What if My Husband Refuses to Be a Spiritual Leader?

What if my husband refused to be a spiritual leader? Sadly, it's a question I hear all to often. Many Christian wive's cry out in frustration and disappointment, longing for their husbands to do what God has called them. It amazes me how many professing Christian men struggle to bring the gospel to bear on their family life. For many men, spiritual things ooze of femininity, weakness, emotion—things men are typically opposed too. Somehow the church has failed to cast a vision for a strong, robust masculinity that sacrifices, denies the self, and serves others. As a result many men, though professed Christians, abandon their spiritual responsibility and pass off spiritual issues to their wives. 6359473191_84de9fbaf0_z

Yet, many wives long to see their husbands take more initiative in leading the family, particularly towards Christ. A man may go to church with his family, but he distances himself and checks out.  You can see it in his eyes; he'd rather be out on the golf course. Where is the godly man whose soul pulses with the strength of Christ and whose heart burns in gospel zeal? Churches, pastors, and ministry leaders must sound the alarm to the spiritual lethargy in so many christian homes, caused in large part by lazy and apathetic men.

[Tweet "Where is the godly man whose soul pulses with the strength of Christ and whose heart burns in gospel zeal?"]

But what about the wife who longs for her husband to take leadership in this way? How can she encourage her husband to take spiritual leadership in a way that respects and affirms his leadership? That is the question I want to help answer today, but first a few disclaimers:

  • I'm assuming you and your husband both confess Christ. If your husband is not a Christian, that's a different situation requiring different counsel. For starters read 1 Corinthians 7 or 1 Peter 3:1-6.
  • I'm assuming you agree with male headship, and that the man should be the spiritual leader in the home. I won't take the time to defend that position in this brief blog post, but I believe the biblical position on gender is the position of complementarianism.

So, with the disclaimers out of the way, how can a Christian wife encourage your husband to take the spiritual leadership? Let me suggest five ways.

1. Pray for your Husband

Love your husband through prayer. Bring him before the Father daily, asking God to strengthen his faith and his walk. Pray that God would protect him from sin, and that his heart would be filled with love for God and his family. Pray for his spiritual maturity and his growth in Christ.

If your husband lacks the motivation or desire to lead you spiritually, God must give that desire to him. Therefore, fall on your face and petition the Lord to bring a work of awakening in your husband's life so that he can grow into the leader you need him to be and that he's called to be.

2. Talk to Your Husband about his Spiritual Leadership

Many people mistakingly think that submission means silence. That certainly is not the case. As a wife, striving to live out God's word in your roll, you can and should share your heart, emotions, and concerns with your husband. As a result, talk to your husband about his leadership, and ask him to take more of a lead.

However, a few words of counsel. Men can be incredibly prideful (I know because I am one!). If you approach your husband in anger, hostility, and bitterness your husband will only became defensive. Speak tough words to your husband with gentleness and kindness. Your aim is not to hurt your husband with passive aggressive guilt, rather your aim is to spur your husband to fulfill God's call.

Find a time when the kids are asleep, the night is calm, and emotions are cool, so you can approach your husband in a gentle and non-threatening way. It won't make your words any easier to hear, but if your husband humbles himself, he will listen to what you have to say. I can't help but hold my own wife Kaitlyn as an example. There are times when I have failed greatly in my own spiritual leadership in my family. Yet, Kaitlyn approaches me with respect, gentleness, and firmness. The words still sting, but my defenses are down and I'm more apt to hear her.

3. Get Involved in the Community of the Church

I hope you and your family already participate in a solid local church, but the community of the saints is essential for your families health, and your husbands spiritual leadership. Do not be spectators, but join in the community. Get to know other couples. Get involved in Bible studies. Learn and grow together as a family. Within the community of the church, your husband can learn from other men what it means to be a godly husband and father.

Now, what if your husband refuses to go to church? Well, that sort of mule-like stubbornness is all to common. Yet, I'm assuming your husband is a Christian, so a Christian who refuses to participate in a local church doesn't make a lot of sense of me. How can you be a member of Christ's body but never gather with his body? Talk with your husband about this, and your desire for him to attend. If he is a member of your church, get your pastors or elders involved in reaching out to him. Yet, if your husband demonstrates a consistent, antagonistic attitude towards the local church, I'd consider his profession of faith suspect. Perhaps your husband is not a Christian. Not that your church attendee saves you, but a refusal to go indicates an unregenerate heart.

4. Ask to be Mentored by a Wiser Couple

So if you and your family get involved in the local church, you will meet other couples who has marriages you respect. Now, no one has a perfect marriage, but many people have the experience and wisdom you lack. The joy of the Christian church means we can learn from one another and grow together. That's called discipleship.

