First Tithing

“So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.” – 2 Corinthians 9:5

I love the story of a six-year-old boy who after listening to a what seemed an interminable sermon at church asked his father what the pastor did the rest of the week. “Bobby, the pastor is a very busy man,” the father replied. “He takes care of church business, studies and prays, works on his sermon, counsels people…and then he has to have time to rest up because preaching the word is not easy.” The boy thought for a moment and then said, “Well, listening ain’t easy, either!”

It is not easy to listen to a sermon about giving. It can seem like a self-serving topic that often prompts the pastor to launch into a roundabout apology for speaking on money. But it is impossible to ignore the subject when you look through the lens of Jesus, his teaching, and that of His followers. It becomes clear that giving and generosity are important subjects.

In the first Multiply series message I talked about a gift of first fruits. I also made mention of “tithes” and “a tenth” in the message. My conclusion is that all those are basically talking about the same thing.  Acts 20:35 tells is, “…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Since I want everyone that attends Northstar to be blessed, it makes sense that we talk about it. But there’s another reason. We all want to honor God with our life. We want to do what pleases God. That includes honoring God with our actions, with how we spend our time, how we go about doing our job, how we interact with our neighbors, how we treat our spouse, how we raise our kids, and so on.

But perhaps you’ve spent less time, or have less clarity, on how to honor God with our first fruits and our money. The focus of the Multiply series is that generosity truly begins with the realization that God is a God who blesses and so He blesses those who bless others. The starting point in our journey toward generosity is to recognize the most fundamental giving principle in the Bible: 10 percent tithing. 

Leviticus 27:30 tells us: “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD.” So here is the bottom line: 10 percent of the income belongs to God. Tithing is not giving to God because it is His already. Tithing is merely redirecting God’s money, through my employer’s bank account, through my bank account, and into the church’s account so that God can use the church to continue his chain of blessings.

As God said to Abraham, He would also say to us as individuals and to us as a church: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2)   

“I will bless you, and you will be a blessing.”

I’m sure God is blessing you. How much of that blessing are you giving back? 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What fears do you have about tithing? In your experience what are the benefits of tithing?
  2. Ecclesiastes 5:10: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.”  Do you believe this is true? How do you go about determining how much money is enough?
  3. Read Philippians 4: 19: Is it easy or difficult for you to believe God will supply your needs? Have you ever felt that God has failed to provide for your needs?
  4. Are you willing to put God to the test by taking the Tithe Challenge? 

The First Fruits

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” – Proverbs 3:9-10

I believe the principle of first fruits can literally transform your life because it has transformed mine. But not only has this promise been a blessing to me, I’ve seen it work in the lives of many others. That is why I am so excited about our “Multiply” series. 

But what are first fruits? It’s a farming term and is at home in the agrarian culture of ancient Israel. It refers to the first portion of an Israelite’s produce, which for a farmer would be like the times a year you get paid or get a paycheck. In ancient Israel, this would mean bringing the first fruits of your olive oil or sheared wool or honey or grain or wine—whatever it is that you produce. 

First fruits is not referring to an amount that is required as it is the nature of the gift. First fruits is to give, as we would say today, right off the top. It is not about giving 10 percent; it is about which 10 percent. We have 10 options if we use the 10 percent example of which 10 percent to give. Which one of these should I give? You give the first and best. That’s first fruits. The first and best of whatever wealth the Lord has given you. This is a biblical pattern for giving.

In our culture giving the first fruits would be a shock. Most people give only what they feel like they can spare, what’s available because it’s leftover. Money comes in, they take care of their bills and other needs or wants, and give to God what’s leftover. But it’s hard to honor God with leftovers, isn’t it? If we give God the scraps of what we have left, do you think God feels honored as the Giver of every good and perfect gift in our lives? Imagine going to a five-star restaurant and ordering a sumptuous meal. After consuming most of the meal you notice there is a tiny piece of lobster and a stick of asparagus left. You ask to have them put it in a doggy bag so you could take them home.

In essence, that is what we give to God when we fail to give first fruits. We serve him our financial leftovers, not the first and best bites of the meal. We don’t insist that he be the first to have what we are about to eat; rather, we hand him a doggy bag with some bits and pieces of leftover inside.

Yes, that sounds harsh. But when we offer God our “first fruits”—an offering given to Him before we know we will have enough for ourselves, He will respond by truly blessing us with all we need.  In Malachi 3:10, God challenges us to test Him in His promise to bless us for putting Him first:  “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

Putting God first in your life by putting Him first brings His favor, His blessing, and a satisfied life. I hope you will learn more about the powerful principle of first fruits and apply it in your life. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does the principle of first fruits mean to you, and do you agree or disagree that it is important? Explain.
  2. What are some things in our lives that might conflict with the principle of first fruits? 
  3. How can we move toward a first fruits mentality?
  4. Pray and ask God for the courage and faith to give Him your first fruits.

First Born

“Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” ? Exodus 13:2.

Exodus 13:12-14 says: “…All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the Lord’s. Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?”

I’m sure there are people who read this passage of scripture and have the same question: what does this mean? Let me explain in a little more detail. If you had an animal and your animal was considered a clean animal, then you sacrificed the first born. If your animal was considered an unclean animal, then you had to sacrifice a clean animal to redeem the unclean animal. You probably are thinking that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is wondering what God is doing.  As I said on Sunday, this all points to Jesus.

Think about what the verse says. If it’s unclean, it has to be redeemed with the sacrifice of the clean. Now, let me say that again. If it’s unclean, it has to be redeemed with the sacrifice of the clean.  And if it’s clean, it has to be sacrificed. I asked the question on Sunday whether all those in attendance at all of our campuses were clean or unclean. The answer: unclean. We were all born into sin.

But, was Jesus born clean or unclean? The obvious answer is clean. The clean Jesus had to be sacrificed so the unclean, or all of us, could be redeemed. In the Multiply series we are going to be talking about finances because the Bible teaches about finances. So think about this. Jesus was sacrificed so we could be redeemed. So let me say it another way because this is referring to giving the first to God. Jesus is God’s tithing.

God gave Jesus in hope, or in faith, that we would give our lives to Him, that we would give our lives to God. In other words, God didn’t wait to see if we would get our act together and then give Jesus. The Bible says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)  So God gives Jesus before anyone really believes in Jesus. He gives Jesus as that sacrifice. So, the first born must be sacrificed or redeemed.

God said, “When your sheep has a lamb, give me the first one.” It takes faith to give the first one before you have any more. You don’t know if the sheep is going to produce any more. That takes faith. God didn’t say, “Wait until your sheep has ten, and then give me one of them. And You can give me the one that keeps getting into your garden that you don’t like.” No, He said, “You give me the first one before you have any others.”

When you begin your week with God, the rest is blessed. When you begin your day with God, the rest is blessed.  And when you give the first portion of your finances to God, the rest is blessed.  That’s this principal. The first born must be sacrificed or redeemed.

Discussion Questions:

  1. God is a God of order; if Christ is first in your life, everything else will come into order. Agree or disagree?
  2. What does the principle of first mean to you, and do you agree or disagree that it is important? 
  3. What are some things in our lives that might conflict with the principle of first? Explain.
  4. What types of fears or concerns, if any, do you wrestle with most when thinking about the principle of first? 
  5. Read Proverbs 3:9. How can we give our time and talents to God using the principle of first? How do you view the difference between commitment and trust? Which of the two values do you identify with the most?

First Things First

“In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” – Proverbs 3:6 (TLB).

I think most people accept the fact that are all kinds of things that contend for our attention and time; they include our spouse, children, job, interests and hobbies to name a few. None of those things are necessarily bad. They only become a problem when we let them become more important or more of a priority than our relationship with God.

