Monday, January 5, 2015

When Married Male Leadership is Absent

During the past 14 years of my Christian walk, I have observed the occasional woman who has desired to grow spiritually alongside her husband, only to be refused. Perhaps it was a group Bible study she wanted herself and her husband to join, or a Bible study they could do together privately as a couple at home. But because the husband did not respond positively to her request, and did not take the lead, the woman also ended her pursuit to study the Bible. In some cases, she never even began reading the Bible, or stopped reading it altogether.

This is a sad, frustrating state of affairs. While some of these same women want to erase gender and be equal to men, they are at the same time clearly showing the desire for male leadership when they wait for their husbands to take the lead in their (the woman’s) own spiritual maturity.

My answer to this is that these women stop waiting for their husbands and go ahead in their Bible study (and application of what they learn) anyway. The hope is that the husband will be drawn into the study at some point, or will see the wife maturing without him and decide to get on board (1 Peter 3:1; 1 Corinthians 7:16). But even if he never does, the woman must not give up. Her accountability is to God, not her husband.

This is the Biblical way. The Bible never says that a woman, or any person, must wait for someone else to take the lead when it comes to Biblical maturation (also known as sanctification). Our walk with Christ after salvation is our own personal responsibility (accomplished, of course, by the power of God’s Spirit and from the reading of His Word and Christ's finished work on the Cross). 

The Bible backs this up:

“Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor.” Proverbs 4:5-9

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:46-49

“To his own master he stands or falls.” Romans 14:4a

“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Romans 14:7-8

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” Galatians 5:7  (I re-phrase this by asking, “Who did we allow to cut in on us....?”)

“Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” Galatians 6:4-5

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13
For an excellent, brief exposition of this verse, go to

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:12-18

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:3-8

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10-11

A woman must never underestimate the power of prayer for her husband, along with the complete, trusting and final letting go of her husband into God’s hands accompanied by the humble, God-righteous (never self-righteous or spiritually proud) setting of her own Biblical example.

copyright Barb Harwood

“Rise up; this matter is in your take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4, in part

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