Tonight I have the opportunity to teach on the role of man from the Bible study course “Marriage without Regrets“. I have been married for over 11 years and could not imagine being married a day without first having done the Bible study several times in preparation. Marriage is the most rewarding relationship on this earth, other than a genuine relationship with God. Unfortunately, too many people have the marriage and the regrets because they were not properly prepared for this awesome journey.
Previously, we have covered
- Lesson 1 – Men, women; what’s the difference?
- Lesson 2 – the role of the woman
- Lesson 3 – Submission
Now we have come to lesson 4 and it is a much needed lesson in our society today. We have too many men who do not want to carry out their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. There are too many who have abdicated their God given role to lead and have withdrawn either to their jobs, a hobby, the bottle etc. God has a high calling for men and I pray that we would accept the challenge and walk victoriously as God intended.
I. The Role of the man pre-fall
God created a perfect world with perfect people. Those two perfect people were given a choice either to obey God and walk with Him daily or, to disobey God and try to do life on their own. God created specific roles for that perfect man and I would like to take a look at the Scriptures and see what those roles were/are.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1)
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1)
3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God ; but the woman is the glory of man. (I Corinthians 11)
First of all, man was created in the image of God. Since God does not physically have a body, what did He have in mind when He chose to use the word image? God has in mind His character when He uses the word image. Man is to be a direct reflection of who God is by demonstrating His attitude and actions based on His character. Man is to walk with God in a personal relationship so that God’s character is reflected in him and through him by the choices that he makes on a daily basis and the attitude that he has when making those choices. As a man, when people watch your life, they should see God living in and through you. Man was created to rule over the earth. Rule here literally means to dominate. He is the supreme being on the earth. The earth and everything on it were created for the man and not the other way around. Man is to rule and rule well. Man was created to rule together with his wife. The man sees his wife as being his equal, also created in the image of God. Although they are equals, the man was created first and was created to be the leader. He is the head of his wife and head of his family. He was not created to be a tyrant because, even though he is the head/leader, he still understands that he and his wife are equal in the eyes of God. As a husband, or potential husband, do you understand that God wants you to walk with Him and reflect His character in your attitude and actions on a daily basis? What are you doing to make that happen? How are you walking with the Lord daily? How much time do you spend with Him in the Word and in prayer? Are those even a priority for you? Do you realize that you have been chosen by God to be the leader? Are you ready to accept that responsibility? Are you ready to make decisions, especially the very difficult ones.
II. The Role of man post-fall
Once sin entered the world, man’s role was slightly altered. He is still to be what we see in point number 1 yet there are a few modifications in his relationship to his wife. Let’s turn back to the Scriptures to see what we can learn about these modifications.
16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children ; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field ;19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken ; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3)
God added a new aspect to man’s life. He is now to work and to work hard for his daily bread. He is to provide for himself and his family. Man needs to be occupied now because of sin and his sin nature. If he is left unoccupied, he will get in trouble. If you examine king David’s sin with Bathsheba in II Samuel 11, you will see that it happened when David was not working. He was home, bored, and just waiting for trouble. Trouble found him very quickly. Man is to work hard so that he will keep his mind occupied and not get in trouble. Another thing that the husband is to do is rule over his wife. In Genesis 1, man is to rule over the earth together with his wife. Now he is also to rule over his wife. The word for rule in Genesis 3 is not the same word that is used in Genesis 1. Genesis 1 has the idea of having your foot on the back of the neck. The word in Genesis 3 is “to give advice”. It carries the idea of two equals, one giving the other advice. The husband is also responsible with helping his wife control her desire.
The husband is to be the spiritual leader in his family. He is to know the Word of God well so that he can know if his wife is giving him godly advice or not. We see this played out in Genesis 16 and Genesis 21. In Genesis 16, Sarah gives Abraham advice and he listens to her instead of listening to the Word of God. In Genesis 21, Sarah again comes to Abraham to offer advice. He does not want to listen to her this time. God intervenes and tells Abraham that he must listen to her because she is sharing advice according to His Word. He listens and is blessed as a result. Men must know God’s Word very well so that they can determine if their wives’ advice is according to God’s Word or not. Man is commanded to love his wife with the love of God, the way that Christ loved the church as written in Ephesians 5. This type of love is not based on emotions. It is a choice, not based on feelings, not based upon merit, it never changes, it is sacrificial, and it is for the good of the receiver. The only way that he will be able to love like this is to have a genuine relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. If he is submissive to the Lord’s leading then he will be able to love his wife the way that God intended.
III. Practical Application
God gives some practical advice on how to love and serve. In Colossians 3 we find the following verse:
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them
The word embittered means to make angry, to make bitter. How are some ways that a man would make his wife angry?
- make her feel unimportant
- make her feel unequal
- criticizing her
- not giving her enough attention
- not listening to her
- forcing her to submit
I Peter 3:7 teaches that a man must live with his wife in an understanding way. If he cannot live with his wife in an understanding way then his relationship with God will be hindered. On the flip side, if his relationship with God is good then he will be able to live with his wife in an understanding way. A husband is to admire and honor his wife.
23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh ; She shall be calledWoman, Because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2)
He is to be 1 with his wife which means way more than just the physical relationship. They are to be one emotionally and spiritually. They are to be open and honest with each other. He has no secrets and nothing to hide from her.
Finally, his attitude toward the Word of God must be correct.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror ;24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (James 1)
He is not to be a hearer of the Word and not a doer. He is to be a person who looks intently into the Word of God and abide in it so that he can apply what he learns. This is the key to being a godly man. He stays connected to God through His Word. He is able to live out God’s will for him on a daily basis.
IV. His Wife’s help
Man needs a suitable helper. He cannot do it all on his own. He was never intended to be able to do it all on his own. He needs help. His wife is to help him rule the earth. She is to come along side him and work together with him. She has to let him be her head and encourage him to be the leader and lead the family, both physically and spiritually. She is to respect him and when she does so, it will encourage him to love her more. He will love her more and she will want to respect him more. They will feed off of each other. She is to give advice to her husband from the Word of God. When she carries out her role, she helps him fulfill his own, which is what she was created to do. She needs him just as he needs her. They are a team. When this happens, they are satisfied in marriage and God is glorified.
As a man, do you know your God-given role and are you walking in the light of it? Are you preparing to be the spiritual leader of your family? Are you being the spiritual leader of your family? Are you obedient to the Word of God, staying connected to God through His Word? Do you appreciate your wife as a gift from the Lord? Are you an example of submission to the Lord for your wife to follow? Are you a hard worker? Do you do all that you can to provide for you and for your family? Are you a living reflection of the character of God? What changes do you need to make based off of what we have learned? May the Lord help us learn our roles and carry them out for His glory and our true satisfaction.