Deuteronomy 5:8-9 (NLT) says, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

We have to guard against the things that occupy our time, money, thoughts and attention taking the place where God is supposed to be. We need to ask ourselves, “Is God first in my life, or do I have some idols that have displaced Him? 

Having a deep, intimate relationship requires us to put Him first in every area of our life. First Thessalonians 2:4 (AMP) says, “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”

Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.”

I say it on a regular basis: When you decide to serve God with your whole heart and make Him first in your life, your life will be better. I say it that often because I believe the “key” to the Christian walk is knowing how, moment by moment, to put God first and learning to lean on Him. 

Take an honest look at your current priorities. Reflect on your life right now to consider what factors most determine how you choose to live. Where are you investing most of your time, money, and energy? Which relationships and activities do you devote yourself to every day? Where do you currently place God on your list of priorities? If your relationship with God isn’t your top priority right now, consider the changes you need to make God first.

Your life will be better when you make God your highest priority, over everyone and everything else in your life. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why does God want us to put Him first?
  2. What prevents us from putting God first? Is is pride, greed or fear, or something else?
  3. What attitudes release me to put God first? Is it faith and/or love or something else?
  4. Is there an area of your life where you have put God first? What difference did it make in your life?
  5. What are some things Christians can do this week to put God first? 

A Marriage Made In Heaven

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” – Mark Twain

Life as you no doubt have learned, is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. Wives are not perfect. Neither are husbands. We all have our imperfections. But in an unforgettable marriage, the husband and wife have learned to accept the imperfections in each other. Over time, they have stopped trying to make each other in their own mold and have learned to celebrate their differences. Or in other words, they have learned to love each other for who they really are. That was the purpose and the motivation behind the Unforgettable Love Story series we finished this week.

If you missed any part of this series, I encourage to go back and listen to any you missed. You can find them at northstar.cc. I would like to summarize some points we covered in the series. 

First, is that love is an unconditional commitment, not a fleeting, fickle feeling. When you hear couples say that they are “falling out of love,” I always wonder if they really grasp the meaning or implications of true love. Love isn’t a fairy tale feeling, but a commitment, a choice each of us make. Love isn’t a fairy tale story with a happy ending. Love is a story without end. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT) reminds us that, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Marriage needs commitment to each other and to God to flourish and deepen.

Second, every wife needs love and every husband needs respect. There will be times when your spouse is doing something that is unlovable or disrespectful. Loving them and showing respect during those times is not easy, but it is important that we do it anyway. God gives us His best when we’re at our worst, and He calls us to do that for each other in marriage. People usually need love most when they “deserve” love least. Ephesians 5:33 says, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” 

Third, your spouse’s needs have to come before your own. In each of us there is some level of selfishness. Let’s be honest. So we tend to look at every relationship, including marriage, as an avenue to getting our needs met. But as we have seen in this series, marriage is laying down your own rights for those of our spouse. This requires mutual submission and serving your spouse even when they’re not inclined to reciprocate. Mutual submission is modeled by how Jesus served us and even died for us when we were undeserving. “…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

And fourth, a marriage takes three. The third member of a marriage is God Himself. He created marriage not just to be a man and a woman, but rather, a man and a woman in a growing relationship with each other and with God. The more you love God, the more capacity you will have to love each other. Marriages that put God at the center of their marriage are happier than those that don’t. They focus on God for the source of their happiness rather than their spouse. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

My hope and prayer is that this series will enrich your marriage/relationships and your walk with God in some way. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you view as the most important theme for the Unforgettable Love Story series?
  2. What do you want the legacy of your marriage to be?
  3. What is the one thing you plan to do or not do as a result of this series?
  4. How can God be a bigger part of the marriage/relationship going forward?

Be Content

“…thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.” – Song of Solomon 8:10.

There is a popular Bible story that I think illustrates contentment in a less than an ideal situation. It is the story of Leah. Her story starts in Genesis 29. Jacob’s uncle, Laban, had two daughters. Leah, the eldest, had eyes that were “delicate.” Rachel, with whom Jacob fell in love, was Laban’s younger daughter; and she “was beautiful of form and appearance” (Genesis 29:16-17).

Jacob made an agreement to serve Laban seven years for the opportunity to marry Rachel. Laban deceptively gave Leah, instead of Rachel, to Jacob.  When this switch was discovered, Jacob was of course a little irritated. Laban said it was customary to give the older daughter away in marriage first. So, in order to have Rachel for his wife, Jacob had to give Laban seven more years of service (Genesis 29:26-27).

This cruel deception was her father’s idea, and her new husband, Jacob, clearly “loved Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30). Meanwhile Leah was married to a man who didn’t choose her, love her, or want her. But in fact she was loved and her plight did not go unnoticed. Genesis 29:31 tells us: “When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, …”  God noticed Leah, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31). The Lord showed Leah she had value in her society and was indeed loved—if not by her father or by Jacob, then surely by her heavenly Father.

Leah gave birth to three sons in a row, hoping she would win Jacob’s love: “Now at last my husband will become attached to me” (Genesis 29:34). But after the birth of each son, not a word was heard from Jacob. Then came a turning point. Three times she’d turned to a man for love. This time she turned to God. “When she gave birth to a son she said, “…”This time I will praise the LORD.” (Genesis 29:35).

At last, on her fourth son, Leah realizes an eternal truth; nothing and no one but God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. People will always let us down; God never will. So we must praise Him, for that is where our contentment and fulfillment may be found. Leah found it. God loved her. She could not control Jacob’s heart. And she learned that even her children could not replace that longing for Jacob’s love. But in praising the Lord, she learned to be content in whatever state she found herself.

Your spouse may not be perfect, or even all you wanted, but God is. Can you praise God and find contentment in Him? Because really He is what you are looking for.  You can find contentment in your marriage, your children, and your life if you look to God to sit on the throne of your heart.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss some of the values of a lengthy and close acquaintance before marriage. How can couples who married without it now compensate for it?
  2. What can we learn from Leah? What would you have done in her situation?
  3. How did Leah eventually find contentment? 
  4. Pray and ask God that you find contentment and trust in Him? 

Hang In There

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” –  James 1:12.

As a pastor, I often look at a person or couple and say, “hang in there!” Likewise, people tell me to hang in there as well. In that phrase I intend or receive a word of encouragement and hope. Galatians 6:9 essentially says the same thing, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul is telling us that it is possible to become weary at doing good, and that includes our relationships and marriage. 

To “hang in there” we need perseverance. It is what makes life worthwhile in spite of adversity. It usually requires a level of courage we may not know we even possess. And it calls us to lean on and draw strength from the Lord when we are facing challenges that have left us weary and discouraged. We may be to the point we feel like giving up. But God hasn’t given up on us. At the proper time, we will receive the crown of life.

But sometimes it seems like things are just not working out. Happily ever after. Yeah, right. No one told you you’d be as miserable as you are. You started well, but now you’re living with a broken heart, feeling trapped in a difficult marriage without hope, and you don’t even want to begin to think about the future. Hope has taken the last train out of town, and you are resigned to facing some tough days ahead. Is this my marriage? Has it really come to this? You’re not able to run away from the reality that your marriage is empty.

My answer to that situation will not be popular with today’s culture and can seem like pie-in-the sky dogma that you would expect from a pastor. That answer is to not give up on the marriage. Don’t stop trying. Don’t stop praying and searching for a way to turn your marriage around. Miracles happen, and people change. I’m seen some pretty dire situations fixed through prayer, hard work, and determination. Where people work even harder to get the marriage on track and over time do exactly that.

That’s all fine and good but you tell yourself, “I’ve done this all before and have gotten the same negative result: Nothing really changes.” You are tired, frustrated, becoming cynical, and leery about ending up even more disillusioned.

