Five Functions Of A Faithful Family -5


By way of introduction to this next stage in the series "Five Functions of a Faithful Family"
allow me to read to you this segment of a book relevant to our topic,
which I eagerly commend to you for two very good reasons – maybe even
three.

  1. It is the first and most Biblically Comprehensive Treatment
    I was exposed to on what it means to be a man and what it means to be a
    woman from God's perspective as taught in the scriptures. Suffice it to
    say that I am gratified to read this after developing this series to
    discover that God's word has said the same to me as it has said to
    other Godly men.
  2. It can be purchased somewhat cheaply from the local Christian bookstore if you're so inclined and…
  3. If
    you would like to read and own it for free you can read it entirely on
    your computer or print it out yourself after downloading it from the
    following web address: http://www.cbmw.org/resources/books.php.

While there are other freely downloadable books on that page this one in particular is Entitled:
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
It is edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. And for whatever it may be
worth to say so: this tome bears my seal of approval. Without further
introduction of the introduction… listen to this introduction…

1 Biblical Womanhood expresses who you are.

When I was a boy growing up in Greenville, South Carolina,
my father was away from home about two-thirds of every year. And while
he preached across the country, we prayed–my mother and my older
sister and I. What I learned in those days was that my mother was
omni-competent.

She handled the finances, paying all the bills and dealing
with the bank and creditors. She once ran a little laundry business on
the side. She was active on the park board, served as the
superintendent of the Intermediate Department of our Southern Baptist
church, and managed some real estate holdings.

She taught me how to cut the grass and splice electric cord
and pull Bermuda grass by the roots and paint the eaves and shine the
dining-room table with a shammy and drive a car and keep French fries
from getting soggy in the cooking oil. She helped me with the maps in
geography and showed me how to do a bibliography and work up a science
project on static electricity and believe that Algebra II was possible.
She dealt with the contractors when we added a basement and, more than
once, put her hand to the shovel. It never occurred to me that there
was anything she couldn’t do.

I heard one time that women don’t sweat, they glow. Not
true. My mother sweated. It would drip off the end of her long, sharp
nose. Sometimes she would blow it off when her hands were pushing the
wheelbarrow full of peat moss. Or she would wipe it with her sleeve
between the strokes of a swingblade. Mother was strong. I can remember
her arms even today thirty years later. They were big, and in the
summertime they were bronze. But it never occurred to me to think of my
mother and my father in the same category. Both were strong. Both were
bright. Both were kind. Both would kiss me and both would spank me.
Both were good with words. Both prayed with fervor and loved the Bible.
But unmistakably my father was a man and my mother was a woman. They
knew it and I knew it. And it was not mainly a biological fact. It was
mainly a matter of personhood and relational dynamics.

When my father came home he was clearly the head of the
house. He led in prayer at the table. He called the family together for
devotions. He got us to Sunday School and worship. He drove the car. He
guided the family to where we would sit. He made the decision to go to
Howard Johnson’s for lunch. He led us to the table. He called for the
waitress. He paid the check. He was the one we knew we would reckon
with if we broke a family rule or were disrespectful to Mother. These
were the happiest times for Mother. Oh, how she rejoiced to have Daddy
home! She loved his leadership. Later I learned that the Bible calls
this “submission.”

But since my father was gone most of the time, Mother used
to do most of those leadership things too. So it never occurred to me
that leadership and submission had anything to do with superiority and
inferiority. And it didn’t have to do with muscles and skills either.
It was not a matter of capabilities and competencies. It had to do with
something I could never have explained as a child. And I have been a
long time in coming to understand it as part of God’s great goodness
in creating us male and female. It had to do with something very deep.
I know that the specific rhythm of life that was in our home is not the
only good one. But there were dimensions of reality and goodness in it
that ought to be there in every home. Indeed they ought to be there in
varying ways in all mature relationships between men and women.

