The Husband.. Summoned
“IN THE BEGINNING…”
With so much noise in our world about relationships, marriage, and gender-roles, it can be confusing to know what to do and what to think! As Christians, we may experience uncertainties and sometimes be unsure of what to believe, even to the point of questioning the Lord. After all, we are in this world. Unless we are in His Word, the world will make us dizzy and confused. So, what does God say about marriage? How did He design it, what is its purpose, and what is a Christian husband called to do?
Grab your coffee, get comfy, and let’s start… “In the beginning…”
In Genesis 2, after God created Adam, we see a beautiful picture unfold. God presents to Adam each living creature, all the animals and birds that God made from “out of the ground” to be given a name. Thus, begins Adam’s summons of headship. From the beginning men were summoned to be stewards and leaders over that which God gave them, as Genesis 1:26 states, “Then God said let us make man in our image according to our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the ground.” What a great responsibility. Every day that God created something new, He said two phrases: “let there be” and “it is good.” However, in Genesis 2:18, we see the first moment when the Lord said something “is not good.” After seeing man with no equal companion among the animals, the Lord said “it is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Take note that it is God who realizes Adam’s loneliness and Adam’s need for a suitable companion, not Adam. In fact, Adam wouldn’t have known what it meant to be alone, as Adam only knew what he had experienced up until this point in God’s newly created paradise. Because it was God who determined Adam’s needs, we begin to see His design for marriage begins with a decision. Not a feeling (Adam wasn’t even aware of the issue!). Here we see that the Lord designs marriage based on an acknowledgement, followed by a decision and then points to His purpose.
What we take away from this story is solid truth; Marriage was God’s idea, not mans. It was God’s idea before the fall and is still God’s idea today. And what’s more, marriage is good because God’s will is good.
ISH & ISHAH
The story continues as the Lord put Adam to sleep, took one of his ribs, fashioned woman, and brought her to Adam. Here we can immediately see that woman is very special! While all of creation before her came from dust, God fashioned woman directly from man. And Just as a father walks a bride down the aisle to her husband, God presented her to Adam. Adam sees his bride and says, “this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
All references to Adam are neutral until God took a part of Adam and made woman: ishah, in Hebrew. Only at that point is Adam called ish, a man. The Hebrew word ishah hints at her origins from within ish. In Adam’s naming to his bride, Adam sees her as equal to him in value.
It is important to understand that both men and woman were created in Gods likeness and are both equally valuable as image bearers of God. Sadly, there are many cultures in our world today that see women as unworthy and unequal in value. This is not the Genesis account. The Lord presents Eve as a special gift to Adam and in turn, Adam sees her value and gives her a name similar to his very own! This is more beautiful than anything Hollywood could make up, and it is meant for me and you!
A HEADSHIP CALLING
As we walk through this story, we see that men were summoned to be stewards and leaders over that which God gave them. So much so that the very first task God gave man was headship! I know, I know, the idea of headship is offensive in our culture, though when we understand what it means, we are understanding more of God’s great design. Biblical headship calls for a man to lead his family, not as a dictator, but as Jesus leads the church.
Let’s read in Ephesians 5:25-28. The text says, “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husband’s ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. (MSG)”
What a beautiful description of how a husband should love. Whenever we consider the headship of the husband, we must consider this passage. According to Ephesians 5, husbands are commanded to love their wives. A Christian husband is to love because he is following the example of Christ. Likewise, just like Adam in the garden, this commandment has nothing to do with a feeling. Jesus loved sinners, even when they hated Him. He loved them so much He died a brutal and agonizing death for them. This is the example set for the Christian husband. He is to love his wife, not because of what she does or doesn’t do, but because He is obedient to the word of God.
