A Husband’s Participation in “Thy Kingdom Come”

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Can you see it? Spiritual warriors in all walks of life, from ditch-diggers to CEOs, attacking every day, armed with only the weapons of love, and genuine interest and concern for everyone with whom they interact. They see their specific job as essential in the kingdom. They know they bring Jesus’ rule, by grace, according to the law of God—whether administering it or obeying it—into that vocation.

Remember, as we discussed, it is FAITH that “substantiates,” or makes this hope or vision experiential in our lives. Likewise, it is this same FAITH that will show me that I am, myself, right now, actually participating in that rule—naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously!

Of course, this kingdom-extending activity is always occurring in the three institutions that God ordained for that very purpose—the family, the church, and the civil government. As we grow in our understanding of God’s plan for us in His family business of ruling, we will find ourselves more and more actively involved in each of these institutions. In this posting we will discuss how this is currently happening, however imperfectly, with men in their families. 

The first issue we must face, as we all become participants and not spectators, is “Who’s in charge?”—the most basic issue in the universe. Sadly, the church often does not proclaim, with a clear, certain sound, the biblical answer to this question, as it applies to the family. However, if it is foundational, then we must address it first if we are investigating building kingdom families.

“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). This verse tells us, contrary to what the world is screaming at us, we husbands are the “heads” (Gk. – “anything supreme, chief, prominent” – Thayer) of our wives.

According to the creation story in Genesis 2:18, Eve was created to be Adam’s “helper” in his ruling task, supplying essential qualities to their union that he lacked if they were to accomplish that mission. This means that husbands are created to lead their families as they live in light of that vision.

In the final analysis, this leadership position does not demand that the man necessarily be the stronger willed, the smarter, the more insightful, the louder, or the more aggressive of the two. No, the leader is simply the ONE WHO MAKES THE FINAL DECISION. The husband would be a fool if he did not listen to the insight, recommendations, perspectives and other input from his other family members. He may well say, “That’s a great idea. We’ll do that,” but in the final analysis, he makes the final decision himself.

Wives are told, “ Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). 

Amazing! This means that, to the wife, the husband’s leadership decisions, as imperfect as they will sometimes be, are the same to her as if Jesus Himself were giving them (“submit. . . as to the Lord . . . in everything”).

However, along with this biblical authority given to the husband in the family, these male leaders are also given commensurate responsibility. In the kingdom of God, the words AUTHORITY and RESPONSIBILITY always go together. You can’t have one without the other. Therefore, the father’s second family task, besides leading, if not embraced, is guaranteed to lead to a dysfunctional family. That task is, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). 

This verse means that the husband’s decisions as he leads are always for the blessing, growth and benefit of his wife and the entire family, not in any way for his own personal desires. These decisions may even cause him to suffer loss and personal pain. 

We are not told in this verse to simply “love your wives.” We would all say we do that (at least on our wedding day!), but we are also told that love is “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for Her.” This underscores the fact that the husband’s decisions, as he leads, are always for the blessing, growth and benefit of his wife and the entire family, not in any way for his own personal desires as he “gives himself for her.”

That Greek word for “love” in this verse is agape, and is described beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. In verse 5, in the Amplified Bible, we find one quality of agape love that is characteristic of all the others and beautifully illustrates the husband’s love for his wife: (Love) takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].”

This means that if my wife did not want to follow my leadership or actually sinned against me in some way, it does not move my “love-needle;” it’s still stuck on “full!” As a matter of fact, my prayer would become, “Oh Lord, what have I done or not done to fail to capture her heart and cause her to rebel against my leadership?” In other words, any failure in the family to function as a kingdom family would be ultimately my sin, not my wife’s or children’s! Where did I screw up? ”With great authority comes great responsibility.” 

My wife’s personal sins are only between her and God; her enthusiastic participation in her biblical role in the family is 100% dependent on my firm, decisive leadership and unconditional, irresistible love. 

After open discussion and a consideration of all input, the husband then makes the decision. If his wife disagrees and refuses to go along with it, the husband’s attitude is “I love  you, want you and need you with me as my helper, but I cannot change the direction I feel the family must go. Whether or not you follow is up to you and your own personal relationship with God. I will always continue to learn to better lead and love you, and I will eventually win your heart!”

Men, are you ready to participate in the coming of the kingdom in your family? Leading and loving our wife is where you begin. Next week we will look at the wife’s role in that mission. (For a comprehensive look at this topic of kingdom families, you can have an eBook copy of my compendium of family life, The Family, God’s Weapon for Victory, free of charge, for the asking. Email me your request.)

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  1. Sally says:

    Great article Robert. One other addition. Because Adam was passive in the garden God put the greater responsibility on the man. It becomes one of a military picture. He put the man out front in the ensuing battle (which lasts our lifetime) because as the leader in the home he takes the arrows first, shielding his wife and kids. She stands behind him, putting salve on his wounds and supporting him. He takes the initiaves to pray, read scripture and stand firm in the battle against the enemy. His wife and children are in a protected position as he is their head but Christ is his head, Christ protecting him as well as the whole family under him.
    The battle is so clear as you state it and we have to be battle ready at all times for the onslaught of our arch enemy. He wants nothing more than to destroy the family.

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