Men, what your wife wants from you this Mother’s Day is to be cherished. Far more than an expensive gift or a thoughtful card, she wants you to lead her family with her best interests in mind. She doesn’t want a man who is silent and soft, a man who is passive and withdrawn, or a man who is paralyzed by regret over past mistakes. Your wife wants you to be a man of God — a “Servant King.”
She wants you to be a King — proactive, courageous, generous and humble. A man who embraces his identity as leader with authority and conviction.
She also wants you to be a Servant — a man who puts his wife and children ahead of himself, who nurtures them and makes sure everything he does is in their best interest, and who is ready to lay down his life for them if necessary.
God did not create man to be sufficient in himself. The ultimate intimate relationship a man can have on this earth is with his wife, whom God calls his helper. We see that they are to be “one,” a picture of how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. That is, they are to be in such complete unity that they are of one purpose and one spirit.
God gave man the role of leader of his family, but what does that look like? The world often tells us that leadership and authority are the same thing, but this is not so. Authority is that influence that the law gives to a police officer or a military commander. Authority says, “Sir, please exit the vehicle,” or “Grab your backpack and sit down.” Authority offers no reward for obedience, only punishment for disobedience.
We are not called to be in authority over our wives; rather, we are called to lead them. Leadership creates the space for a person to choose whether or not to follow. Notice that a woman is commanded to submit to her husband, not to obey him. I obey the commands of a police officer out of fear of punishment, but I don’t submit to him. This is because submission involves equality and choice. Obedience involves a hierarchy and offers no choice. A slave obeys his master, and a child obeys his parents. But an equal chooses to submit or not, based on the value in the relationship.
Jesus always offers us a choice when it comes to submitting our lives to Him. Submitting to the perfect Leader maximizes our fellowship with Him and gives us ultimate joy as a result. In the same way, a wife chooses to submit to her husband or not.
As husbands, it is not for us to judge her willingness to submit. It is for us to be the kind of leader to whom she can gladly submit.
Therefore, it is incumbent on a husband to be as much like Him as we can be so that her choice is an easy one.
Give Your Wife the Gift of Leadership
“I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3). We seek to lead our families as Christ leads the church. How does He do this? He “gave Himself for her to make her holy . . . to present [her] to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25–27). Someday Jesus will present all His children to the Father, having given everything, including His life by being tortured to death, for the purpose of presenting them without blemish. Whether they will be presented as such will be dependent on the level of their willing submission to Him. Similarly, we will be judged on how we present our wives to the Father. Did we give our lives for them, as Jesus did for the church?
Does your wife see in you the heart for her that Jesus has for His church? None of us will completely measure up, but the closer we get to this standard, the more oneness we’ll have with our wives.
Going further, there are three overarching qualities that I’ve observed in great leaders:
1. Vision—All great leaders know and communicate who they are and where they are going, whether in an organization or elsewhere. Your wife must know that your relationship exists to glorify God. Leaders always keep themselves accountable to their people and remain open to constructive criticism. Does your wife feel the freedom to express her opinion in a safe and loving relationship? Leaders are not defensive and they do not argue. Are your words leading to life and unity or to division and distress in your marriage?
2. Ambition—Great leaders focus on the health and growth of their organization (or family). From the moment they rise until they close their eyes at night, they relentlessly pursue the implementation of their vision. Does your wife see that you are seeking to present her to Christ “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless”?
3. Empathy—Empathy is the ability to see things from the other person’s perspective. There is no more important place for this than in our relationship with our wives.
This Mother’s Day be the Servant King your wife is longing for, the Servant King your God has called you to, and that you were made for.
After seeing the destruction that such teaching wreaked on society, the world now teaches a new message about men. It is convoluted and vague. It flees from machismo toward an equally dangerous lie; it teaches men to be effeminate.
Let’s tear down the lie of society, which has come from the enemy of our souls, and look at what God says about masculinity. First, we must destroy the foundational lie upon which every other lie about society over the past several generations has been built: the lie of modern superiority.
We tend to read Scripture through a lens of modern arrogance, interpreting it using our “superior” intellect. We act as if the God who wrote the Bible and created the world and the very minds with which we reason needs our help in updating His dated ideas. We have become easily deceived by each new idea that comes along, and that tendency is pulling us from a foundation of biblical truth to devastating effect.
Satan has been around since before the human race, so he is playing the long game. His lies build on his lies until even people who love Jesus have assumptions they believe to be true that are not. We seek passionately to avoid becoming pawns in his wicked game; therefore, we must understand his plans so that we can fight and defeat them.
Satan has been attacking gender, gender roles, and especially masculinity with a vengeance over the last few years, and even Christians have been deceived. Let’s take a scalpel to the things that some of us may accept as truth that are not truth at all; rather, they are cancers that our enemy sowed in our minds when we weren’t even aware.
Satan’s scheme, now and forever, is to disrupt the two most foundational building blocks of society:
1. Our relationship with God
2. Our relationship with one another
First, there is something not right in us, and to make things right, we must throw ourselves on the grace of the Creator. A philosophical change has spread across the world to convince people that there isn’t actually anything wrong with them and, if there is, it isn’t their fault. We are seeing Romans 1 play out before us now—not only are sin and perversity abounding, but people publicly commend those who live this way.
Second, there is nothing more foundational to who we are and how we relate to one another than the fact that God created us male and female. Humanity was created as two types—both are equally loved in God’s eyes and both will have equal status in Heaven. However, their relation to one another on earth is defined through distinctive roles determined by God at the foundation of creation.
The two genders, male and female, are together the earthly representation of who God is. Neither, on its own, is a full representation. This is one reason marriage between a man and a woman is so important and meaningful. The truest representation of God’s nature is a healthy marriage between a fully masculine man and a fully feminine woman, each acting in submission to Christ and in submission to each other.
“Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Every man is to be a leader. This is why being proactive is the foundation of being a man. When something needs to be done, a man seeks to do it.
When we understand that a man is called to lead, we see that a hallmark of being a man is accountability. This is difficult for many men to accept, but you must recognize that you and only you are accountable for your walk with Christ, for your marriage, for the state of your children, for providing for your family, and for protecting your family and anyone else who may need it.
Your family—and your God—are counting on you to act like a man.
Adapted from Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man. Copyright © 2019 by Ken Harrison. Published by Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.