How very different are our cultural beliefs when it comes to these truths. Sadly, we live in a world that focus on self rather than others. We are heavily influenced by a Greco-Roman myth of romantic love, “cupids’ arrow,” if you will. At its core, we assume that a flying chubby baby with a bow and arrow is real, and once we’re shot with that arrow, we “fall” in love. We believe we’ve “found the one” and the “perfect match” seemingly out of thin air. You see, what’s really happening in those moments is a burst of emotion felt by our bodies and brain, and that emotion makes us feel instantly good inside. In fact, many, are still waiting for this overwhelming force to strike them where they stand. They are still waiting for cupid’s arrow.
Do you see how this is different from God’s design? One is based on a decision, the other a feeling.
AS CHRIST LOVED
So, where do we go from here? Well, first, be encouraged! This is good news to our ears. Though our world has strayed away from these biblical truths, God’s design is still very much alive and accessible to you and me. God still desires for us to step into this design, just as He desired and called it for Adam and Eve!
Husbands, be encouraged in the summons you have been given. I see many men today anxious to be leaders, spiritual giants, and to appear as though they are in control. However, a true leader leads his home according to God’s will first and is then able to do so on a larger scale. We need men in our society who are willing to follow in God’s will for their lives; even though it costs them much. Wives need husbands who are willing to love them as Christ loves the Church. A sacrificial, all-consuming love.
Often, when I counsel marriages, I hear the husband say “I would take a bullet for her” “Everything I do is for her” “I work hard every day and get home tired, thinking of her.”
That’s great but we need to look a little closer to home. I often ask in return, “do you patiently and interestingly listen to her tell you a long story?” or “do you have a positive attitude when she asks you to do something you get nothing out of?” “How about denying your hobbies or a personal want for her?” “do you go out of your way to treat her parents kindly because of what they mean to her?” In other words, would you die to self as God died for his bride? Love like this requires a death to our personal gains and interests. Have you crucified self recently? Set something aside? Something that’s cost you much?
I know these are tough words, but I dare to say them in love. I want nothing more than to see us thriving in our marriages, joyfully loving and living as God intended, as God designed.
So what is His purpose for all of this anyway? I am glad you asked!
There are 2 major reasons. First, the Lord calls the first married couple to build a family. The relationship of man and woman allows for the creation of children. This is important in advancing His will for humanity which requires us to train future generations in His plans to further His message to a dying world. In essence, a husband and wife can make and raise children, according to His word and their descendants can share the Gospel message with others and be His hands and feet. Next, the marriage relationship that the Lord designed provides a tangible expression of true love for others to see.
Maybe you are not able to have children; however, you are still called to love as Christ loved His bride and in doing so, show people what true love is. In other words, marriage is the living and breathing Gospel message. Christ as the husband and his church as the bride.
Before we say our goodbyes, I want to give a few practical questions for husbands that will help you on this journey. We must not be afraid to look internally and recognize the areas that we could love our spouse better. So, without further ado… Husbands do you:
- Make your wife’s mental, emotional, and physical needs a priority above your own?
- What thoughts consume your mind the most?
- Do you consider her above yourself?
- Do you spend time in scripture with her?
- Is your home in order according to Scripture?
- Aside from working and paying bills, do you lay down your life for her consistently?
- Do you regularly do things for her/others without demanding your own way?
- Do your wants, desires, hobbies take priority over her?
If these questions show you areas where improvement is needed, be of good cheer because knowing is the first step to making lasting change! Next, ask the Lord for forgiveness and help as you seek to make a change. Lastly, use 1 Corinthians 13 as your guide to loving as God loves! That passage provides all sorts of ways that you can practice loving sacrificially in your day-to-day life.
Below, you will see some resources that I have personally learned from and think can be a blessing. Some are lengthy audios and a book recommendation. If you aren’t a reader or listener of long audios, this is a great opportunity to practice laying down your life today and ask your wife how you could bless her today.
Dear friend, marriage can be the most wonderful, fulfilling, gift aside from our relationship with God. Our calling in marriage will challenge us and if followed, will lead us to experience closeness with God and spiritual maturity unlike anything else. Next month, we will look at the calling for the Christian wife! You will find there are challenges for us too, ladies. But as we learn to do it for His glory, we learn to find true freedom and joy.
Book: The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott