Posts Tagged ‘men’

Is Family Devotions Mandatory?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

family-devotionsFamily devotions is one topic I take issue with, because I don’t believe it has to look a certain way. Women make themselves unlovely nags when they force their men to do family devotions. My husband, for example, leads the children with his Bible one-on-one as character issues come up, and he occasionally gathers them to read the Bible, when God is leading him to. My husband walks by the Spirit and leads our family spiritually, and he does not do family devotions.

Forcing men to do something that God has not convicted them to do can actually have the opposite effect on families, causing the children to have a negative view of reading Scripture. Truly, the man needs to go to God and have a heart for it and not just be bullied by his wife. If the man wants to lead his family one-one-one instead of as a group, that’s his prerogative, and it’s way more effective anyway. He doesn’t have to do it the way the homeschool movement has dictated for him to do it. He is free. He can rise up and do his will, and if he submits his will to God, he will be doing it right no matter what it looks like. It should look different in every family. Hearts for God is what matters, not outward form.

Men have such a wide variety of personalities, and obedience to God yields joy, not an unnecessary heavy burden that is dreaded. (Although I have to say… spiritual disciplines are often difficult to establish as habits, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do them. For a man to lead his family spiritually is a command from God that when disobeyed, causes a family to have stunted spiritual growth.)

I would like to point out that no Scripture is ever mentioned to support men doing family devotions. It is always Puritans that are quoted, as if Puritans and Scripture were identical. They are not. The general population of men in Scripture weren’t even literate. When God said for men to teach their children constantly about the things of God, it was supposed to come from their souls. God wanted them to be men of character who loved their wives and children and shepherded them in the freedom of the Lord. Yes, it’s hard work and a man has to fight against slothfulness, but a man can lead his family spiritually without doing family devotions. He can use his God-given personality, and his wife will like it. His kids will like it. There will be joy. Let’s break out of this artificial constriction and yield ourselves to God and God alone.

That said, I would like to state that when our husbands are leading our families spiritually, it is highly attractive to us as wives. Yes, I said attractive. Every Christian woman that I’ve ever mentioned this to agrees with me. When I see my husband talking to my son with his Bible open, my heart skips a beat. Even during Bible study when my husband uses his spiritual gift, my soul is uplifted and is knit to his soul in a way that makes me hunger him. I can’t explain it, but for us women, intimacy is more than the physical; it always was. During courtship there was emotional romance, which helped us to be attracted, but there is a soul attraction that is deeper than emotion and yet encompasses emotion, too. If you can align spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy for a woman… wow is all I can say. ALL Christian marriages should be this way, incredible and beautiful.

When men take a more active role in leading their families spiritually, they are often awkward and blundering, but that vulnerability is highly appealing to a woman, just like vulnerability in a woman is appealing to a man. Better to start somewhere and blunder and do it “for the wrong reasons,” and then once they get going, they get better at it and God uses them more and more effectively. If obeying out of duty is something men are reluctant to do, perhaps this highly appealing reason might do the trick. Let me tell you, obeying God yields rewards that you never dreamed were possible. At its best, it involves the crucifixion of your will and putting God’s will above your own. But until men get there, they should be allowed to blunder. It’s better than nothing, and your family needs it.

Let Our Men Lead

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

men-leadRecently I watched a series of DVD’s called “Fathers of Vision” produced by the Homeschool Channel. Seven sessions (most of them one hour long) address what it means to be a godly man and lead a family. Half the sessions were preached by Kevin Swanson. His passion for God and his flailing arms make him interesting to watch. My sons, as they were listening to his sermons, stood up and began flailing their arms, and I smiled in hopes of raising at least one preacher. My 11-year-old son blurted out, “I agree with what he’s saying!”

