The Curse of Cynicism and the Hope of the King

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Godly legacy

It has been said that a cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

An arrogant negativity, as it were.

There are also other characteristics that define cynicism, such as a lack of trust, lack of grace, ungrateful, arrogant, bitter, jaded, hopeless, skeptical, pessimistic, etc.  I could go on giving words that describe the cynic, and paint word pictures for you that you potentially would be all too familiar with, as I’m sure you have your own pictures that arise when you think of the Cynic in your life — maybe you see yourself.

I think though — and I could be wrong here — that the route of cynicism is mere brokenness.  The cynical man has been jaded by life’s circumstances.  His positive outlook on life has been chipped away at over the years by failed relationships, unmet expectations, and unforeseen events.  People have hurt him along the way.  Things have happened in his life that have all but crushed him.  He is not even close to the success he hoped to achieve when he was younger.  His mistakes are piled as high as his regrets.  He now views the world through a foggy lens of negativity, and he’s absolutely certain — or hopeless — that it will always be this way.  For this type of man, things will never change.  He is hurting.  He is indeed broken.  He feels cursed.

He needs a King.

In reality, cynicism is idolatry.  It’s a displacement of God for yourself.  It’s a response to the circumstances of life where you are the center of everything.  The cynic has a view of man, events, or the future that denies God’s goodness, sovereignty, grace, and power.  Again, he may not speak this way in his theology, but he lives this way in his heart.

Allow me to explain myself.

The gospel shows me that I am a broken man.  Without Christ, I am nothing.  The cynic, however, is a pretender.  He knows this to be true in his mind, but this truth is not being watered in his heart.  Or maybe, it can no longer be watered.  His heart has been hardened by his experiences.  This man’s experiences has led to his brokenness.  The gospel, however, shows us that we are and have always been broken apart from Christ.

The cynic needs a fresh or new reality to take place in his life.  He needs to be reminded — like we all do — that brokenness is not a state that we “arrive at” because of the circumstances in this world.  We are broken.  He have always been that way.

Our hope must forever and always be grounded in the King.  It is King Jesus who takes our brokenness and fills it with hope — a hope that transcends the circumstances, events, and relationships of this world.  In fact, when Christ becomes the King of our world, our circumstances, events, and relationships are seen with a new perspective.  A fresh perspective.  A redeemed perspective.

After all, it was Jesus who said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).  

This is what the cynic needs.

Rest.  Restoration. Redemption.  Newness.  A King.

When we realize and embrace Christ’s Kingship over our lives, then we come to understand that our lives are not our own.  We have been bought with a great price (1 Cor. 6:20).  When we realize this, our cynic minds become humble, gentle, tender, and hopeful minds.

Cynic, I encourage you to trust in that truth.  Believe in that truth.  Hope in that truth.

After all, to hope in the hope of this world is no hope at all.

This post first appeared at CBMW and is posted here with their permission.

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The Peter Pan Syndrome

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Leadership

Do you remember Geoffrey the giraffe? What about the painfully catchy tune, their retail battle cry and hymn?

I don’t wanna grow up; I’m a Toys-R-Us kid.

If you learn one thing from this post: Never trust a giraffe.

Theology from a giraffe is never a good thing. From my limited experience, most talking animals are bad theologians: Barney, Chuck E. Cheese, Chester Cheetah, Geoffrey the Giraffe, and The Serpent in Eden. This theology from the 80s is, sadly, a still small voice echoing in the lives of professing adults. While the slinky has gone the way of the perm, refusing to grow up is still in stock.

As a pastor, and former college minister, I see the leprous effects of the Peter Pan Syndrome in young men. They are men biologically but boys theologically and practically. They graduate from high school, kite around for a few years, wish they had a girlfriend, wish they had a job, wish they had a wife, wish they didn’t eat dinner with mommy every night—but do nothing about it. You can blowout birthday candles all you want—wish, wish, wish upon a star—but it’s time to act. “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed”(Prov. 26:14). Stop wishing. Start working. Neverland is never somewhere you want to live. The post-Edenic lure of perpetual boyishness, fun, frivolity, and zero responsibility is the ultimate space for “lost” boys —not for men who have been found and are relocated “in Christ.”

