In previous post, I have described the part of women as helper in home. Now it is men’s turn 😀 This one will describe more on Derek Prince’s side. For obvious reasons, the preparation a man needs to make for marriage differs from the preparation a woman needs to make. What are the preparations which Derek believes a man should make?
The Matter of Headship
The primary role of a man in home will be as a husband and a father. In short, as a head of a family. Paul pictures a descending chain of headship, which starts in heaven and ends in family: God the Father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the man (husband); and the man (husband) is the head of the woman (wife). In this chain, Christ represents God the Father (above Him) to the man (below Him); and the man, in turn, represents Christ (above him) to his wife (below Him). Here is the pattern: A man represents Christ to his wife and family. It’s a tremendous responsibility but also a sacred privilege!
Hmm.. What does it look like to represent Christ in your home? I bet it would be such a gentle, wise, and loving figure ever! The key to the life of Jesus was His relationship to the Father. “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) In like manner, your success as head of your family will depend on your relationship to Jesus. Make Him the source of your words and actions. Rely on His strength and wisdom within you, not on your own. Let Him live out His life through you.
The Importance of Tenderness and Romance
Consider the tenderness with which the Lord speaks to Israel in Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Do not afraid of being tender. It is a mark of strength, not weakness. It is by tenderness that Jesus draws His people to Himself. Allow Him to impart a measure of it to you. Throught it all He will draw your bride to you just as He deaws the Church to himself.
Although our culture has little honor for a man being tender, yet the truth is there is something in every woman that longs for it. She will respond to it just as a flower opens its petals to the sun.
Tenderness goes hand in hand with romance. If you want a picture of the two combined, study the Song of Songs. Romance is not some special kind of activity on its own. It is a quality imparted to other activities that makes them more exciting and enjoyable. Romance is not like an extra course on your meal. It is seasoning added to every course.
A Self-Giving Character
Another quality of the love of Jesus is that it is self-giving. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). A successful marriage must follow that pattern. It consists of two lives laid down for each other. First, the husband, like Jesus, lays down his life for the wife. Then the wife in her turn, like the Church, lays down her life for the husband. Thereafter, each kinds fulfillment in the life of the other. The key is understanding that scriptural marriage is based on covenant.
Self-giving is not natural, however, to fallen human nature. It needs to be cultivated. First it requires a decision. Then it must be worked out in daily living, until it becomes part of your character. Do not wait until marriage to begin to give of yourself. That can lead to much unnecessary suffering for you and your wife. Your marriage will benefit greatly if you learn to give of yourself now in the relationships you have with those around you. If you still live at home, give yourself in small acts of service. Take out the garbage even when it is not your turn. Help with the dishes so your sister can go out with her friend. Babysit your younger brother so your parents can have an evening out by themselves. In the church life, too, there are many opportunities for service. All these seemingly small acts will help to build in you something of the self-giving nature of Jesus, which will one day enrich your marriage and make you a pattern to your own children.
Teaching: A Most Important Task
The picture of Jesus as Bridegroom in Ephesians 5:25-26 brings out another aspect of His ministry -that of Teacher. He gave Himself up for the Church “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” The teaching of God’s Word must make the Church pure and holy, fit to be Christ’s Bride.
Here is another way you will be able to represent Jesus to your wife and family: Make provision for them to receive the kind of Bible teaching that will fit them to be part of His Bride. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). A mother has her part to play, but the primary responsibility of teaching rests on the father.
How can you prepare yourself to fill the role of teacher in your home? First of all, acquire an overall knowledge of the Bible. There are many ways to study: books, study, discussion, courses, seminars and so on. Many people think that this is the task of a pastor or spiritual leader at church. But a man is a spiritual leader at home too. Thereby, it is unlimited responsibility though you have vocation in marketplace 😉
Intercession: Your Highest Ministry
As teacher, you will represent God to your family. As intercessior, you will represent your family to God. Intercession in simple terms is praying continually with a deep concern to certain people and areas of life. Wherever God places you, you can learn to be a man who stands in the gap on behalf of others. Cultivate a regular personal prayer life. Devote your best time to it. Ask God to lay on your heart the individuals for whom He wants to intercede. Aim in your heart and mind that prayer should become as naturl as a part of your family life as meals or play. Your success in the ministry of prayer will probably determine the extent of your success in other areas.
Your Role in Practical Terms
As the head of family, you will be required to be sensitive to register the needs and feelings of others, to foresee problems and dangers, to accept and apply constructive ideas. You will also need wisdom to make decisions which affect not only your own life, but also the lives of others. It is also required the strength of character. In 1 Timothy 3:4-5, Paul compares the responsibility of a church elder to that of a husband and father in his home:
He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)
To manage means “to stand at the head of or in front of. “This is the position of the husband and father. He goes ahead of his family; he leads the way. Also when evil or danger threatens his family, he stands in front of them, placing himself between them and what threaten thems. In sum, it is about leadership.
Two Foundations: Faithfulness and Responsibility
There are two foundations on which this kind of leadership must be based: faithfulness and responsibility. In everything you are asked to do, seek the help of Jesus and be faithful. No matter how insignificant things that you do, seek the help of Jesus and be faithful. Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will abound with blessings“.
Cultivating the Characteristics
Derek was trained for ministry in British Army in North Africa. He faced many confronting tough, real-life situations and accepting the resposibility for the needs of others. His constant companion was his pocket Bible. That ‘desert’ experience provided him a solid foundation for his spiritual development. Joseph cultivated faithfulness and responsibility first in Potiphar’s house, then in prison. The result was promotion. Characters, undoubtedly, are build in uncomfortable situation. As a leader, it is your duty to be outside of your comfort zone, make a path, so that one day people can walk through the same path more easily.
The generations are desperately in need of courageous men who wants to step out and ready to accept the challenge to be the man God intend him to be. A man with a clear purpose on his role and well prepared before entering marriage covenant will determine a better course of his marriage. And yes.. great marriage can be more easily achieved. By God’s grace, we can do it!
Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography