If you haven’t yet, check out the first post, as it lays the foundation for why I’m saying what I’m saying.
The next four ‘Real men’ headings tie in so closely together, that I’m dealing with them all at once.
Real Men: Lead with Courage, Love their Wives, Shepherd their Families, and Work Hard: You may have noticed that in the title it says, “We should submit to our wives and children?! You’re probably thinking, “I’m pretty sure the Bible says that wives are to submit to their husbands, and that children are to obey their parents.” Yes, it does, but we need the proper context to understand what these things really mean.
The main passage that deals with how we are to relate to each other is Ephesians 5:21-33. Many are quite familiar with verses 22-24, which talk about the wife submitting to her husband. And that is important, but that’s not all there is to it. The rest of the chapter (verses 25-33, a much bigger portion) deals with how the husband is to treat the wife. Verse 21 gives us the key to understanding the next several verses, even going into chapter 6. It says that we are to “submit (or be subject) to one another in the fear (or reverence) of Christ,” then gives us practical ways in which to do that, especially within the family. Commenting on this section of Scripture, John MacArthur says,
“Christian marriages and families are to be radically different from those of the world. The relationships between husbands and wives and parents and children is to be so bathed in humility, love, and mutual submission that the authority of husbands and parents, though exercised when necessary, becomes almost invisible and the submission of wives and children is no more than acting in the spirit of gracious love.”
The biggest problem is that we all want our own way, and “When self insists on its own rights, opinions, and goals, harmony and peace are precluded.” On the other hand,
“Every obedient, Spirit-filled Christian is a submitting Christian. The husband who demands his wife’s submission to him but does not recognize his own obligation to submit to her distorts God’s standard for the marriage relationship and cannot rightly function as a godly husband. Parents who demand obedience from their children but do not recognize their own obligation to submit in loving sacrifice to meet their children’s needs are themselves disobedient to their heavenly Father and cannot rightly function as godly parents.”
I don’t know about you, but this was kind of new to me. But it really makes sense when you look at Jesus. He is equal with the Father, yet He perfectly submitted to the Father’s will in coming to Earth, living a perfect life, and dying on the cross. And the Father gave Jesus everything He needed to do what He had asked Him to do. So yes, wives are to submit themselves to their husbands, and children are to obey their parents; but husbands are to submit to their wives, to love them and take care of their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs by leading, shepherding and working, and parents are to do the same for their children.
Not only that, but husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves His Church. This is not just with a phileo love, which will love only as love is given; but it is to be an agape love, which is self-giving, and is the kind of love with which Christ loves the Church, and gave His life for her. It is a selfless love that loves for the sake of giving, and is not based on what it gets.
“The blessed marriage is the marriage in which the husband loves his wife with unlimited caring. Something is basically wrong if she is looked at only as a cook, housekeeper, occasional companion, and sex partner. She is a God-given treasure to be loved, cared for, nourished, and cherished.”
This is definitely hard work, and again, goes completely against human nature, but isn’t that the way it is with God? And yes, we will be looked down on by the world, but we need to be light for the world and to lovingly submit to one another.
Love their Enemies: A Christian should never make enemies with any person. Satan and sin are our true enemies that we share in common with all of humanity. It’s just that a large portion of humanity does not realize that Satan and sin are their real enemy. They are enemies of God and everything and everyone that represents Him, but that’s really on them. If we are to become like Christ, we are to love our enemies. This again, goes against human nature, and can only be done in the power of the Holy Spirit residing in a person. Loving our enemies first and foremost concerns letting people know of their spiritual condition and giving them the Gospel. MacArthur put it this way, “Love that does not openly expose and oppose sin is not biblical love. Love not only ‘does not act unbecomingly’ itself but it ‘does not rejoice in unrighteousness’ wherever it might be found (1 Cor. 13:5-6).” The best thing we can do for our enemies, is pray for them, and share the Gospel with them, and to return good for evil (be nice when they aren’t). Who knows? You may perhaps end up finding a lifelong friend and brother/sister in that person, or in those people.
Share the Gospel: The Apostles and the early Church gave their lives, and were severely persecuted for sharing the Gospel, and many still are today. Unfortunately, in much of Western culture, it has become more or less optional; saved for the “more spiritual” Christians. The problem is, there aren’t “more spiritual” or “less spiritual” Christians. Either Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord of your life, or he is neither. If He is, then you have a mandate to share the Gospel with those around you.
Love the Church: Many professed Christians don’t truly love the Church because they say it’s full of hypocrites. Of course it is! You’re one of them! But the Church is the body of Christ, and you are a part of it, if you truly are a Christian! Christ loves the Church because it is His body, and those who are part of that body must necessarily love the Church. It wouldn’t make sense to do otherwise. Paul had great anxiety because of his love and care for the Church (2 Cor. 11:26). He went through trials of all kinds on account of the Church and for the spread of the Gospel. His letters were mostly to churches to correct, strengthen and encourage them. We should have no less zeal for the Church.
Pursue Purity: In this final section of the book, Bill Shannon, its author, gives 5 warnings and 5 action steps in dealing with purity.
1.) Beware lest you fall. Satan is always looking for a way to bring us down.
2.) Lust is a serious sin. It’s not just a “secret sin” and it most certainly isn’t harmless. Jesus warned us that, “whoever looks at someone with lust for them has already committed adultery (or sexual sin) with them in their heart” (Matt. 5:28).
3.) The Lord is the Avenger. God knows our hearts and has called us away from impurity and to godliness. We will suffer the consequences for sexual sin.
4.) Sexual sin destroys its victims. Sexual sin is not only against God, it is also against our own bodies and the body of the one with whom we commit sexual sin. It is never without consequences.
5.) Moral perversion degrades and enslaves. Once you dabble in sexual sin, even if it seems “harmless,” it is very hard to get away from. It causes you to look at others with a perverted mind all the time, and it really does enslave you to that mindset and to those actions.
Action steps (these are all self-explanatory):
1.) Admit your sin and take full responsibility
2.) Acknowledge that lust is a lie
3.) Alter your lifestyle to avoid temptation
4.) Anchor your heart in the Word of God
5.) Ask others to hold you accountable
We cannot do any of these things outside of the grace of God, and without keeping ourselves grounded in Him through His Word, through prayer, and through the encouragement of other believers. And even then, we will stumble and fall often. But let us not become weary in doing what is good (Galatians 6:9), but keep fighting the good fight of faith!
Grace, love and peace!