As a woman, this is the first time I’ve heard a series of sermons on what it means to be a father. Women are always banished from the room when men’s roles are mentioned, as if it’s supposed to be a secret. (That’s because women turn into shrews and basically bash their husbands over the head to get them to do what they perceive is the right thing. When women do so, they are the ones ruling, and it never works. Besides, it’s sin.) But I think it’s highly helpful to know that our husbands are responsible for us (their wives and children) before God, and that we need to yield to that dominion and move in the same direction that our husbands want us to go.

I think that’s the key. Find out what’s inside the heart of your husband, what his vision for the family is, and then make that your priority. If your husband doesn’t have a vision for what he wants his family to be, these DVD’s would be excellent for him to watch because they give a biblical vision for how the father is supposed to function in the family.

Wouldn’t it be great if Christian men would rise up and say, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Men can take dominion over their homes and decide how to lead their families toward righteousness. The family should reflect the man. In order to do this, a man must actually pursue God for real. He can make such an enormous impact for Christ when he takes his God-given role and says, “I will fulfill it; so help me God.” And even if he fails, and he will, we as wives can support and pray for our husbands and make their task as easy as possible by yielding to his headship.

When I got to the sixth session, “The Heart of It All,” my heart was in my throat. That was an absolutely phenomenal session. Kevin Swanson admitted that he didn’t love his son, and the transformation that occurred inside of him to cause his heart to be woven to the heart of his son was incredible. That was the most Spirit-filled session, and if your husband only has time to watch one, that session is worth the price of the entire set.

The Importance of Friendship

Friday, May 20th, 2011

the-importance-of-friendshipI bet your husband would love to go shooting with a buddy, or play lazer tag, or just go do whatever guys do. But, no. Men are married, and they’re not allowed to leave home, or they’re bad husbands. It means that they are neglecting us as wives, and that they love their buddies more than they love us. That’s what we make them feel like.

So my husband has no one to hang out with. The men would feel guilty if they did.

Whenever I go to my “Mom’s Night Out,” my husband says, where’s the “Guy’s Night Out?” There isn’t one. Women deserve breaks, but men don’t. Women need rest, but men don’t. Men never burn out.

My other question is, why is it that men have more trouble making friends than women do? At church (not recently, but usually) someone asks me how I’m doing, and I give them a run-down on my soul, what God is teaching me, and whatever else is on my mind. I have deep spiritual conversations. I hate chit chat and dump it at the first opportunity. And yet when I overhear men talking, it’s all chit chat. No wonder they don’t know each other. No wonder they don’t hang out. It’s because they’re strangers. It’s almost like guys have to have known the other guy during their childhood to even be considered a friend. Bummer, because we don’t live where my husband grew up.

I get phone calls all the time from people who love me. I’m popular. People need me. If the phone rings, my husband says it’s for me without getting up. He’s right. This is just stupid. My husband is a great person: funny, intellectual, and spiritual. But men have their own clicks of people they grew up with. How on earth is he supposed to use his spiritual gift with other people in the body of Christ if no one ever hangs out with him? And he’s not the only one. I bet your husband feels the same way.

I just know how much my own girl friendships mean to me. My best friend has been a pillar in my life. She rebukes me when I’m sinning, she becomes outraged when I’m wronged, and she prays for me when I feel despair. Several times in my life back when I was single, I packed up all my belongings and moved to Texas, just because that’s where she was. That’s how much her friendship means to me. When she calls me to get my opinion, she knows I’ll give it. And if she disagrees with me, I don’t feel threatened in any way. I feel mentally stimulated to think about the situation from a new angle. That’s because I’m listening to her.

How many men have this? This is valuable. I think that in the body of Christ especially, it is vital. And yet we never let our husbands have the time to go escape, to breathe, to be understood as a guy. Because you know how wonderful it feels to be understood as a girl. But guys don’t need that, of course.

I’m just saying that we should encourage our men to go fishing or hiking with whatever men they feel like hanging out with. Just for the sake of friendship. Without making them feel bad. It’s worth it. Your man will come back refreshed, just like you do when you’ve had time with friends.