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Christian Men and Spiritual Leadership

A lost concept in many Christian churches is that fathers are to be the spiritual head of their homes. This is one of the consequences of the greater loss of traditional gender roles. Our society works overtime to marginalize the idea of clear gender roles beginning with our children. With every successive generation, the erosion of the nuclear family and its clear gender distinctions has increased as humanism’s assault upon Christianity has strengthened. They mock and ridicule manhood and have sought to merge and blend gender distinctions. Christian churches today have become infected with this thinking in varying degrees. This societal approach is in direct contradiction to Biblical teaching.

Our culture views Biblical gender roles for men and women as old fashioned, antiquated, oppressive or somehow unfit for a modern society. They mock us and claim we are destroying women and oppressing children. They claim that Biblical gender roles keep people locked out of their full potential. We reject this propaganda. Despite what our culture says, thousands of families – both men and women – testify that when Biblical gender roles are the rule, families flourish and the home trends toward peace and joy. Men who embrace their role as a spiritual leader and gladly obey God’s will enjoy fulfillment not found in the world’s ways.

The failure of our modern evangelical churches to teach men the duties of the Biblical husband and father has contributed greatly to the decline of Christendom throughout the last two centuries. The vast majority of those who claim to be Christian men have abdicated their responsibility to lead their families, and that is sin. But if the Bible is true and God’s Word is our standard, then we must reform our thinking about the roles of men.

Even the most failed husband and father can do this. Even the most broken and seemingly hopeless home can be repaired. Even the most desolate families where trust is scarce and love seems lost can be restored. It is indeed true what the Word of God says, nothing is impossible with Christ. No matter the scale of the task, men, you must take the step of faith toward a Biblical manhood. But how?

[quote float=”right”]Becoming a godly man is not a methodology or task acquired through a devotional or Bible study. Men cannot treat spiritual headship as a task to accomplish or a problem to solve; rather, it is the total reformation of the individual from the inside out.[/quote]Becoming a godly man begins in the heart. As counter-intuitive as it seems, the beginning of masculine leadership is humble obedience to the sovereign, almighty God. The first step a man must take to initiate Christ-like leadership in the home is to learn humility, dependence and brokenness over sin (Ps 51:17Mt 6:33). These are the qualities that our leader, Jesus Christ, treasures in us far more than pride, confidence, independence and ability. The world values those things, but Christ desires a heart not captivated by the world’s valued.

Becoming a godly man is not a methodology or task acquired through a devotional or Bible study. Men cannot treat spiritual headship as a task to accomplish or a problem to solve; rather, it is the total reformation of the individual from the inside out.  When we gain a right understanding of our status as being “nothing apart from Him”, then we can begin to do what He requires as a matter of character and thanksgiving rather than mere duty to a list of dos and don’ts. Men must grasp this or they will be unbearable tyrants. True servanthood is at odds with imposing one’s will on others. Instead men are to take up the model Christ, treating their wives with honor and selfless love as the Savior treated His Bride, the church. In His position as head of the church, Jesus fulfilled the servant-offices of prophet, priest and king for His people. We believe that men who pursue Christ’s example of leadership will discover a refreshing, meaningful, and fulfilling life.

Practical Steps

Here are some things to get you started. These are things the godly man practices as a matter of course, every day. They are your foundation:

The Word. Open your Bible and read it daily. This is the manual. It is the revealed will of your leader, your Father, and there is no other source of life-changing truth. You absolutely cannot be a Christian man without regularly reading the Bible.

When you read, seek to learn who you are – you are a mere man, a sinner. You are nothing apart from Christ. Seek to learn who Christ is. Learn the real Jesus, not the feminized Jesus of modern religion. Study Him, believe all that you read, and do so daily.

Many men struggle to understand the Bible. If you do, then get help from your allies in the faith, this is an act of leadership that will speak volumes to your family. It does you no good to remain ignorant, to languish because you simply need some wise counsel. Leaders depend on fellow leaders. Man up and get help. (Proverbs 1:7Proverbs 8:10)

Pray. Pray daily. Stay up late when everyone is sleeping and humble yourself before God, cry out to him and ask Him to teach you to be the man He desires you to be. Cry out for wisdom. Plead for humility. Declare to God your dependence upon God. Pray for your family. In prayer, confess your sins… (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Confess. Confess your sins in prayer and in person. Seek the forgiveness of those you have wronged. This takes great humility and a strong man of God.  Make confession a regular part of life. Ask God to show you your sins that you can’t even see. (1 John 1:9)

Join a winning team. Get in a Biblical church where the full Gospel is preached. You don’t need a church that parrots the world. Real men don’t need 15 minute pep talks that scarcely touch on a bible verse. They need sound doctrine, preaching, and truth to equip them for the real, family changing tasks that lie around ever corner. (Titus 2:1)

Get some allies. Get in a Biblical church where men will come alongside you and help you. You need mentors, you need spiritual fathers. This itself is an act of humility. (Proverbs 27:6)

Transparency. Confess your sin to your family and explain to them your heart’s desire to repent of your old ways and to follow God’s Word. Tell them you have not been the leader God desires you to be. Be honest. Weep if you need to. This is leadership. Then ask your family to pray for you. Start a time of family prayer each day, move into family worship and devotions. Begin praying with and for your wife and children. (Deuteronomy 6:7Ephesians 5:25-16)

Persevere. Press on. Don’t quit. Many men start off with good intentions. Many men fall away because it is a hard road. Half-hearted pursuit of Christ will fail. All Christian men fail from time to time, but we cannot give up. When you begin to lose resolve and think of giving up, go back to the top of this list and start over, because you have likely abandoned the first two items. Start over. Its always a good time to begin again, its never a good time to quit. Press on and persevere. (Philippians 3:12-16)

These practical steps are not a formula. They are a lifestyle. The Bible has much to say about all of these leadership traits and they must become part of your life. It is likely that you will need to give up some worldly affections in order to pursue godly ones. But if you are serious about obeying the conviction that enabled you to read this far, then you will be on your way to reforming your household and restoring the influence of Biblical Christianity in your family.

For an exceptional and challenging resource on spiritual leadership for men, we suggest “Family Man, Family Leader” by Phillip Lancaster.

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