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Leadership in the Home - Introduction
November 30, 2009
This is a series about leadership in the home. It is geared specifically to men and I hope it will be of some use to guys of any age though perhaps it will be most at home in the hands of young men—those who are newly married or those who are to be married in the near future. I hope it is also the kind of series that a wife can pass to her husband and say, “Honey! Read this and tell me what you think of it…” When the series is complete I will put it together into a PDF file to make it easier to share in that way.
This series of articles really grew out of a previous series I wrote, one that dealt with the effects of pornography. After I wrote that series I received email after email from women whose husbands had fallen into sexual sin. So often these women lamented not only the pain of finding out that their husbands were involved in sexual sin but also the fact that these men were showing terrible, sometimes non-existent, leadership in the home. Many of these wives longed for their husbands to fulfill their God-given role as men, as husbands, as leaders of their homes. To be frank, there are a lot of Christian men who have no conception of their God-given role as leaders.
A husband’s unique role consists of three tasks: leadership, protection and provision. In fact, these may be the only unique abilities a man brings to the marriage relationship (beyond the obvious biological role). If he abdicates on any of these things, either allowing them to disappear altogether or forcing his wife to take over, he is less of a man for it. And she has less of a husband.
Most Christian men believe that they are expected to be leaders within the home. I would argue that most men, Christian or not, believe this in their heart of hearts. But few husbands know what it really means to be this kind of a leader. Few know what it means to be a godly husband. In the second article of this series, I want to prove to you that God has called husbands to lead.
A man is to lead in his home and family. He is to be the leader, the head. Of course this is not a headship that brings with it power and prestige and might, but a headship that brings with it love and care and sacrifice. This is the leadership exemplified by Jesus Christ who, as Lord of all the universe, became a servant and suffered for the sake of those he loved. This will be the topic of our third article.
The husband is to protect his family. This goes beyond physical protection, though this is an aspect of his role, but extends also to emotional protection, spiritual protection, sexual protection. He is to protect his family from any of the ways in which Satan would seek to corrupt and harm. This will be the topic of our fourth article.
And finally, the husband is to provide. He is to be ultimately responsible for ensuring that his family’s physical and financial needs are being met, but he is to do more than this. He is to provide for them financially, physical, spiritually and more. This will be the subject of the final article.
The Character of the Godly Husband
I want to dedicate the rest of this introduction to looking at a few of the necessary character traits of a godly leader in the home. These are traits you must cultivate if you want to successfully lead your wife and children.
Humility. This is probably an obvious one—a good leader is a humble leader, one who has an awareness of his own sins and weaknesses and one who knows who and what he is before God. But here is something you may not expect. I want to share a quick and humbling fact: If you are a young husband (and maybe even if you have been married for a long time), you are probably an awful leader. You’re probably really, really bad at it—so bad that I feel sorry for your wife and so bad that you would, too, if you could step outside yourself for a moment. The task of leadership does not come easily or naturally and neither does good leadership. Despite this, I want to encourage you to press on. You need to lead anyway, but you need to do it with great humility, not just knowing your own propensity to sin but also knowing that you are untested and unskilled as a leader. You will learn to lead well as you lead, if you lead humbly.
Confidence. You need to have confidence that God really has called you to lead your family. This can be hard to believe in a culture like ours that screams sexism! as soon as it hears a man claim that he leads his wife. You will need to study Scripture to give yourself a firm foundation to understand that God has called you to lead and you will need to study Scripture to help you know how to be that kind of leader. You will lead well only if you are confident that God stands behind you, affirming you in your leadership. Your leadership is not your own, but has been delegated to you by the One who created you, who created your wife, and who brought you together. Lead, then, with a humble confidence.
Godliness. You will need to be a godly man if you are to lead your family well. Like leadership, godliness does not come naturally and it does not come easily. It is, to borrow an excellent description, a long obedience in the same direction. It does not come without wars, without battles, without scars. It certainly does not come without persistence and dedication. Lead your family with a humble, confident godliness.
Love. If you are to be a godly husband, you need to have love for your wife—a love that is far greater than the love you have for yourself. Sound easy? It isn’t! We naturally love ourselves so much more than the one we claim to love the most. You will need to have a great love for your wife and children and a greater love still for God. You must be willing to count yourself last. You must be willing to die for your wife but, harder still, to live for her. You need to be willing and equipped to lead your wife with a humble, confident, godly love.
How do you do that? Continue on to part two…