Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Better Blueprints Make Good Structures

Western civilization is in deep trouble. We are facing an uncertain future.

One of the main reasons for this trouble is that we have strayed very far from God’s blueprint for family and the society that rests on the family. God gave us a definite structure for the family, but somewhere along the line mankind in general felt the liberty to deviate from that structure. Even Bible believing Christians as well as preachers and teachers have strayed from God’s structure. Now we are reaping the reward of our straying. One of the laws that God presents for the natural world is the law of reaping and sowing. We reap what we sow, without fail. The only way that this law is abrogated is by the intervention of a higher power. Too many people sow their wild oats and then pray for crop failure. The Bible says, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:” Hosea 8:7. We are reaping the whirlwind of chaotic homes and society. We are crying out to God for crop failure and ignoring His instructions for recovery. With crime increasing, satisfaction with life decreasing, depression at epidemic rates, credit spending out of control and job security disappearing people have been seeking answers and comfort in new directions. We try to fill the void in our life with things, experiences and people in new ways. “Try something new, it’s got to be better”, expresses the desperate hope flooding the hearts and minds of the populace at large and sadly, even Bible believing Christians are taking up the cry. Yet in all this fervent desire for rescue from failure and the desire for success, God is saying, “Come back to me!” Several times in the Old Testament scripture and all the way through the New Testament scripture to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, God calls His people to repent (turn around), to return, to repent and do the first works. This is the essence of revival.

God is telling us today, from His Word and by His Holy Spirit, to return to His blueprint for the family. By doing so, we may have His blessing on our efforts. Do you think it unreasonable of the God of Heaven, the creator and sustainer of the world to expect us to do things His way, if we want His blessing? I don’t. He has every right, by right of creation and by right of redemption to expect us to walk in obedience to His Word and Will.

What does His blueprint look like? I will use a word that must be explained, to be understood, because it is a word that has been abused, manipulated and wrested in such a dishonest way, as to make the word completely ineffective. Yet this word is the best word (when properly understood) to describe God’s blueprint, “PATRIARCHY”. Do you understand why it must be explained, to comprehend God’s blueprint? Did not images of abusive, authoritarian, cold and distant men immediately flood your mind? Have you not heard from most every source, how evil it is to think that there are significant differences between men and women (other than biological)? God’s blueprint may well fly in the face of common knowledge, but I prefer God’s blueprint; common knowledge isn’t working out too well. Patriarchy is literally defined as father rule. "Etymologically, the word "patriarchy" derives from the Greek (patriarkhia), literally means "rule of fathers”. Fathers and husbands have become less than desirable in our culture because of militant feminism, whose efforts of liberation have exceeded the need for liberty. When we understand that God refers to Himself as “Father” to believers and to His creation, it is easy to understand how we have strayed so far from God’s blueprint.

In God’s blueprint for the family, we see the reflection that He has with both humanity at large and His believing people specifically. This is described in Ephesians 5: 22-33 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

The husband – wife relationship is based upon the relationship between Christ and His church. Husbands are to love and behave toward their wives in the same way that Christ loves and behaves toward His church. Wives are to graciously respond to and follow their husbands leadership in the same way His church is to graciously follow Christ’s leadership. Properly followed the resulting marital relationship will result in this pattern.

  •  The husband/father will exercise headship for the wife and family, taking seriously, the responsibility of leadership, provision and protection. He will duplicate, as far as humanly possible, with divine aid, the love, comfort and companionship that Christ Himself provides us all. This will exclude the possibility of abuse, selfishness and neglect. Such a task will keep an honest man frequently on his knees before our Lord, seeking guidance and strength to live with our families, as Christ lives with His churches.

  • The wife will practice, as far as humanly possible, with divine aid, the grace of total submission to her husband, showing to him reverence, trust, honor and love that is due him as the representative of Christ in their home. Such genuine submission to her husband is an act of her will, totally under her purview, as the church is willfully subject to Christ. Her behavior in this manner does not in any way diminish her intelligence, strength or will. Rather, it increases the awareness of her qualities and contribution to the husband’s leadership. By doing so she increases her value, by being a willing and enthusiastic supporter in the cause of the husbands calling.

  • Wives subjugate their right of leadership to the authority of the husband as God Himself established it.

  • Husbands will bind themselves by love to the awesome responsibility of leading and providing for their wives, not seeking personal prestige, but fulfilling God’s calling in their lives.

Our straying from this blueprint has created a chaos that has been labeled normal, but produced abnormal results. Divorce statistics for Christians that rival the rest of the world, disenfranchised children, school age children being sedated by parents and doctors, just to fit into the education system and ever increasing dissatisfaction with life are all evidences of our deviation from God’s blueprint and the resulting tragedy. The conflict between husbands and wives that is so evident in our culture is another result. Husbands’ fail when they do not step up to the plate and do those tasks given by God. By not doing so they put their wives in the position of shouldering the responsibility that God gave the men. This is not God’s design and it isn’t about whether or not the women can perform the manly tasks, in most cases they can. However, it is not their job to do so, they have their own tasks assigned by our Lord, which they are better suited for. These include the nurturing and supporting skills that women are so well known for. Can men do these same things? Yes, but not as effectively as the women who were originally assigned these good tasks. When wives are not willing to remain in their supporting role and covet the authority and leadership that God designed for the husbands and the men, for the authority and leadership role, the wives then cause their husbands to react negatively or accept a submissive nature, they were not designed for. This increases the conflict.

I hope it is not necessary to delve into the uniqueness with which both men and women were created or to provide argument that equality in value before God and society does not equal sameness in responsibility or efficiency. There is a definite, distinctive role for men and for women. While each may pick up the slack for the other in time of emergency, such activity is not the norm of God’s design. Effectiveness, efficiency and enjoyment of life all suffer when we deviate from God’s blueprint.

We must ask our selves, “What are we willing to settle for?” To be honest, it will always be difficult to follow God’s blueprint. Our own (sinful even though redeemed) human will, struggles with being the man or woman God wants us to be. Our culture is definitely against God’s blueprint, just as it is in rebellion against God’s authority in every area of life. To make things even worse, God’s enemy and ours, Satan endeavors to do all he can to destroy God’s authority in the life of God’s saints. Satan will even stimulate our human will and our culture in rebellion against God. These three the Bible describes as our foes, the world, the flesh and the devil, they are very effective. So, following God, as He leads, through His Word, by His Spirit will always be an uphill climb. We must count the cost and determine in our own hearts, “Am I willing to obey God and go against the tide of world opinion or will I take the easy route of less or no opposition?” Joshua said in a similar situation, “ Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15

                                                                                                                                         … John Whitten