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)
The importance of providing for our families should not be missed: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat’” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Paul is not talking here of those who earnestly desire work and have been laid off or are struggling to find a job. He is talking about those who are lazy. Thus he continues: “We hear that some among you are idle ... Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat” (vv. 11-12).
Providing for our families presents at least two different challenges. On the one hand, some of us find that our jobs can be unenjoyable and frustrating. On the other hand, some of us choose to let our jobs take a higher priority than our wives, families or even God himself.
1. The first thing we need to do is recognize that we are called to be faithful servants of Christ in whatever job we have. When Paul writes to Christians who are slaves he gives this advice: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does” (Ephesians 6:7-8a). Even if we don’t enjoy it, we need to be faithful to God in the work that he has provided.
2. If we are letting our jobs take a higher priority than our families and God, we need to repent. Of course there will always be times when our jobs demand more of us than at other times, but many men make the mistake of feeding their egos and ambition through their accomplishments at work at the expense of their wife, children and relationship with God.
Fifth Priority: Be Involved in a Local Church (Hebrews 10:25)
My wife, Carolyn, and I have some good friends who live in England. For a while, things were a real struggle in their married life. The turnaround began with two things. First, the husband began to cultivate his relationship with God. He is a corporate lawyer, and very busy, but loving God was so important to him that he began meeting on a weekly basis with another brother to pray. Second, he and his family got involved in a good, Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. This was very instrumental in his growth as a husband and in the growth of his entire family in the Lord.
The practical step to take here is quite obvious: get involved in a good local church that believes in the Bible and teaches it well! Involvement in a local church is not an option for the Christian: it is a command. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). This is absolutely essential to the spiritual well-being of your family.
© 2003 Christian Family Life
Two Becoming One publications and small group resources help couples understand God's purposes, principles and provisions for marriage. Many key concepts in Two Becoming One are taught in the popular FamilyLife Ministry marriage seminars.
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