I would encourage you to continue hanging in there because even then, God wants your faithfulness. Even in lonely times, God’s message is unchanged, “be holy as I am holy.”

Mature marriages result from two people developing the skills and selflessness needed to address the hard issues in their relationship. These marriages are a result of honest work and sacrificial love and are filled with transparency, humility, and honesty. They, indeed, have a depth of maturity that serves as a positive model. Along the way, at some time and in some circumstance, they chose to hang in there.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you ever feel like you can’t hang in there any longer? What made you feel that way?
  2. Do you believe that God can fix/heal any situation? Do you believe some situations will never get batter?
  3. Do you believe you owe it to God to hang in there?
  4. What can you do this week to demonstrate your commitment to your marriage? 

Commitment And Trust

“If you had started doing anything two weeks ago, by today you would have been two weeks better at it.” – John Mayer.” 

Do you believe commitment and trust are synonymous when it comes to marriage? If you talked to married people, you would probably get the following answer to what’s the difference between commitment and trust: Commitment is our intent to stay in a relationship with our spouse; trust is the practice of doing so.

That answer makes sense to me. Committed spouses will build trust over time. Commitment is built by paying attention to “little things” to show their love and concern. To set up a firm foundation in any marriage the husband and wife need to feel a sense of obligation to each other. God designed marriage to bring a couple deep-seated joy and contentment. He intended for a man to “rejoice in the wife” and for “husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” (Proverbs 5:18; Ephesians 5:28) To create that sort of bond, a couple must be committed. And their marriage relationship will grow. They will form a bond the Bible describes as being so close that it is as if the two people were “one flesh.” (Matthew 19:5)

Conveying commitment isn’t showy, but subtle and and often behind the scenes. But we still have to do it. 

Trust is built in very small moments in which one person turns toward their partner when they’re in need. When our partner responds positively, by “being there” for us, that builds trust.

Once we are “there” for each other over and over again, we can also begin to trust each other in the face of anger or upset. Having a ground rule that says, “its okay to be angry, I am not going anywhere,” is a very important building block to trust. Marriage should be a top priority both in spending time together and in carrying out the commitments of daily life.

Commitment means investing time in any relationship. Or putting your spouse above other things. It also helps build trust because you are creating evidence that you are reliable, that you can be counted on and trusted. The ability to rely on each other as a team is real trust in the relationship.

When you are fully committed and it is shows in your relationship, it can be a powerful force. True commitment in a healthy relationship takes time to get to know each other, demonstrates a commitment to certain values, accepts each other’s personal standards and involves faithfulness. Such a marriage will be healthy and successful.    

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you view the difference between commitment and trust? Which of the two values do you identify with the most?
  2. If you had to choose one or the other in a relationship which one would you choose and why?
  3. Can a lack of trust in a marriage or relationship be fixed? If so, how?
  4. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What does it mean to trust the Lord with all of your heart? We all have areas where is it easier to trust Him and also have areas where it is more difficult. How does this apply to marriage?
  5. What can we do this week to build trust in a relationship/marriage?

Committed For The Long Haul

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.” – Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

Do you ever think about the meaning of the words in your wedding vows? “For better or for worse . . . in plenty and in want . . .  in joy and in sorrow . . .in sickness and in health . . . as long as we both shall live.” The words may have been different but the intent was probably the same. Whether you have been married for a short time or for decades, when we get married we make a commitment in that moment of time, with God and friends and family listening. My question is this: Were those just empty words of tradition from the past? Or do they represent a genuine promise of commitment that had meaning then and continues to have meaning today? I believe the level of commitment is instrumental in determining both the longevity and quality of any marriage. 

“Till death do us part” can sound so romantic – but it can also sound ominous. Regardless of whether one marries in a secular or religious ceremony most couples still believe that they are making a permanent commitment. Unfortunately, the divorce rate tells us clearly that intentions are not always enough. 

What happens between the solemn pronouncement of wedding vows and the decision that we have irreconcilable differences? Certainly, this is not a “one size fits all” situation. But I believe that somewhere along the way one or both spouses got bored or tired of trying to make it work. In other words their commitment dissolved.

But here’s the thing: commitment is a mindset, a way of thinking that will enable you and your spouse to navigate through the still waters and the storms of a marriage relationship. Commitment means you’ve promised to stay and work it through, not just today but forever.

Commitment is a decision that comes in two stages: first making the commitment and then keeping the commitment. We make the commitment when we get married.  Keeping the commitment is a different story. Keeping the commitment means that we do loving things for our spouse, speaking kindly and respectfully, and deciding over and over to pay attention to the relationship. it also means that we commit ourselves to God and seek His grace and wisdom in the relationship.

Commitment is also a choice to give up our rights. Although this might at first sound limiting, it actually brings great freedom and depth. Once committed, all one’s energy goes into making this commitment work. No longer are other possibilities a distraction. 

Couples who understand the essence of making a permanent commitment realize that it’s much more than just a decision not to simply let things evolve. It’s a commitment to do the daily work of keeping the commitment alive. It may mean turning off the TV or taking a nightly walk in order to listen to each other’s concerns. These simple actions, and many more, are the stuff of commitment. They are the actions that keep a marriage vibrant, interesting, and exciting. It means being vigilant so temptations or doubts do not surface.

Honor the commitment each of us made when we got married. And every day re-commit to making the marriage all that God intended it to be. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is commitment an overused concept? If so, why?
  2. How do you define commitment in marriage or in relationships?
  3. Do you believe commitment will enable you to: sacrifice for the sake of your marriage, be more satisfied with your relationship and enjoy longer-lasting marriages? Why or why not?
  4. What disciplines are needed to help maintain your faithfulness and commitment in marriage? 
  5. In what areas of marriage do you feel God is calling you to pray and work on going forward?  Spend some time praying.

Being a Leader

“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity….” – 1 Timothy 3:4. 

Perhaps you have heard the story of a man in heaven who sees two different signs. One sign said: “ALL THOSE MEN WHO HAVE BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” That line of men seemed to stretch into infinity. The second sign read: “ALL THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN DOMINATED BY THEIR WIVES, STAND HERE.” Only one man stood under that sign. The man went over and underneath the sign stood one man. He asked the man, “what’s the secret, how did you do it? That other line has millions of men and you are the only one standing in this line.” The man responded, “my wife just told me to stand here.”

No this is not a devotional about who should wear the pants in the family. If the marriage is to deepen with time, the man has to take the lead in some key areas as the song by Sanctus Real says so eloquently. Doing nothing or deferring to your wife doesn’t eliminate our responsibilities as husbands and fathers. 

God placed ultimate responsibility with respect to the household on the shoulders of the husband. But being the head or leading does not mean the man lords over his wife and demands her total obedience. God never viewed women as second-class citizens. His Word clearly states that:  Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Scripture does more than assign leadership in a marriage to the husband, however. Those same passages you just read also provide a model for that leadership. Firs , we must love our wife unconditionally. Secondly, serve your wife. Jesus is our model for this type of leadership. Jesus did not just talk about serving; He demonstrated it when he washed His disciples’ feet. The Son of God took on the very nature of a servant when He was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:7).

One of the best ways to serve your wife is to understand her needs and try to meet them. Do you know what your wife’s top three needs are right now? What is she worried about? What troubles her? What type of pressure does she feel? Learn the answers to questions like that, and then do what you can to reduce her worries, her troubles, her pressures.

My prayer for each husband reading this is reflected in the lyrics of the Lead Me song:

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I’m called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won’t You lead me?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do would you rate your ability to lead? Is it something that comes naturally? Why or why not?
  2. How would you rate yourself as a servant in your marriage?
  3. What practical steps can you take to better lead your marriage?
  4. Pray and ask God to help you be the leader in your marriage.