In the book, The Demise of Guys, they highlight a survey where 20,000 men were asked what they consider to be the cause behind the motivational failures we see in men today. The overwhelming answer was, “Conflicting messages from media, institutions, parents, and peers about acceptable male behavior.” I understand why the world is confused, but men in the church ought to find robust clarity from God’s word. The Christian man, ultimately, is a disciple of One: Jesus of Nazareth. While media, sitcoms, movies, and peers vomit their views of manhood (or lack there of), it’s the Christian man who is not transformed by the world but is “transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”(Romans 12:2).

God’s call on the growing-up-ness of men is unavoidable. Paul instructs us, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). And King David’s deathbed words to Solomon are gold, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Kings 2:2–3). Manhood is distinct. King David is calling his son to be a man, not a boyish, and not womanly. Seems clear. Or is it?

The potential problem here is the misfire on what a man really is. In short, to “act like men”, means, to act like the Man. We must see that we are being transformed into the very image of the God-Man, of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). The Spirit shows us from David and Paul that true manliness is found in the soil of Bible-rooted faithfulness to God. Ray Romano isn’t our model, nor is George Costanza; the proliferation of profound idiocy is paralyzing men in our nation and our churches. In the what’s-down-is-up nature of the Kingdom, to grow up is to be infant-like in our desire for God, his word, and his glory. Childlike but not childish. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Pet. 2:2–3). The eradication of the Peter Pan Syndrome will only come as swiftly as a man exults in Jesus. Knowing the awesomeness of Jesus is napalm to Neverland. Light it up.

Jesus is the true pattern of masculinity. Manhood is Christ-centered, rugged cross-bearing, and vacant tomb-empowering. There isn’t a whiff of Peter Panism in Christ. What we see from Jesus in the Gospels is radical servanthood, utter sacrifice, a love for God and neighbor that drives to action, and an unflinching commitment to the glory of God and the salvation of sinners. And this, the pattern of Jesus, is where God, by the Spirit, is growing us. Jesus, even as a little boy, was already about his Father’s business. It’s a sad state when a twenty-five year old, born again man, is still wondering about God’s will for his life. It’s all in the Book, friend. God won’t tell you which cereal to eat, but he will tell you to get up and get going—to get about the Kingdom’s business. And the good news of the gospel is that we have been crucified with Christ, we don’t live alone anymore; he’s taken up residence in us. His life is now our life. We’ve got more hope than we realize. We are growing up into the image of our Galilean and Galactic Emperor. We dowant to grow up because we are children of God.

Before you leave this section of the World Wide Web, here’s a couple theological and practical elements to help knock out the Peter Pan Syndrome.

Get a Job Already

Stop waiting for your dream job and learn to make a latte. Don’t let those britches that mama bought you get too big to flip burgers, collect shopping carts, sell shoes, or stack lumber while you are waiting for the job you really want. You don’t have the luxury—or the biblical freedom—to sit around, lick the cheeto dust off of your fingers, and wait for that company to call you back. No, no, no. You must, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15–17). By all means, have fun—God is pro-fun!—take a Sabbath. But when you need a Sabbath from all of your sabbathing during the week—you don’t have a good theology of Sabbath. In my experience, pride keeps young men from jobs. Who cares if it only pays minimum wage for the time being? I’m no mathematician, but some dollars coming in is better than zero dollars.

