Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chapter 1

Chapter 1
God’s Appointed Leader

The familiar phrase “Anything you can do I can do better” if not directly spoken, is implied in every facet of life as it pertains to the battle of the sexes. Woman today are bombarded with the message that they don’t need men and that they are capable of doing anything that a man can do and even surpass his capabilities. They are told that men fall into one of two categories:
1) Stupid pushover
2) Domineering hothead
I wish I could say that these were just stereotypes—with no basis in reality—but I can’t. Manhood today is a far cry from what it once was. There was a time when a man was duty bound to protect and provide for the women in his life, first of all for his wife, but ultimately for any woman in need or distress.
Somewhere along the line however we have failed to protect our families and woman have been pressured to compensate for this lack of leadership. As a result, women no longer feel the need to be protected by men. Some even take it as an insult when you allow them to precede you out of a room or if you stop to open the door for them, or at least give you strange looks when you do so.
Today’s women are very career oriented and are often complaining about not getting the same wages or opportunities as men. Where women were once content to be homemakers and raise children and allow their husbands to serve as the sole breadwinner for his home, now two-income households are typical, children seem to be an afterthought, and in some instances (when the wife makes more money) it is the husband who stays home with the kids. The church is not much different than the world in this regard. The results of this role reversal are sad at best.
Rather than embracing their God-given roles as the keepers of the home and the primary care takers of their children, many of them feel the need to work outside the home. They have bought into the lie propagated by the modern feminist movement that a woman needs a career to find fulfillment in life. As a result children are often an afterthought.
When they do come along, they spend some of the most impressionable years cared by someone other than mom. Families then become segmented. No longer one cohesive unit, they are merely individuals who happen to live under the same roof. This leads to many problems. A major result is the rise of the broken home. It is quite significant to note that the divorce rate in the church is not all that different from that of the world.
There are many reasons given for this societal shift. They range from the economical (“We could never make it on one income!”) to the cultural (“Times have changed”) I believe the real reason goes far deeper than that.
The fact of the matter is that we as men have failed to fulfill our God-given role within the family. God has set the man over the woman and has given him specific instruction to care for his own. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8)
There are two main ways in which men today fail to fulfill God’s mandate for leadership. Some take a domineering “my way or the highway” approach to leadership within their family. They alienate their family because they care only about their own agenda with little or no regard for how it will affect their family. The modern feminist movement would have us believe that all males who display leadership are vindictive in nature.
I believe that a far greater problem in men today is the “stupid push-over” mentality. We are afraid to assume the God-given role as leaders in our homes and in our communities. The world tells us to focus on personal material success. A popular motto for the world today is “Looking out for number 1”. Ad campaigns are constantly telling us that bigger is better. Bigger income, bigger house, bigger cars, you name it. Climbing the ladder of success is what is most important and it doesn’t matter what it costs.
We as Christians have a higher calling. We are called to be different. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God:” (I Peter 2:8-9) The people of God! What a sobering thought! Christians have a mandate from above to fulfill His purpose on earth.
Unfortunately the line between the world and the church has become increasingly blurred. Rather than being concerned with distancing themselves from the world and paying whatever price such a stand would cost, Christians today often seem content to follow the blueprint presented by the culture, with very little consideration for how it will affect others in their life or society as a whole. Nowhere is this more evident or more tragic than in the failure of men and women to understand, appreciate, and embrace their God-given roles.
God calls men to take leadership for the protection and preservation of women. It is not meant to hinder, but to heighten her potential. It is a gift, not the curse it is made out to be.
In order to embrace our roles as leaders, we must seek to understand—really understand—why God gave men this awesome responsibility. Let’s start at the beginning. We have already established the fact that the woman was given to the man as a helpmeet. The Hebrew word is ezer {ay'-zer} which literally means “one who helps[i]” God ordained women as helping hands for their husbands. This is supposed to be a blessing to both the man and his wife.
Sadly the feminist movement has convinced women (even in the church) that it’s not good enough to work “behind the scenes.” They would have women believe that if you can’t lead you can’t do anything. There is perhaps no greater lie in the world. In many cases the successes of those we see are made possible only by the hard work of many we don’t see.
Consider the following examples:
· In sports the athlete gets most of the praise but owes much of his success to his coaches and personal trainers.
· When it comes to moviemaking, the actress might be the best ever, but a lot of credit goes to her writers, the director, the camera crew, and a myriad of others who never make it on camera.
In the same way, the wife has the extreme privilege of helping her husband and family. In many ways she is the key component of his success. Being “behind the scenes” doesn’t make her less important. She is very important. She doesn’t need to go elsewhere for fulfillment.
The most important thing to remember is that God has a plan. He knew what he was doing. Sadly, many of us have dismissed much of what the Bible says on the family as obsolete and not culturally relevant. I think our society is reaping the consequences of this flippant attitude.
God is very clear. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3) Every facet of our society cries out for male leadership. We must wake up and realize how serious this issue is.
In the workforce, it is important that men are willing to work and free their wives up to fulfill the all-important task of being “discreet, chaste keepers at home.” (Titus 2:5) Women in the workforce take on twice the load that they should. This causes a great deal of undue stress.
The responsibilities of a wife and mother are at odds with those of an employee. One has to suffer from a lack of quality time. Unfortunately it seems that ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ are the roles that suffer most. Women in the workforce have also contributed to the break-up of more than a few marriages.
At home, a mother needs to know that her husband will lead in the discipline and spiritual training of the children. Fathers are commanded to “provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4) She also needs to know that her husband will lead her. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (Eph. 5:25-26)
In the Church, God clearly has established men as the leaders. “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13)
As we seek to fulfill this duty, there are some things that we would do well to keep in mind. Service to God and others is most important. Real family leadership involves looking out for the interests of those in your care. “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Jesus, the greatest leader the world has ever known, came to serve us! If the only man who had the right to lord himself over us chose not to, we must be careful not to allow our responsibility to inflate our egos. It is Christ who made entrusted us with this duty. With out him, we can do nothing.
A leader must be willing to do all that he asks of his followers. Everything that Jesus has asked us to do he has already shown us by example. That leads me to a question which I believe every man should ask himself as he seeks to lead his family. The question is “Am I living my life in such a way that I can say with Paul “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ?” (2 Cor. 11:1)
I would like to address one more prevalent aspect of this issue. I am sure that some who are reading this may say that they don’t feel that they have the qualities required of a leader. Let me just say that although it is evident that some have a greater capacity for leadership than others, lack of skill does not absolve us from responsibility. Just ask Moses. He tried to tell God that he wasn’t skilled enough to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt, but God set him straight.
“And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)
My friends, God specializes in using those who are most unusable. Consider this: God will often give a man a task, than make it impossible for him to fulfill so that when it happens he gets all the glory! You may not feel prepared to lead, but if you are a man (especially a husband and father) you are called to do so. Seek the Lord for the grace to accomplish this task.
As you can see we as men have a huge responsibility. As we study this solemn duty in greater detail in the following chapters, I urge you to consider what I have to say and search the Scriptures to see whether my conclusions are sound.