It is often said that the Lord established three institutions – religion, civil government, and the home. The Devil has sought to destroy these institutions ever since their initiation. We are seeing a real time attack on all of these as we look around society today. Biblically based churches are losing ground to false gospels and carnal, New Age “Christianity.” Governments around the world, including the United States, treat their people like serfs, abuse them, steal their money, then punish anyone who stands in their way. The attacks on the home have come through public education (a byproduct of corrupt government), media (including social), and cultural shifts – primarily coming from the Marxist Left and the LGBT movement spearheaded by Antichrist.
The makeup of a family in our churches varies quite a bit. Two-parent, single-parent, with or without children; your household is a family. Your church is a family. Each of us is a parent or a child.
I believe the family to be one of the most often discussed, but most often taken for granted topics in churches today. It is a subject that is mentioned often, but I find that the depths of what it means to navigate marriage, parenting, and relationships with in-laws, stepfamilies, and other outside influences are too-often ignored.
*disclaimer – I will be discussing many components of a godly home. I realize not everyone reading this is married or has children. Please do not be offended by marital or parenting topics and keep in mind that, even if one of these topics does not apply to your current situation, they might apply one day. I intend to be very real, open, and honest over the coming days. It might even get very uncomfortable. Please bear with me and grant me grace as I try to navigate through this.
First and foremost: THE WORD OF GOD is CENTRAL to a Godly home (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).
Joshua 24:15 says, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” How? Let’s discuss.
THE FIRST FAMILY – Genesis 2:15-25
God created Adam and gave him dominion over the earth. Despite proximity with God Himself, the Lord felt that the first man should have some human company. God said, “it is not good for a man to be alone” and created woman using a rib from Adam. Wives are to be a “help meet” for their husbands (I will go into more detail in the future).
In marriage, a man leaves his parents, and the couple becomes “one flesh” through physical intimacy. The first family in Genesis gives us the biblically ideal family: One man. One woman. Children.
What is marriage and what does the Bible say about it?
First and foremost, marriage, according to God, is a union between one man and one woman. As the old adage goes, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
You might also notice that marriage is not valid because of a government certificate. God’s laws > Uncle Sam’s laws.
You should also notice that a marriage does not require a wedding ceremony.
Marriage occurs when we consummate the marriage and become “one flesh.” I often use the example of smashing Play-Doh together. You can keep red and blue Play-Doh separate. However, when you smush them together, they mix together. If you try to separate them, pieces of each color remain bonded to the other.
When we become “one flesh” with someone, we can never be completely separated from one other. That is why virginity until marriage is so precious. You want to be that pure Play-Doh and only mix with one other. You do not want to be some atrocious amalgam of colors when joining with your life partner.
You do not want multiple husbands/wives.
Furthermore, we not only become “one flesh,” but we become one with their baggage. We become one with family (and the problems that come with them). We become one with their habits and idiosyncrasies, tastes and preferences, cultures (and these can be quite different – like socioeconomic or international cultures), fears and insecurities, strengths and experiences, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, Faith (do not be “unequally yoked” – 2 Corinthians 6:14).
The Husband’s Duty to His Wife
To CLEAVE (Genesis 2:24). This means that his wife is more important than any other person on the planet, including his parents and even his children. To “cleave” means to hold tight, and do not let go. That is the principle behind the typical wedding vows. When a man says, “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part,” it is a Biblical commitment.
To LOVE (Ephesians 5:25) as Christ loves the Church. Remember our lessons on the Church? We Christians are the Bride of Christ. When we are born again, we become “one spirit” with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17) just as married couple become “one flesh.” This is also solid evidence that we cannot lose our salvation, because we cannot separate our spirits from the Lord once we are joined.
To PROVIDE (1 Timothy 5:8). This is often used to say that a man must be the breadwinner of the home. I believe this is ideal, but it is not always practical, especially in our society. There have been times when I was out of work and my wife had to bear the financial burden. This happened when I was in college, and it was temporary. However, that is not always the case. There are other things a man can provide, like security – not just in home defense, but emotional security as well. As the man of the house, you should be able to provide what you can to the best of your ability.
To give HONOR (1 Peter 3:7). In other words, do not be insulting or demeaning to your wife. The “weaker vessel” does not mean “lesser than.” Your wife needs loved and provided for (see above), not belittled or patronized. This is where you can demonstrate security beyond just paying the bills.
To render due BENEVOLENCE (1 Corinthians 7:3). This builds upon honor (notice how each of these builds on the previous – the Lord knew what He was doing when He inspired the Bible). Rendering due benevolence is to respect your wife, not use her as an object. Your wife is not a personal chef, a babysitter, or a slave for pleasure at your leisure.
To DEFRAUD NOT (1 Corinthians 7:5). This means keeping physical intimacy in marriage. Physical intimacy is incredibly important. Remember, it is this intimacy that began the marriage in the first place. You are supposed to be “one flesh” and should be on the same page sexually. “Except it be with consent for a time” means that both must agree to a time of temporary abstinence and sex should never be used as a weapon or punishment. One of these periods of abstinence should specifically be for prayer and fasting. If withheld for too long, Satan will attack you with roadblocks to intimacy in marriage. The process usually begins with wandering eyes which leads to the lust of the eyes in advertising, tv, movies, and social media, then to pornography, then ultimately to adultery. Of course, intimacy becomes more difficult after having children (especially when dealing with time/opportunity and hormonal changes). There may be less physical intimacy due to aging and physical decline. All of this can be a true burden on self-esteem (pornography use especially leads to thinking “am I not good enough?”).
Our early relationships are often built on lust, but as we get older, they should be built on trust.
Spiritual and emotional intimacy is very important as well.
The HEAD of the wife and home (Ephesians 5:23). There is a misconception that this means that men make all the decisions, when the true intent is that the head of the home that makes the final decisions. Women are fine making decisions but should not overrule the husband when there is a difference of opinion. In our current culture, this dynamic, designed by the Lord God Almighty, is being turned on its head.
In fact, many of the responsibilities give to the husband are being usurped by many wives. The data on marriage is reflective of what happens when the Biblically ordained order is upset. More people are “co-habitating” than get married (though, again, God views the sexual relationship as marriage). Only 58% of married couples say their marriages are going “very well.” People are waiting longer to get married. Half of all marriages, including Christian marriages, end in divorce.
Jesus Christ is the head of the church, yet Christians have liberty so long as it doesn’t usurp authority from the Lord.
Likewise, the husband is the head of the home. Wives have liberty so long as it does not usurp the husband’s authority. Now that we better understand this dynamic, the next lesson will deal with the wife’s duty to the husband.