As you meet other, older, wiser believers in your church, ask to be mentored by them. Get together for dinner and come with a list of questions. There your husband can build a relationship with another godly man who can help him learn what it means to love Jesus and love his family. In addition, you not only hear wise counsel, but you both can watch the marriage of the other couple.

Encourage your husband to surround himself with other godly men and let them to the training. Men tend to respond better to rebuke and correction from other men. Help your husband build those relationships with other men who love Jesus, so they can speak truth and confront when necessary. The church exists to equip the saints, training husbands to be spiritual leaders. Press into the body of Christ, so that you both can be equipped together.

5. Find Hope in Your True Husband

Sometimes this idea of "my husband as a spiritual leader" becomes a mythological fair-tale with unreasonable and unrealistic expectations. No matter how strong in his faith, your husband can never be Jesus to you. There is only one husband who never disappoints, and he died on the cross for your sin. We sinful, but redeemed husbands do our best to imitate the husband Jesus who lays down his life for the church, yet only Jesus is the real deal. Yes, love your husband and pray that God would help him become the spiritual leader, but at the same time even in your husband's failures, may your identity be so wrapped up in the love of God that your joy remains fixed on Christ.

A Brief Update on the Deeter Family

2015 was filled with God's blessing on the Deeter family. As I look back over the past year, I'm amazed at God's grace to us. For many of our friends and family, we keep up with one another online. So, I wanted to write a brief update on our family and share some ways you can best pray for the Deeter family for 2016.

Family

In 2015 we welcomed our second Child, Elizabeth (Ellie) Grace Deeter, into our home. Adding a second child proved to be both chaotic and wonderful all at the same time. The second child does go by faster, as she is now ten months old! Her feeble legs are close to walking, and she roams the floors looking for food to eat (She stays hungry!). She DSC_0405-2looks just like her mommy, and has mastered the word "Dada," much to Daddy's pleasure.

Jude will turn three in January. We are already planning his Captain America birthday party. He has morphed from a baby to a little boy this year. He is full of energy and full of love, a little boy with a sweet and tender heart. Jude loves going to church, playing with cars and trains, and annoying his sister. His speech development continues to progress as Kaitlyn and I are dumbfounded with where he picks up all these funny phrases (I guess he gets them from Mommy and Daddy.) Just the other day on Christmas morning he opened up a present and cried out "That's what I'm talking about !" He is full of life and fills our home with laughter and joy.

Kaitlyn faithfully fulfills her God given call of motherhood. We are blessed to have her stay home so she can fully devote herself to her motherly calling. The woman was born to be a mother. She loves and cares for our children well, and teaches them so much about God and his Word. Kaitlyn is the love of my life, and that love only deepens as I watch her sing "Jesus loves me" to my children at bed time. She stays busy with MOPS and with church life. She is preparing to teach a woman's Bible Study starting in 2016 on the book of Acts. Her evenings are normally filled with diligent studying.

We are also enjoying our new home. As of October 2015, we have lived in our home a full year. Our house continues to be a blessing and a tool for ministry. Though we have had a few challenges with repairs and such, homeownership has brought such joy.

Church

I continue to serve as the Senior Pastor at Forest Hills Baptist Church. The church has largely become our Wilson family, and with each day my love for these people deepen. As in any church, there are great joys and great frustrations, but God continues to be good to Forest Hills as we submit ourselves to his word. We are preparing in 2016 to celebrate 100 years of God's faithfulness as a church. At Forest Hills, I have a wonderful team of pastors and staff to help share the load of ministry. My co-laborers have become my very best friends. Everyday I get up and I look forward to serving the Lord and serving the people of Forest Hills.

PhD Studies

As many of you might know, I began my studies for my PhD at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, studying historical theology under the advisement of Dr. Nathan Finn. I just completed my first semester and I loved every minute of it. This semester has stretched me as thinker, writer, and theologian in ways I greatly needed. I've grown a great deal academically this year, and I've met some wonderful people along the way. The work is rigorous and time demanding, but God continues to be faithful to get me through.

Blogging

This year was sort of an off year with blogging. Since Ellie Grace's birth and starting the PhD program at SEBTS, blogging has largely taken a back seat. However, I plan to increase my efforts for 2016. Over December I've redesigned the blog and plan to post more regularly. Each week I plan to write one or two original posts on theology, the Christian life, or the church. Also each week I will continue the series Praying the Psalms. This is an expositional series through the psalter that I'm writing for Forest Hills for our Wednesday night prayer meetings. I also plan to have a recurring series on Friday called Reading for Your Weekend which will be a collection of my favorite links from the previous week.

