6 Ways to Spiritually Lead Your Wife

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As Christians, we have the Biblical conviction that the husband is to be the leader of the home.  We believe that this is God's intention and healthy design for the family.  However, although many Christians strive to have a Biblical understanding of family, many men fail to be the spiritual leaders of their home.  When I first got married, one of the things I struggled with most, is leading my wife spiritually.  To be honest, many churches fail to train the men in their church to be godly husbands and dads.  As I've talked with other brothers, I've seen that many have had the same struggle that I've had.  How do we practically lead our wives spiritually?  It is a crucial question.  Although I am far from perfect in this area (as my wife told me last night!), by God's grace I have grown in this area over the past 2 1/2 years of my marriage.  Here are some real practical tips for how you can lead your wife spiritually. 

1. You Can't Give What You Don't Have

This should go without saying, but I'm startled by how many men fail to understand this principle.  How can you expect to lead your wife to the throne of grace if you are not daily going there yourself? If you hope to lead your wife spiritually, you must violently pursue Jesus Christ.  You cannot expect to encourage and disciple your wife if you are not growing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This means that you must prioritize studying the Scriptures every day. Make prayer a habit that takes place throughout the day.  Find some good books to read that encourages you to grow and become the christian, husband, and dad that you need to be.  You can't give what you don't have, and you can't expect to lead your wife spiritually if you are not vigorously pursuing Christ yourself.  

2. Initiate Prayer with your Wife Daily

Husband, you need to make it a daily habit to pray together with your wife.  This is so easy to do, but for some reason so difficult for us to initiate.  Praying before meals doesn't count here.  Husband, you need to grab your wife by the hand, ask her how you can pray for her, then….. You do it!  Pray for her right then and there.  In my own marriage, Kaitlyn and I have found that this happens best at night.  We have been working on making prayer together a nightly ritual as a couple.  We finish our day by talking about what is going on in our lives, then I lead us in prayer.  This is so practical and easy to do, but so many of us struggle to just pray with our wife.  If your wife is craving for you to spiritually lead the home (as she should!) start today by just taking your wife's hands and praying with her.  

3. Read the Scriptures or a Devotion Together

Start reading a book of the Bible together.  Read a chapter a night, and talk about what the Lord is teaching your through it.  Discuss it and open up about what the Lord is teaching you.  Maybe find a good devotional book together.  For a while Kaitlyn and I were reading Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening together.  Again, this is obviously simple, but sometimes we are so stubborn to see it!  It might be awkward the first week or so, but make it a habit to read the word together and the Lord will use it to draw you closer to Himself and closer to each other. 

4. Counsel your Wife with the Gospel

Every husband should learn how to counsel his wife.  Indeed, every christians is to learn how to counsel other christians with the Word of God.  A husband should learn to do this for his wife.  A big part counseling her in the Word is actually listening, which is tough for us men.  In a day with smart phones, TV, and iPads we are so quickly distracted.  In order to counsel your wife, you need to listen to your wife. This means giving her your undivided attention and listening.  It also means learning to apply the Gospel to your wife's struggle.  Questions to ask are, What does God's Word say about this situation?  How does God's grace change the way I think about this problem? How can God use this situation for his glory and our good? Questions like this can shepherd your wife's heart.  Listen, be attentive, and apply the Gospel in your conversations.  

5. Be Involved in Biblical Community Together

Notice that this does not say "let your wife drag you to church and hurry home to catch the football game".  As a pastor I see so many men who get dragged to church by their wives and show no interest in being there.  There is no love for the things of God and there is no love for his bride, the church.  As a husband and the spiritually leader of the home, you should be the one that initiates belonging to the body of Christ.  This means that you make it a priority to go to church on Sunday morning, but Biblical community is much more than showing up for a service on Sunday.  This means that you make the initiative of getting involved in a Sunday School class or Small Group.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines, take the initiative and get your family involved in Biblical community.  

As a pastor, I've noticed a really bizarre and disturbing trend in some churches.  So often I see husbands and wives going to two different Sunday School classes.  I'm going to be honest, this doesn't make any sense to me.  Sure, sometimes we need accountability with the same sex, and that's a good thing.  But a husband and wife should be in community with the body of Christ together, learning and building relationships together.  

6.  Serve the Lord Together 

One of the great ways God has grown Kaitlyn and I together spiritually is through serving the church.  Kaitlyn and I have always done ministry together as man and wife. Whether she is helping me out on a youth event or I am helping out at the pregnancy center, we serve the Lord together.  We are a team. I think many couples would benefit from serving the Lord together.  Volunteer together at a ministry at the church.  Go invite your lost neighbors over for dinner and share the Gospel with them together.  Serve the Lord together as a couple.  Husband, take the initiative here and take your wife by the hand and joyfully serve the Lord together.

Husbands, I hope you are picking up on a common theme throughout this blog.  The key word here is INITIATE.  We need godly men who take the lead in the spiritual life of the home.  Husband, you have been given the biblical responsibility of pastoring your family.  You are to lead your wife like Christ led the church.  You are to lay down your life for her, just like Jesus did for you on the cross.  The Bible makes this clear:  

   “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,” (Ephesians 5:25–29, ESV)  

Husband, you are called by God to lay down your life for your bride.  You must give yourself up for her sanctification.  To be the spiritual leader of the home, means you are to be the disciple maker in the home.  You are to disciple your wife and your children in the word of God.  As you sacrificially give up your wants, God will use your leadership for your wives spiritual maturity.

So how are you doing in leading your wife spiritually?  We are faulty men who will struggle and fail often, but there is grace at the cross of Christ.  Today ask your wife this question, and be prepared for an honest answer; How am I leading you spiritually? Have you grown in spiritual maturity since I became your husband? More than ever we need husbands who will rise to the challenge to be the pastors of their homes and shepherd the soul of their wife and children for the glory of God!

How have you lead your wife spiritually? What tips would you add or have worked well in your marriage?  Why is leading our wives spiritually such a struggle? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

We Belong to One Another

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The following are selected excerpts from my sermon yesterday I preached at Forest Hills Baptist Church titled "We Belong to One Another" from Ephesians 2:11-22.

Our Relationship was broken with God and His People (v. 11-12)

Ephesians 2:11-22 describes the unity of the church through the cross of Christ.  The text can be broken down into three primary sections. Paul commands the church to  remember that they were once alienated.  There was once a rod of tension between Jews and Gentiles, the circumcision and the uncircumcision.  Once Gentiles were outcasted and separate from the People of God and had no hope.  A practical appellation to this section is that we all start off this way.  Each and every one of us were alienated from God.  However we were not only alienated from God, but we are alienated from the community of faith.  We were strangers to the people of God.  However through the miracle of the cross that will change.

We are Brought Together through Jesus (v.13-18)

Ephesians 2:13-18 describes how the walls of hostilities between the Jews and Gentiles were destroyed.  In Christ, those who were far from God have now been brought near.  How? Through the blood of Christ.  It is through the death of Jesus that those who are alienated from God and the people of God come nearer.  Through the cross, Jesus has made peace and has taken the two hostile parties, Jew and Gentile, and has brought them together and made them one.  He does this by removing the wall of hostility, which is the law and commandments.  Jesus fulfilled the commandments of the Law, so therefore the one who has faith in Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, can now be brought into reconciliation with God and with one another.  Peace has been made through the death of Christ. God has created a brand new humanity.  He has created a new people, the church.  He has created "one new man in place of the two".  Therefore it does not matter what our racial background is.  It does not matter about our religious background.  It does not matter about our social-economic background.  It doesn't matter who we were, through Christ we have been made together as a new people, unified through the blood of Jesus.  In Christ, we are one.  Peace has been made. Therefore in church we have been from all sorts of background.  A church surely ought to be a melting pot of people.  People of different ethnicities, different education levels, different age groups, different tax brackets. Why does this happen?  Because we are a new people, created through Jesus. Despite all our differences we now have something far more in common than our skin color or check books.  We have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  

We are Built Together by the Holy Spirit (v.19-22)

Ephesians 2:19-22. Therefore since we who are alienated have been brought together as a new people, we now belong to one another. We are fellow citizens of the people of God. We are members of the same household. However in this unity what is our foundation as a community? Paul tells us in this passage, our foundation is the teachings of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus himself as the cornerstone. Jesus is our foundation, he has the one who has brought us together in unity. However the framework for this structure is the teaching of the apostles and the prophets. Our church must be built and structured around the Word of God. The whole structure is being joined together. You and I are coming together, and through the power of the Holy Spirit you and I are being created as a holy temple unto the Lord. An outpost for the World to see God. Therefore the world should be able to look at us as Forest Hills Baptist Church and see God in our midst. When our community talks about us it shouldn't be negative. They should think those people love God's word and the love each other. I see the presence of God in their midst.

We must Take Serious our Commitment to One Another

When you join our church, you are not just putting your name on the church rolls. You are committing yourself to this people. You are declaring that I belong to these people and I am committed to them. Why? Because we have been brought together by the blood of Jesus Christ. This is why in our non committal culture, where if your marriage is getting difficult we give up and quit and get a divorce. Where when things start getting tough we decide to quit and find something else. That same lack of commitment and dedication has been carried over into how you think about church. Listen carefully, many of you think way to lightly about church membership. The reason so many of us take church membership so lightly is because we fail to realize that our unity with one another has been purchased through the blood of Christ. When you leave and go to another church just because you are frustrated and irritated you walk out on your family. You abandon the people God has called you too. You leave behind your brothers and sisters to fend for themselves. You leave the comrades in arms that you are fighting along side in the trenches. However most of us do not think this way about belonging to a church. As a result we have a generation of church hoppers who jump ship when community together gets difficult. It is a disgrace and it is mocks the supernatural work God has done in bringing us together as his people.

As a result, rather than visiting from church to church never getting committed, I would much rather you find one church, invest yourself in that community and belong there and be committed, even if that is not Forest Hills Baptist Church. I hope you want to be belong to our church. I pray that you want to be apart of what God is doing in us and through us. I pray that you will commit with us to make much of Jesus in this community. But if your not going to do it here, than at least go and do it at another congregation. Don't sit on the side lines, get involved and get invested.