Part of God’s will for you is to learn the discipline of sacrifice in the daily grind. Working a job that isn’t your dream gig is a wonderful training ground for the rest of your life where, God willing, for you to love a wife and children. And you must lovingly provide for them. Emotionally, spiritually, economically. And this love is a nail-pierced, putting others before yourself, kind of love. What does this have to do with a job you don’t want? Learning to be faithful at Target—when everything is going against the grain of your life plan—is helping you be faithful in the future. Rest assured, many things will not go the way you’ve planned, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand” (Prov. 19:21). God is at work in you—in everything. When little boys get upset, they take their toys and go home, but biblical men keep their hands to the plow; they plod faithfully, trusting the sovereign God. And it might be that bussing tables will teach you more about life than Netflix.

Whether Marriage or Singleness—Get After It.

Peter Panning about life, habitual binge video gaming, and cashing the allowance from your parents after you’ve hung your degree above your elementary school shuttle run ribbon isn’t helping you with the ladies. It’s just not. God created us to tend and till (Genesis 2), not to just chill. Yes, there are seasons of transition, but don’t let it drift into a five year whiner winter. You ought to be preparing for maturity, for a gospel mirroring marriage, or for a radically Christ-exalting singleness.

If you want to be married, living like a lost boy will keep you from being the, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Prov. 18:22) kind of guy. And it may be that you feel called to a life of singleness like Paul shows us 1 Corinthians 7—praise the Lord. It’s an error to automatically link singleness with boyishness—but you know it’s not unheard of.

If you feel God’s call on your life as one of singleness, are you readying yourself for counter-cultural service to Lord Jesus like Paul speaks of? Do you have a weighty concern for the glory of Jesus? “The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:32). Are your thoughts occupied with the fame of Jesus? Are you expending an abnormal amount of mental sweat for the Kingdom of God? This is the gift of singleness. Are you there? Are you serving at your local church? Are you a committed churchman? How will your singleness triangulate with the fame of Jesus? Start prepping now. Speak to your local church leaders, meet with your pastors, share this vision with them. See what the Lord has for you.

If you desire the gift of a wife—and brother, she is a gift!—though you may not be ready to care for, lead, serve, and love a wife right this second, are you trending in that direction? You only need the fruits of the Spirit, a passion for Jesus, a zeal for the local church, a humble disposition of sacrificial service and care, and the guts to approach a woman. What about knowing how to change the oil? While that may be helpful, it’s not essential. Godliness is essential. A gospel-formed pursuit of holiness is the way to get prepared for marriage. The Lord knows what tomorrow has for you.

Act like men. Act like Barnabas. Show yourself to be Pauline. And above all, be Christian. Repent where needed, and live the atomic truth of Romans 8:1. Repentance turns lost boys into godly men. Walk in a manner worthy of the new and abundant life you have in Christ the Lord. “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). And believe it or not, even Geoffrey the Giraffe settled down, got married and had two kids of his own—with God, all things are possible.

This post first appeared at CBMW and is posted here with their permission.

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10 Myths About Lust

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Sexual Sin

10 Myths About Lust

If you embrace these 10 myths about lust, you will find no remedy for your lust. Instead, you will dive into a “black hole” of sin. Embrace the truth; reject these 10 myths about lust:

1. “I lust because I’m human.” No, you lust because you’re a sinner.

2. “I lust because others dress immodestly.” No, you lust because your wicked heart enjoys the immodesty of others.

3. “I lust because I’m not married.” No, you lust because you love sex more than God.

4. “I lust because I desire marriage.” No, you lust because you desire sexual immorality. Desiring sexual immorality is the opposite of desiring marriage. A desire for marriage is a desire for sexual morality within marriage.

5. “I lust because I cannot help it.” No, you lust because you willfully choose sin over holiness. You’ve developed a lustful habit. Repent and turn to Christ habitually. Live out the holiness He requires until new holy habits are formed.

6. “I lust because my spouse is not as interested in sex as I am.” No, you lust because you desire sex more than you desire God.

7. “I lust because my spouse does not appreciate me.” No, you lust because you believe God is too small to meet your needs abundantly.

8. “I lust because I believe God’s image-bearers are beautiful.” No, you lust because you reject God’s creation (Gen. 1:26-27). Those who lust objectify God’s image bearers, reducing His divine image to a mere object of immoral non-consensual one-sided sexual gratification.

