“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian…and most of all, his family ought to know.”
Last week, my family and I were blessed to have had the opportunity to see The Insanity of God. Of course, we left the church feeling embarrassed at our lack of boldness, and we felt emotionally overwhelmed by the stories of these men of God. As I reflect on each man’s experience, one thing that stands out to me is that their families never questioned their dedication to the Lord. Their wives and children looked up to them with reverence and devotion.
In the film, the question is asked:
“Is Jesus worth it?”
Today, I ask, is your family worth it? Is your family worth the time, effort, and sacrifice it takes to follow Jesus Christ?
Of course, you and I have the same short answer: Yes, your family is worth it. But how does a man achieve a reputation within his own household that goes beyond the titles of husband and father? How does he earn the respect of his wife and children that he is deserving of the title “spiritual leader?”
Be Her Hero
When your wife said, “I do,” she, no doubt, was filled with more joy and excitement than her 12-year-old self could have ever imagined. You were her Prince Charming. Her knight in shining armor. Her lover and protector. But what happens when your mother calls to complain that she didn’t receive a birthday card from her grandchildren? Or when your beautiful bride has been nursing an infant every two hours and just can’t stand to be touched by another human being? What is a husband to do when his suitable helper feels under attack or worn out?
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Men are created to be stronger, both physically and emotionally, than women, therefore it is a man’s duty to protect and serve his wife in these ways. Sometimes, I just need someone to open the pickles, other times, I need my lifelong companion to take control of a situation and exert his God-given strength. My husband expects clean clothes and dinner on the table. I expect him to slay the dragon and carry me from the wicked witch’s tower. It’s the little things. Walk the dog. Rock the baby. Tell your sister to mind her own business. Take care of that which your bride is unable. Be the hero of your love story.
Provide Within Your Means
As our Lord provides for you, so should you provide for your family. (1 Timothy 5:8) Every man has his own skill set that makes him capable of earning a living. Many couples have found it necessary for both husband and wife to work outside the home, and that is perfectly acceptable and wise is many cases. I specifically want to address men whose household incomes don’t match their families’ spending habits.
Today, families are overburdened by debt. We’ve lost control of our money, because we have lost control of ourselves. Kids’ birthday parties have become events instead of homemade cake and a carton of Neapolitan shared with a few neighbor friends. We have homes with man caves and she sheds, instead of being content with a garage and a sewing machine in the corner. Our cars and televisions are smarter than we are. We’ve blurred the lines between necessity and extravagance. As a man of God, you are called to be a good steward of the money He has entrusted to you. In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus said:
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Jesus knew that we would desire the things of this world and spoke against these inclinations. Yet obtaining great wealth does not imply sure condemnation. However, our dependence on things should not outweigh our dependence on Him. That doesn’t mean that we should get ourselves so deep into debt that we must put our trust in a miracle from Jesus to pull us out! Talk openly with your family about money matters and be prepared to say no to things outside the family budget. There is a considerable difference between working overtime to afford necessities and killing yourself to make sure Junior has plenty of cell phone minutes. Your family needs your godly influence more than they need stuff.
In recent years, it has been shown time and again that at least half of men admit to being addicted to pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, an overwhelming 64% of Christian men polled say they watch porn at least once a month, and those who identify as fundamentalists are 91% more likely to look at porn. Additionally, their research shows Sunday is the day of the week most people actively participate in viewing explicit material. The statistics are staggering. Your wife may choose to turn her head and pretend to ignore this infidelity, excusing it as harmless, giving you a pass because (at least) you aren’t having an affair, but they shouldn’t have to.
Many ladies have been exposed to what I call the “Cosmo Effect,” a brainwashing by popular media such as Cosmo Magazine that manipulates women into concluding that the manliest men are driven by sex, alcohol, and greed. A few drinks after a hard day at work, she may believe, is an acceptable way to unwind, even if it ends with belligerence and passing out in your work clothes. Your wife may already (or may eventually) participate in these activities with you. As the leader of the household, your example will be her guide. If you have children, they are paying attention too. It has been shown that when a man drinks excessively, his children are more likely to imbibe and may do so earlier than legal drinking age.
It is up to you as the spiritual leader of your home to remove yourself from any activity that tarnishes your witness to your family. 1 Corinthians 10:13 clearly explains that God has provided each of us with a way to escape all forms of temptation. Seek the way out. Ask a trusted brother in Christ to be your accountability partner if necessary. Become the man you want your son to be. The man you want your daughter to marry. The husband your wife deserves.
Be Constantly in the Word
A Man of God should know the Word of God. He should seek understanding. His wife and children should see him with an open Bible in his hands more often than his iPhone opened to his fantasy football rankings. How will you know how to exemplify Jesus Christ if you don’t know who He is? We only have one way to learn about our Savior, the Bible.
The Psalmist wrote:
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Find joy in God’s Word and share the Bible with your family. Make time for a devotional study with your children. Develop a pattern. You are quite good at scheduling your chores around Monday Night Football. How about Thursday evening discipleship training with your kids? Read Scripture with your wife before bedtime and discuss how the Word may be applied to your lives. Seek truth and wisdom in God’s Word when facing difficult times. When your child has an issue or question that requires godly instruction, take him to the Lord’s manual for living. Pray with your bride and each of your children individually and as a family. Make church attendance a priority.
Share Your Testimony
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Every Man of God should prepare and be ready to eagerly share his testimony. What is your salvation story? Write it down. Talk to your wife and children about God and your experiences in your walk with Him at every opportunity. Recall the moments you’ve cried out to God and what His response revealed to you. Remind them of God’s promises and how He has fulfilled those promises in your life. Praise Him for every triumph and trial. Let your story of God’s grace and mercy be your legacy. I firmly believe your family should be able to recite your testimony as if it were their own. Tell it to your children and your children’s children.
“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”
If Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life, your family ought to know it. Exemplify Christ through your actions. Only through your dependence upon Him and your obedience to His Word will your wife and children be influenced by your spiritual leadership.
Is your family worth it? Will you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus? The consequences are eternal.
Please, say yes.