2 Faithful Functions Transcend Relationships

As we prepare to delve into the counter relationship to that of a
Husband towards his wife – namely the relationship of a Wife towards
her husband, I want to address briefly the issue of singleness.
The reasons for singleness could be anything from simply not marrying
to Divorce or the death of a spouse. Though the reasons for all of
these are uniquely different the effect is the same. Inclusive in that
circumstance, even without a husband or a wife; a man or a woman is
completely capable to being a fully Biblically mature man or woman by
holding in the core of their being the responsibilities and privileges
of the gender with which God has graced you. It is from this
perspective that I wish for everyone here to understand this series.
A Single mother can still be a fulfilled Godly woman, and an aged
widower can retain his biblical masculinity by holding in the core of
their heart the belief that what God describes of their position and
relationship to persons of the opposite sex is accurate and good.

3 Godliness is not dependant on others.

Further I intend to
address a question for the women which applies in reverse to the men
which is this: "What if my husband or wife refuses to live up to their
end of Biblical masculinity or biblical femininity?" The scriptural
answer would be summarized thus: It then becomes the most difficult and
onerous task of yours to undertake the added burden of your spouses
neglected role which you were not designed to bear.
In those difficult times a woman must lead her family spiritually and
provide for it physically. A man must continue lovingly sacrificing
himself for the glory of his wife in the hopes against all hopes that
the grace of the Lord will break the hardness of their hearts and lead
them to repentance. Moreover it must be done with an attitude that
communicates to your spouse "I do not defy you, I love you and I long
with all my heart that you were with me in this spiritual and moral
commitment… "
In all relationships, married, single or whatever the case may be the
relationship of a woman to a man is not merely one of response – even
though it is flavored in large part by response.
What I mean by that statement is a bit of a segue into the discussion
at hand. Ladies some of you have no doubt been listening with rapt and
gleeful attention to the scriptures description of everything your
husband ought to be – and yet you've perhaps felt some trepidation lest
the preacher unleash an even greater storm upon you when you're time
comes. I hope that's not the case.
I happen to believe that the picture of Biblical masculinity is an
attractive standard- albeit difficult at times to implement as I
struggle against my own flesh. In the same way I don't intend ladies to
"lay into you" as with a whip – anymore than I would my own wife (which
is not at all lest anyone should doubt!) What I would like to do is in
some way demonstrate the desirability and inherent beauty of Biblical
femininity lived in simple obedience to God's decree’s and creative
order. In other words I believe, ladies, that just as a mature man
ought to find the biblical image of manhood rewarding – I believe that
a mature woman will find the Biblical image of womanhood equally
rewarding and imminently more desirable than any alternative once
it’s understood.
That being said we all should know this: that a significant aspect of
the wife's relationship to her husband is formed in relation to a
husband's proper relationship with her because that which is her
responsibility is more than a mere answer to his headship it is an
encouragement that actually fosters not only her own godliness but
greater godliness for her husband as well.
What is true of every scriptural principle and rule is true also of the
relationship of a wife towards her husband; namely- freedom. The task
to which you are called ladies is one of freedom in which you get to do
what your God-filled heart desires most to do. The result is that when
we live according to God’s design Men and women both arrive at a
greater freedom and a great sense of personal fulfillment in your
pursuit of a Christ centered holy life.
Imagine if you will a marriage in which the husband's focus is upon his
wife for her glory, he Lovingly Leads, Sacrifices and Lives with her as
though she were an honored daughter of God the Almighty King. She in
turn encourages through the various means at her disposal his godly
behavior towards her. The result – as he elevates her and she elevates
him – is an ever increasing spiral of glory – wherein their marriage is
a depiction to the world of Christ loving the church and the church
loving Christ in return.
This is the biblical vision of a faithful marriage and it effectively
sets the stage for our next couple of weeks together.
But for today we will close with this prayer: “That
God who is able to do abundantly more than we could ask or imagine will
visit our homes with His presence and will transform our families into
faithful families.
”
AMEN.