I see this blog as an extension of my ministry. I pray that the musings and thoughts from this blog would serve you well, deepen your faith, and increase your joy in Christ. If you ever find anything I write helpful, you are welcome to share it with others.

Looking forward to 2016

Overall, I'm blown away by God's faithfulness in 2015 to my family, and I can't wait to see what he has in store for 2016. If you remember us in your prayers here are some ways you can pray for the Deeter family.

  • Pray for the health and growth of Jude and Ellie Grace, that they would grow in wisdom and in stature.
  • Pray for Kaitlyn as she manages our household and cares for two crazy preschoolers. Also pray for her as she teaches this Bible study through Acts.
  • Pray for me as I pastor Forest Hills. Pray for growth (both numerically and spiritually) and for steadfastness as we move into the future.
  • Pray for my studies at SEBTS, for both time management and mental dexterity.
  • Pray for this blog, that God might use it to bring glory to his name!

The Gospel Changes Our Relationships

http://www.foresthillsbaptist.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/The-Gospel-Changes-Our-Relationships.mp3  

Each Monday I’ll be putting up my sermon notes and audio file for the sermon series from Forest Hills Baptist Church “Christ Over All: A Study from Colossians”. This is an edited copy of my sermon notes, not a transcript of the sermon. You can listen to the sermon audio above or directly for at the church’s website

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” (Colossians 3:18–4:1, ESV)

A man in his family ride in to church on Sunday morning. They go off to their respective classes. The man in a SS teacher so he teaches his class then goes to the worship service where he serves as an usher. The man an his family is well respected in the church and they are on many committees and wield great influence. After church the man gets in the car and on the way back begins yelling at his children for not cleaning their rooms before church, mocking them, belittling them, and domineering over them. He gets home and isolates himself in a room ignoring his wife and his children as he gorges the afternoon with television.

That night he approaches his wife hostile and angry over the amount of money she’s spent on groceries that month and the two get into a huge fight over their finances. She gets angry at him for spending to much on hobbies while he gets angry at her for not making as much as she does. The two spend the rest of the evening not talking to one another. At work the next day after yelling at the kids some more because they weren’t ready on time he goes into work. His boss is on vacation this week so he spends the morning goofing off with his employees and just letting calls go to VM. During lunch he gathers around his co-workers as they tell stories about their boss to poke fun and demean him. They spend the remainder of the afternoon gossiping about some other employees then clock out. He goes back home. Gets angry at his wife again as she doesn’t have dinner on the table yet. He refuses to help with the dishes or get the kids into bed for the night. He goes to his room, shuts the door, and checks out. The next day, rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately this fictional story I just told is a far to common reality in our churches. We have men, women, and children, who are quite adapt at playing the Christian part while in the building, but when their faith comes to their private and personal relationships there is often a breakdown. We might be able to fool our pastor our SS class and our friends at church about our faith, but those who know us best - our spouse, our children, and our co-workers - can spot a hypocrite easily.

Paul today addresses that the Gospel impacts our most personal relationships. If the Gospel isn’t changing the way you think as a husband or wife, or a father or mother, or an employee or boss, then you either have some serious immaturity and blindspots in your life or you may not know Christ at all. The Gospel changes our most personal and daily relationships from family to work.

1. The Gospel in Marriage Relationships (3:18–19)

2. The Gospel in Parenting Relationships (3:20–21)

3. The Gospel in Work Relationships (3:22–4:1)

What Super Bowl Marketers Know that the Church Can't Miss

The super bowl this year was one for the record books. People watch the super bowl for a variety of reasons – some for the game, others for the commercials, and some for the half time show. The super bowl has become such a huge event in America it is practically a national holiday. As I was watching the game something stuck out to me about the commercials this year. It seemed like many of the commercials strongly featured Dads.  A few different companies this year decided to market their products by featuring prominently fathers. It was nice to appear to the sentimentality and bring father’s in the focus, but why? No matter how great the commercial is, the aim is not to pull on your heart strings but to sell you a product. These companies don’t spend millions of dollars to just give you warm fuzzies. We live in a marketing world. We are always being sold something, and often marketers know our culture and know what makes us tick better than anyone. And this year, for Super Bowl 49, Dads were the focus of the commercials. Watch some of these commercials in case you missed them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd1qCi5nSKw#t=58

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoqWo3SJ73c

Isn’t this strange? In a day and age where many are arguing to eliminate gender stereotypes and where Father’s living in the home is a relic of the past, these marketers decided they could best sell their products by bringing fathers to our attention. While the marriage between a man and a woman is being redefined in our culture into a genderless union and while the home has been shattered by divorce, these marketers feature loving, gentle, and present fathers.