9. “I lust because sexuality is pervasive in my godless culture.” No, you lust because you want to be like your godless culture.

10. “If I fulfill my lusts, they will go away.” No, the remedy for lustful desires is for you to deny yourself (starve your lust), pick up your cross, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23).

The only answer for a lustful heart is constant repentance and faith in Christ. We must believe God rather than man, whether “man” is everyone else or ourselves. God is more beautiful and more valuable than fulfilling our lustful desires. If you embrace and meditate on His beauty, all sin will appear ugly and detestable.

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Embracing a War-like Posture

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 in Leadership

Embracing a War-like Posture

Scripture is pretty clear on how men should love their wives—like Jesus loved and served the Church (Eph. 5:24). Christ, in his pursuit of us, gave his life for us. Jesus sets the stage from the beginning concerning what this pursuit should look like, so why do we have so many dudes in our churches that are failing in this endeavor?

There is no other relationship, in any other environment in this world, which so closely reflects Christ and the Church. There is no other replacement for you as a husband. There are no audibles you can call. There are no other options. You are option one. You are the only one that can make her feel loved, cherished, pursued, and valued.  It’s all you. There’s no one else. Period.

Therefore, because we are men, and because we are husbands, and because no one else can pursue our wives for us, we need to begin to act like our marriages are the number one aims of our lives. Therefore, we must begin to embrace a war-like posture in this arena. We can’t go into the game soft, sluggish, and pudgy. Our marriages are under attack. No one can fight for your marriage except you.

In this article, I want to give you a few practical tips about how we can begin to do work on the most prodigious pursuit of our lives.

Are you ready for this?

PURSUE YOUR WIFE SPIRITUALLY

Above all else, pursue Jesus. From your pursuit of him, everything else will follow (Jn. 15:5).  The wrong thing to do here, I think, is to function as a pastor (or mentor) to your wife. Many people err on this, thinking they have to sit down and do exegetical Bible studies with their wives and family every single morning, teaching them and equipping them, as a pastor would his church.

There is an aspect of “love your wife as Christ loved the Church” in this thought, but I think it begins more with you, as the husband, and I think it ends with you, too. Here’s what I mean: Before all else, focus on your relationship with Jesus, not your wife’s relationship with Jesus. Focus on your prayer life. Focus on your heart.

When it is real and genuine, and not out of obligation or duty, then your wife will follow suit. When it feels more manufactured than anything else, then you need to reevaluate and go do some work with God.

So, have a fervent prayer life by yourself, and then go pray with your wife.

Get up early and get in the Word, and then read Scripture with your wife.

PURSUE HER EMOTIONALLY

Often times, men fail here in big ways. My pastor, Trent Stewart, calls this face-to-face time. Other people have called it quality time, as opposed to quantity time. In other words, we do spend time with our wives but only in a quantity form or side-by-side way.

We come home from work after long days at the office, eat dinner, tuck the kids in bed, and then crash out of exhaustion. We either veg-out in front of the television or our iPhone screens. Instead, try veg-ing in front of one another. Close the computer. Turn off the television. Put away your iPhone.

Get in each other’s faces—just brush a little bit first.

Men, I say this with emphasis: We MUST have face-to-face time with our wives. We have to connect with them emotionally. We have to be able to open up to them, have them open up to us, and then try our best to not “fix” them. Face-to-face time is not about us coming to their rescue concerning all of their problems. It’s about real, authentic, one-on-one time about life, family, and anything and everything else you want to discuss.

PURSUE HER PHYSICALLY

I shouldn’t have to encourage you here, right?  Wrong!  So many marriages are failing in this area as husbands and wives resort to being roommates, instead of one another’s sacred beloved (Song of Sol. 6:5). Pursuing our wives means we pursue them face-to-face—both emotionally and physically. What is more, when we pursue our wives emotionally and spiritually, that often sets the stage for intimacy in the bedroom.

Don’t be the guy who comes out of the shower buck naked with a cape trying to pull off the Captain Morgan pose and think that’s going to work.

Believe me, it doesn’t.

Again, it starts with Jesus. It’s all about him. Sex is a gift from God, and when used in the right context, it can be the most joyful experience and gift in your marriage.

It doesn’t come easy, though.

PURSUE HER PRACTICALLY

Finally, you have to pursue your wife practically. First of all, you have to go on dates. If you have multiple kids, then dating is much harder. You have to be proactive in finding a babysitter, etc. It becomes a littler bit more work, then. When you don’t have kids, it’s a little bit easier, but still a good bit of work. It takes a man with a little bit of drive to continue to pursue his wife after their marriage vows—kids or no kids.

Additionally, you have to plan family vacations. Make sure that’s the first thing on the calendar. Plan them early in the year, ask off for them early, and have a vacation every single year. I would encourage married couples with kids to get away at least 2-3 times a year together. I know that might seem like a little bit of work, because it is, but don’t neglect the intentional face-to-face time you need to have for extended amounts of time.

Get away and have fun together—like you once did.

CONCLUSION

There is no “how to” manual here, and this is not a “do this and your marriage will succeed” article. It is, however, something in which I think we can all do better. We can all pursue our wives in greater ways spiritually, emotionally, physically, and practically.

And as a final thought, maybe we can pursue them randomly at times, too.

When was the last time flowers randomly showed up for your wife in the middle of the day?

When was the last time you randomly bought her a gift?

When was the last time you randomly had an adventure together?

When was the last time you randomly had incredible, spontaneous sex?

When was the last time you randomly cleaned the entire house for her?

When was the last time you randomly did something she loves to do?

When was the last time you intentionally, with a war-like posture and mindset, got serious about pursuing your wife?

Remember, only you can roll up your sleeves and go hard every single day for your bride.

Let’s go!

This post first appeared at CBMW and is posted here with their permission.

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I Resolve to Mature Manhood

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Godly legacy

I Resolve to Mature Manhood

Yet another resolution post?  Not at all. This is a plea—an urgent call, of sorts—to my fellow brothers to chase something the rest of this year that is much more substantial than a gym membership, self-help technique, hobby, or hygiene etiquette—I seriously resolve to floss more every-single-year.

Furthermore, this is not a how-to-post or a 7-things-to-do-post to procure a more mature manhood. This is simply a bare-bones, man-up plea to pursue Jesus with a furious, war-like training that is equal to a fighter training to step into the Octagon or a warrior training to sprint into war. The vocation of mature manhood is a training regiment—a way of life.

As I write this, I am not necessarily conjecturing about the seminarian, or young pastor, who might be reading this post, though this post is for you. I am primarily thinking of, and writing to, the men I pastor at my local church—the men I get to do life with daily.

These are, first of all, the men to which I resolve.

The business of mature manhood, however, is a vocation every man can obtain. Whether you are married, single, have no kids, have 10-kids, have a seminary degree, pastor a church, coach a basketball team, or work in a factory, mature manhood is your terminal aim. The Apostle Paul seems to liken mature manhood with the “stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13).

Men, it is to this vocation I resolve.

It is no secret that manhood is being attacked in our culture.  It is increasingly risky to be a man who possesses complementarian values.  Men, today, are taking the heat of feminist word bombs. Manhood is neutered in the media, especially in television and movies.  It is no longer culturally proper to be a man whose manhood calls him to be the spiritual leader of his home, or serve well in his local church, or work hard, or date his daughter, or strive for purity. I am saying here that those are the most befitting things you can do as man. In fact, they are the manliest.

It is to these pursuits I resolve.

Men who tote guns on their hips, have long beards that dribble with stew, or can conquer mountains by only wearing their Chacos, often are the personifications of manhood as it is commonly displayed in the church. These traits, however, are not necessarily the qualities of mature manhood. The reverse is also true.  Men who work as baristas in the inner city, sport skinny jeans, and don earrings are not the antithesis of biblical manhood either. What is more, if the skinny jean wearing barista pursues Jesus with a ferocious posture, and the mountain man does not, who is manlier?  It is always the one who labors towards the “fullness of Christ.”

This is mature manhood, and it is to this I resolve.

When a man stamps his daily routine with the foundation of steady spiritual disciplines, the resolve to mature manhood becomes more realistic. Without regular bible reading and prayer, how can a man pursue the fullness of Christ? How can a man venture toward mature manhood without a love for God’s Word and a vibrant prayer life? The man who is disciplined to protect the state of his soul will also be more disciplined in caring for his physical body. He will also see this as a mark of mature manhood.

It is to this sort of discipline in my sanctification and care for my physical body I resolve.

Furthermore, there is a gentleness that exudes from a man’s character when he chases after the fullness of Christ.  It is fleshed out in how he talks to and pursues his wife, prays with his children, laughs with his friends, and seasons his speech with salt.  The trappings of Christ then become our most momentous marks and the bullets of our speech.

It is to this manner of speech I resolve.

When a man pursues the fullness of Christ, the mission of Christ then becomes more compelling than his hobbies. Instead of becoming hobby-less, his hobby is redeemed to become the call of God on his life. His hobbies then become the pursuit of Christ and his mission—to make disciples.  What is more, his family becomes the jewel of his earthly enjoyments, and his local church becomes the storehouse for his time, talent, and resources.

It is to this rank of hobby I resolve.

The pursuit of mature manhood makes the characteristics of risk-taking, courage, and boldness become more manifest in the life of a believer. Under fire, he holds a stoic composure. He speaks truth winsomely. His decision-making is always for the benefit of others, and he carries himself with a humble courage.

It is to this kind of posture I resolve.

Therefore, men, as the Apostle Paul says, “Imitate me, as I am of Christ.” I, too, say to you who are reading this post—imitate me, as I am of Christ.

But I don’t stop there; I furthermore say, “Let me imitate you, as you imitate Christ.”

Let us resolve to mature manhood together. Let us pursue this Christ—this Warrior King— together. Let us go to war, shoulder to shoulder, armed with Truth, and together pursue the fullness of Christ. Let us repent when we fall short of mature manhood, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for us in Jesus. This is good, and it is to this I resolve.

Men, I truly believe if we pursue the fullness of Christ side by side, spurring one another on, then nothing can stop us. Everything will change—our marriages, homes, hobbies, work, friendships, churches, cities, culture, and love for the nations—because Jesus changes everything.

I resolve. Do you?

This post first appeared at CBMW and is posted here with their permission.

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The Gospel-Centered Husband

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Godly legacy

The opposite of a gospel-centered husband, I think, is a comfortable husband.

The adjectives gospel-centered and comfortable don’t really fit together in a gospel-centered home.[1]  What is more, a comfortable husband might be simply okay with the current status of his home; he might be prone to a posture of passiveness; he might be glued to his lazy-boy instead of engaging his family; he might be void of courage, the continual daring pursuit of his wife, and lack a certain spiritual vitality—he might be many things.

It is no secret that we find a high view of wimpy husbandry alive and well today, in culture and all-too-often in the church, as well.  C.S. Lewis might call them “men without chests.”[2]  I tend to agree.  And, I hate it.  There should always be the highest standard in place for how we pursue our calling as husbands.  The next generation is watching.  If it is true that we pass down manhood—the good and bad— to the next generation, then we need to model it for them.

The gospel changes everything and its implications provide a foundation—a tenacious posture—for the characteristics of what a biblical husband should in fact be.

In light of that, here’s what I think we, as a gospel-centered husband, should strive for.

The Gospel-Centered Husband PURSUES.

In the same way Christ has pursued us, we should continually pursue our bride.

It is common to see this habit put to death after the marriage vows have been spoken; however, the husband who truly understands Christ’s pursuit of him will always strive to pursue his wife.  He will love this about their marriage.  It will be adventurous to him.  Dates will be sweet.  Sex will be sweeter.

There is something to be said about a man who gets out of bed daily with a war-like mindset, ready to clothe himself in his husbandry armor, and go to war on pursuing his wife.  This, men, is our most important calling—to love and pursue our wives well.

SACRIFICIAL.

In the same way Christ has sacrificially served us, we should sacrificially serve our bride.

As men, we are called to serve our homes spiritually as leaders, providers, and protectors.  Leadership can also be shown through the posture of sacrifice, as we take bold stances on working less to be at home more, having fewer hobbies, playing less Fantasy Football, and putting down the video game controller.  Furthermore, stop playing video games.

DOMINION-TAKING.

In the same way Christ took dominion over everything, we are called to take dominion over our marriages and homes.

As men, we are called to get up early, work hard, establish a budget, steward our money, give well, cultivate our homes, and live disciplined lifestyles.  A gospel-centered husband is a man who takes dominion over these areas of his marriage.  He also takes showers, and maybe, just maybe, he has a beard.

COURAGEOUS.

In the same way Christ was the most courageous man ever to live, we are to practice a bold, daring, and courageous posture for the sake of our bride.

As men, we are called to be protectors.  We are also called to be risk-taking warriors.  By default, a gospel-centered husband is a courageous man.  He is courageous in the pursuit of his wife; in his lifestyle at work (everyone knows he loves his wife the most); in his speech; and in his goals for his marriage and family.

As John Piper says, “Every wife knows that something is amiss in a man’s manhood if he suggest that she get out of bed 50% of the time to see what the strange noise is downstairs.”[3]

HOLY.

In the same way Christ killed all sin, we should strive to kill all sin in our lives for the sake of our bride.

We are called to be a one-woman man (1 Tim 3:2).  This means that the gospel-centered husband works at sanctification in his life.  It means that he doesn’t look at pornography, and he doesn’t pursue sin that would kill his marriage.  More to the point, he pursues Jesus, and seeks to clothe himself in his righteousness.  Through his commitment to his local church, daily spiritual disciplines, and a practice of repentance, the gospel-centered husband sees sin in a bitter way.

As Dave Harvey says, “Until sin be bitter, marriage will not be sweet.”[4]

GRACE-CENTERED.

In the same way Christ has extended us grace, we should always be mindful of God’s grace in our marriage and extend that grace both to our wives and to ourselves.

A grace-centered husband is a reflection of what it means to be a follower of King Jesus.  God has shown us grace in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).  This type of husband—characterized by grace—is not an authoritarian or dictator.  He is a servant—a gentle warrior (Eph 4:2; 1 Tim 3:3; Titus 3:2)—who through the power of God, the Holy Spirit, suppresses his nature to continually judge, to correct, to order, to instruct.

He has grace for his wife, and displays the beauty of Jesus when he demonstrates this grace.  What’s more, he practices grace for himself.  Trying to be a good husband, without embracing grace, will be crushing.  The gospel-centered husband understands that God accepts him because of what Jesus did, not because of what he has done.  And then he models this to his wife.

CONCLUSION.

Jesus was the greatest model of these characteristics to have ever walked this earth.  He pursued his people and goal fiercely.  Sacrificially served with his life.  Took dominion over the universe (Col 1:15-20).  Personified courage.  Never sinned.  Extended saving grace.

So, brother, I think it’s safe to say that when you pursue Jesus with a fourth-quarter-games-on-the-line-type-of-crazy, then your marriages will win.

Go forth and be a gospel-centered husband.

This post first appeared at CBMW and is posted here with their permission.


[1]For a good framework for a gospel-centered home, see Ed Mull and Tim Chester’s book, The Gospel-Centered Family (United Kingdom: The Good Book Company, 2011).

[2]C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 20-21

[3]John Piper & Wayne Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), 43.

[4]Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say “I Do,” (Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 2010).

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