I am thrilled to bring this 3-part series to you from Mark Nickles. Mark Nickles is a husband, father of three, and a pastor in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Copyright, Mark A. Nickles. Enjoy!
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about Biblical expectations for the family. Today, we will see what God expects from Dad.
Ephesians 5:25-30 makes it very clear how a husband is to love his wife. First, it says that he is to love her “just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her”. Christ’s purpose, according to the passage, was to make the church holy and acceptable to God. The implications are powerful, as husbands are called to love their wives sacrificially, and do all in their power to influence them in a Christian manner. This means putting her needs and desires before our own, and being the spiritual leader of the family. The later would include: 1) Providing spiritual leadership and a Christ-like example for her, 2) To provide spiritual counsel, 3) To make it easy for her to attend regular Christian worship, allowing no other activities to take precedent. In other words, husbands, we should do all we can to make sure our wives are presented to Christ as holy, spotless, righteous daughters of their heavenly Father. Ultimately, her relationship to Christ is her responsibility, but may God never find US, husbands, not doing everything we can to set the proper example to promote the healthy growth of that relationship.
Besides sacrificing and setting a Christ-like example, the husband is also to devote himself to his wife over anyone else, other than Christ, who is always to be our first priority. Matthew 19:5 says, “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'” The original Greek for “be united to” carries with it the meanings “to be glued to” and “to be cemented to”. This is a great metaphor, and very meaningful, as any carpenter can tell you that a well-glued, well-fashioned wood joint is more powerful than the wood itself. Obviously, the husband and wife are to be joined by a strong bond. And, make no mistake, men; we are supposed to be husbands first, and farmers, ranchers, doctors, educators, law-enforcement officers, bankers, ministers, etc. second.
Finally, the husband/father is meant to be a reflection of Christ to his family. Ephesians 6: 4 tells us, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. To not exasperate our children carries the idea that we are not to be overly harsh, unnecessarily severe, or unreasonable in our instructions to them. This includes not using cruel language. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard Dads AND moms yell things to their kids during ball games that made me cringe. Fathers are given authority by God, but are NOT meant to brandish it like a weapon. It is to be used to firmly, but fairly, lead children into the loving arms of their creator God.
Dad, if all of this sounds overwhelming to you, don’t despair; we are ALL imperfect, flawed individuals, who oftentimes feel inadequate in our roles. If you seek God in the Bible and prayer, however, and surround yourself with other Christian men seeking God’s best for their lives, you WILL succeed in being the father he wants you to be! I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13.
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