There is a crisis of fatherhood in America. The traditional family of Dad, Mom, and children seems to be rapidly fading. Many men ignore, run away from, or deny any responsibility they have when it comes to their children. Rather than rising to be worthy of the title husband and father many men are content with the title “baby daddy”. Men refuse to fight for their marriages and for their families and cowardly run from difficulty indulging every selfish pleasure their hearts crave.

But that’s not the picture these advertisers presented to us at the super bowl. These advertisers know us better than we think. They know that there is something hard wired into humanity that longs to be loved by a father. We long to experience the warm protective, self-denying, embrace of dad. The picture of Dad they presented to us is the ideal we crave, but not this is not the reality for many of us.

Children need Fathers. Despite arguments trying to minimize the father in the family, marketers know what many deny – we long for a Father. These super bowl commercials point to the great challenge of Christian men to be father’s who sacrifice, love, protect, and provide for our children.  We need Christian men who can demonstrate in word and deed the love of God the Father to our children. Every human being longs for this. Though our earthly fathers may fail us, we must always point people to the Father who never does. We must point them to the Father who displays his lavish love for us by purchasing our redemption. America has a hole and a desperate longing for fatherly love. The marketers know this. Does the church?

How Moms Change the World

Mothers are a gift from the Lord. Yet, our society tends to treat motherhood as a pretty worthless task. Many seem to think that motherhood should be on the back burner to personal ambition. Children are often seen as burdens who hold back women from true fulfillment and success. This just goes to show us how twisted our culture's definition of success truly is. What is the measure of a woman? Is it the position in her corporation or the amount on the paycheck? Is it the degrees she has attained or influence she possesses? Is motherhood a waste of a good intellect and a sound education? I would say most assuredly not. Motherhood is one of the most glorious callings a woman can attain in this life. There is no task more urgent, demanding, and eternally significant than the calling of a mother. Companies will go bankrupt and money will be spent, but the legacy of investing into the next generation has ramifications that ripple into eternity. Here is how Moms change the world.

1. Mothers Disciple the Next Generation

Motherhood is in essence a lifelong discipleship with children. From infancy to adulthood, moms teach and train the next generation to function in the world. Moms not only do this in a practical sense, but the Christian mom does this in a spiritual sense. She is not only working to send out productive, responsible adults from her nest, she is also seeking to send out faithful, reproducing disciples of Jesus.

A Christian mom spends her life praying for her children, teaching them the Bible, singing spiritual truths, and counseling in scriptural wisdom. Motherhood is a 24/7 discipleship journey. Motherhood is one of the most fruitful ways for a woman to fulfill the Great Commission given to us by Jesus.

2. Mothers Demonstrate the Love of Christ

Mothers tangibly show their children the love of Christ. Before a child can even speak, a faithful mom has already shown the love of Christ. True love is a sacrificial love that has others best interest at heart. Jesus did this for us by going to the cross on our behalf, sacrificing his life so we could be forgiven of our sins. So to do Moms sacrifice and give to their children through blood, sweat, and tears.

If you desire to see true love lived out, watch a godly mom with her children. She is tender in kindness, compassionate in disappointments, fierce in rebuke, gentle in hurt. She sacrifices and gives until she has nothing left. She is hard working, never seeking any praise or pay check for her efforts. With a smile on her face she does the menial tasks no one in the family wants to do. She gladly count herself as loss for the good of he family. She gives and gives to the expense of herself.

As children watch the life of their mom, they are able to better comprehend the love of Christ as they see that loved lived out through their moms.

3. Mothers Create a Legacy

Yes, mothers do change the world in a way even the most powerful executive never could. The legacy of raising and discipling children makes an eternal impact, not only on the souls of your children but for generations to come. As mothers pass the baton of the Gospel from one generation to the next, the mission of God spreads as more and more disciples are made. The world is changed through Jesus Christ as disciples are made and His glory spreads. Motherhood is often the front lines of the Great Commission.

So even though society might seem to devalue motherhood as an insignificant or menial task, do not believe those lies. Motherhood is a glorious task and calling from God to change the world through the discipleship of your children. There is no task more urgent, important, or significant that your work as a mom.

Thank You Moms for Changing the World

To all you moms who sacrifice and give to your children and who seek to raise them in the Lord, I thank you. On this mother's day I want to especially thank my own mother, Ginny Deeter, who so faithfully lived out these three truths. I also want to thank my wife Kaitlyn for her dedication and commitment to the glory of God in the discipleship of our son Jude and any other future Deeter children.

Moms, may the Lord find you faithful in this weighty task he has given you, and may He receive all glory, honor, and praise through your life.  As you faithfully serve as a mother you are in fact changing the world for the glory of God.