Younger Generation, this is where the older generation has much to teach us. They know the meaning of commitment. We have several couples in this church who have been married 60 plus years. We have several seniors in our church who have literally spent their entire lives as members of this church. Why? Because they understand that this is my people. Christ has purchased my deliverance through the cross and has brought us together. Therefore I'm not going to give up when hard times come on our congregation. Therefore I'm not going to find another church just because it is a tough season, I'm committed! Why? Because I belong to these people and they belong to me.

We Must Act in such a Way in which We are Building up One Another

As a member of this church, you are given the responsibility and privilege of building up your brothers and sisters.  Therefore speak and act and serve in such away in which you are adding to the spiritual maturity of the people around you.  We must use our gifting and abilities to feed one another the Word of God.  We must encourage one another, grab each others hands and pray for one another.  This is not just the job of pastors.  This is not just the job of deacons, but every person who is a member of our church.  The Scripture commands you to build up your brother and sister, why? Because we belong to one another.

Paul tells us all throughout the book of Ephesians to build up one another.  It is a common theme that runs throughout the book:

  • Ephesians 2:22 - You also are being built together
  • Ephesians 4:12 - “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God”
  • Ephesians 4:16 - “When each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”.  
  • Ephesians 4:29 - “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up.

Therefore, when we tear each other down, we hinder God's work as a church.

We Must Not Grieve the Spirit's Work in Our Congregation

In Ephesians 4:30 Paul gives the church the warning not to "grieve the Holy Spirit"  What does Paul mean by this?

Ephesians 4:30 is in the context of church comminity. This passage is written about how church members should interact with one another. We are not to slander one another. We must not tear each other down. Why? Because we do not want to grieve this spirit of God. What does Paul mean when he warns us not to grieve the Spirit? Well in the context of the whole book of Ephesians it is quite simple. We grieve the Spirit when we tear down the body of Christ rather than building up the body of Christ. This comminity the Spirit is building is hindered when you harbor bitterness to the person in the next pew. The Spirits work is hindered when we do not forgive one another. Some of us strongly dislike each other. We avoid each other. When we do that we are grieving the Holy Spirit.

God is doing a miraculous work in our church as he builds us up as his people.  Remember that you were once broken from fellowship with God and his people.  You were brought near by Jesus Christ, and we are now being built together as a holy temple for the glory of the Lord. Therefore lets continue to hold fast our commitment to one another, build each other up, and watch the Spirit work in the life of our congregation.  May God do this for the sake of His magnificent glory and for our good!

 

Are you a Lone Ranger Christian?

As Christians we need real community.  So often we think of ourselves as the lone ranger of the Christian faith, out riding on the horizon and staying completely self sufficient.  In fact, we live in a world that prides itself on self-sufficiency.  Unfortunately, many Christians have brought this dangerous attitude into the church.  We show up on Sunday morning and maybe are even involved in the ministries of the church. All the while, we are living isolated and self sufficient from the body of Christ.  Do you not think this is you? Here is are a few signs to see if you live as a self-sufficient Christian:

1. You see, talk to, and hang out with other church members only when you are at church.
2. You refuse to get involved in discipleship such as a Sunday School class or a small group.
3. In those classes you remain closed off and private with what's happening in your life.
4. If a church member loves you enough to call you out in your sin, you angrily get rid of that friend and move on from that church.

Here is the dangerous thing I see, particularly in my context, the bible belt.  We have so many who think of church as an activity rather than a community. The body of Christ is a living, breathing community made up of those who have been saved by Jesus Christ.  So many live their lives as self sufficient Christians ignoring their need for biblical community.  As Christians, we desperately need to surround ourselves with other believers who can encourage us, disciple us, and yes, even call us out in our sin.  We need to develop deep friendships and relationships like this in our church.  Instead, we show up at 11 AM, say hello to the people in the pew behind us, and sneak out before we actually have an opportunity to engage in community.

We forget that church is a gift, given to us by Jesus for our own maturity.  This is why Paul tells us that each Christian has been given gifts and abilities to be used in the church for the building up of the church.  Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11-16:

     And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)

Does your church look like this?  The church is to be the unified community of God's people living life together to encourage and spur each other on towards Christian maturity.  God sanctifies his saints not in isolation but in community with other saints.  We need each other as we seek to live for Jesus.  We need friends to teach us the Word.

We need friends who can pray for us in our struggles.
We need friends who can hold us accountable.
We need friends who can speak the truth to us when we need to hear it.
We need friends that can call us out in our sin and beg for our repentance.

As Christians we absolutely need this kind of community.  There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian.  You need the body of Christ.  Therefore, find a church and invest yourself there.  Don't just show up on Sunday mornings or just go throughout the motions, but really give yourself to the community of the church.  Be vulnerable.  Be honest about your shortcomings.  Open yourself to friendships and community.  Then watch how God matures you and grows you as you are connected to authentic Godly community.