We just celebrated Father’s day in our home, and I had the honor of being with my husband, father in law, brother in law, and friend – all fathers who had their families around them. It was a beautiful picture to behold all of these faithful dads, committed to their families.
That was not the same picture as my childhood. My parents had a rocky marriage. My siblings and I struggled just to live normal lives amongst the pressure, abuse, and separation. My earthly father was not faithful and committed.
Sadly, our society today has many people with stories similar to mine. Many men have failed to be faithful and committed to their families. But I want to talk to you today about how we can build our men up, and help them stay true to their call to lead their families in the Lord.
My childhood was dark. My parents fought with each other constantly. I witnessed numerous arguments between them. They finally divorced when I was six. Financial pressure urged my mother to move in with my dad when I was around nine. It only lasted a year, and after that we went from there, to a shelter, to a small apartment. We were crammed in there – mom and her five kids. I never saw my father again.
He tried to look for us, and even found out where we lived, but my mother was so scared of him, that she would not answer the door if he knocked. He then went back to his home country and lived there until his sudden death in 2010.
I prayed for him many days. And, even though my family had nothing but negative thoughts and feelings about him, it was his absence from my life that brought me to Jesus in the first place. I knew I needed a father. And all the past pain and trauma led me to a deeper place in seeking the Lord. I had pain and hurt that needed to be handed over to Him. And I did.
As God took that pain, He showed me that I didn’t need to be angry with my dad. I needed to pray for him. I could not look at him through any eyes but grace. Searching my heart in prayer, I looked for resentment but found none. That made me the best candidate to intercede for him.
I want to say here, if you had a hard time this fathers day weekend, for whatever reason, that I feel for you. For years I hated seeing women post their cute princess, daddy-daughter pictures online, while I sat around and tried to remember all the good things in my life despite my father. I learned to really embrace God as my father. Yes, but sometimes you just want Him to come down in bodily form, give you a hug and tell you that He is proud of you. It took a while to not feel like everyone else’s great father relationship was just one more reminder that I didn’t have one.
Maybe your dad is alive but was a terrible father to you. I feel for you, too. Maybe its hard to pray for him with all the resentment in your heart you feel you must keep to protect yourself from more pain.
I am not going to try to convince you to let that go. It is and will always be your choice to do that. But I will say that if you ever want to see a change and desire to pray, then you must put the resentment away. Forgive as you have been forgiven, even and especially if its hard to. (Ephesians 4:32)
That frees up the hand of the Lord to start working on hearts, even if the only heart you see changing is your own. Let God drain all the bitter poison out of your soul until all that’s left is love.
SOCIETY’S RESENTMENT OF MEN
We are living in a society that hates men. I’m talking about godly men. Ever since the serpent was slithering away in the garden, he probably overheard the Lord speak these words,
“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.” Genesis 3:16,17 NIV
And since then has been playing upon those desires: 1) The desire for women to control their husbands, and 2) The curse Adam bore for listening to his wife’s poor decision, instead of coming to the aid and leading her to the truth, which was – God Said No.
Instead, what do you see out there in our world? Distortion. Perversion. A culture where women are taking the lead in their marriages. When you turn on the TV, it’s filled with shows where the father and husband is shown to be silly, irreverent, and out of touch with his family’s lives. He’s portrayed to be Homer Simpson – just some dude that wants to watch the game and have a beer. No real significant impact or desire to have one.
And in some cases, that’s really what’s going on. But I believe something is wrong today when we feel that, even in the Church, it’s okay to swap our God given roles for the sake of conforming to modern society.
And it’s not old fashioned or narrow minded to think so.
Here is why: just because I have a different experience than you do, does not allow me to change truth based on my experiences. Truth is truth. And if you’re going to base how you live your life on every exception, then your truth will constantly change. You will wind up becoming fed by your own heart’s selfish desires.
James 2:10 -12:
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.”
Meaning, if I think its okay to leave my husband and start living with someone in a different relationship – it is sin, no matter how much I want to justify my actions. I can’t just say “I don’t like my husband” or “I had a horrible childhood” and that can actually give me a license to do whatever I feel is okay. Yet we see it everywhere. I constantly view this in Facebook posts where someone posts about a controversial topic, and takes a uncompromising stand on what scripture says. In come the comments saying how each person’s own experience is special, so we all must make an exception for each experience.
We cannot take only the pieces of the bible that we are comfortable agreeing with, but make no room in our lives for the commands of God that we find challenging to our flesh, to our theology, to the way we were raised. The Bible says about itself that all scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, training, and correcting in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
If I didn’t follow what the Bible says about how to treat my husband, we wouldn’t have a marriage.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
The following are some scripture verses on how the wife is to act and respond to her husband:
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
1 Corinthians 7:2-6
“But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”
1 Peter 3:1-7
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
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.”
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
1 Peter 4:8
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”
“Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.”
“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
1 John 4:11,12
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
You know what I don’t see? Wives taking the lead. Wives yelling at their husbands. Wives teaching through their actions that dad is foolish, as they roll their eyes at his ideas and mistakes. Wives expecting their husbands to make everything “fair” so they don’t have to complain about doing whose share of the work.
MARRIAGE BEFORE CHILDREN
Your marriage relationship is even more important than your relationship with your children. Sadly, many marriages today reflect the opposite. But, we need to remember that we had our husbands long before our children came into the picture, and they should still be with us after the kids are grown up. It’s the most important relationship of your life besides Christ. We cannot afford to neglect it just because we’ve grown accustomed to each other. We’re liable to take our spouses for granted, when it is so incredibly easy to show them some love on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming.
I’ve found the more time you spend focusing on how to build up the positive in your husband, that you have less and less time to 1.) Criticize him 2.) Worry about yourself.
It might even cause him to wonder if he’s building you up enough, and then you’ll have two committed people, working steadily at loving each other, and showing their family how love operates. It gives gladly and generously. And its contagious.
SCRIPTURES THAT BUILD HIM UP
Here are some ideas on how to build him up:
• Listen to him. Give your full attention. Don’t try to multitask when he’s saying something important from his heart. Even if it’s for 3 minutes, give your undivided attention. It’s a form of respect, and scripture exhorts us to respect our husbands.
•Ask him for prayer. And, ask for his opinion on things.
•Remember to point out things he does that are godly or inspiring. Or, just pointing out that he took out the trash and saying how much you appreciate that is important.
•Remind him of his calling on his life. Don’t know what it is? Then tell him he has A calling from God, even if you don’t know what it is. We all have one, whether he is a minister, business man, or whoever.
•Show interest for his work. Show interest in his hobby’s. Do some projects together, and laugh with him. Men love being on adventure with the women they love, not going at it alone while the woman stands at the sidelines only hearing how it went afterwards. Get in the game, even if it takes you away from your work a few minutes. What’s a few minutes compared to a lifetime of feeling loved, accepted and encouraged by your spouse?
•Tell him he makes you feel safe.
•Tell him all the things you find attractive about him.
•Text him while he’s out letting him know how you love him, and that you can’t stop thinking about him.
•Get that sexy lingerie out and spruce yourself up. Show him what a beautiful prize he has in you, and that you want to look special for him.
•Compliment him in the bedroom.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
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