Well guys...its our turn. Last week Ron talked about the issue Peter addresses in 1 Peter 3 of how wives are to relate to their husbands by playing the role of Christ in humbly submitting just as Christ demonstrated this humble submission to his Father. This week Ron looked at our role in our marriages of servant leadership.
Ron has used the example of ball room dancing for the last couple of weeks. In ball room dancing the man leads. This is not optional. You can’t say “I don’t know how” or “She’s better” or “She likes leading”, the answer from the instructor will always be the same; THE MAN LEADS! No questions, no arguments, no options. If you’re going to dance you’re going to lead! This is in essence what Peter is saying; men, you are called to lead. It doesn’t matter if you think yourself ungifted to lead or afraid to lead, uncomfortable leading, or you’re convinced she’s unleadable, you must LEAD! If you didn’t want to lead you should have thought of that before you got involved in the marriage dance...but, if you’re like me you weren’t thinking a lot in those days, so this is a refresher for us as men.
As Ron said about the ladies, so it is with us guys. We are playing the part of Christ in this marriage by taking the role of leadership. Jesus came to redeem authority. He said “All authority...is given to me”. He knows what authority is and how to exercise it. It’s the “how” here that is so different from our culture and world at large. The same Jesus that said he had “all authority” (Matt. 28:18) is the same Jesus who said he “came to serve, not to be served” (Mark 10:45). This is what we call servant leadership. God-given authority is never for one’s own pleasure or advantage; never to be used to dominate, belittle, or control others. God-given authority is to be exercised in a self-sacrificing way that is for the good of those under that authority. But Peter also says this authority is to be exercised with understanding. Now you may be thinking that you’ll never be able to understand women, but the reality is you don’t need to understand all women, just one...the one God gave you. Do you really know your wife? That doesn’t happen by accident, it must be a part of your leadership. You make the effort to know her...to understand her. You spend time at that. You ask questions, observe, and take notes. You work at it. And then you take that understanding and apply it to your leadership.
Finally guys, Peter tells us to show our wives honor as the “weaker vessel”. Now there are many things Peter could have meant by this, but one of the most obvious would be that by ‘weaker’ he is referring to the fact that she is under your authority. She is dependent on you to care, sustain, lead, and protect. If you don’t do your job she is vulnerable. We can show honor in many ways; with our time, finances, attention, love, encouragement, gracious communication...just think of the word ‘honor’ and think how that might apply to your wife and then do it. This is leadership. You do this because she is a “joint heir” with you of the grace of God. You do this because to NOT do this would be to hinder your own and her spiritual life.
Guys, you are called to lead like Jesus. To lay down your life as Jesus did. To make the cross and the gospel the center of your own life is to make that daily dying a part of your servant leadership. My wife and I have a saying that’s helped us all through our marriage: The first one to the cross wins. Its a race to die...to lay down your life. Living the cross is the reality for us as Christians and more particularly as husbands. Here’s the reality. You can’t do this in your own strength, you can only do this because Jesus has given you the power to do it through his own death and resurrection. He doesn’t expect you to do it yourself. He has already provided the grace and power you need by his indwelling Holy Spirit. His sacrifice has made it possible for you to be a servant leader. So...let’s embrace the call....the challenge of leadership, and let’s be committed to growing in our call for God’s glory.