Module One Appendix One – For Men & Women

CCIM College: Appendix ONE – for Men & Women  

* inserted as a follow-up from our last chapter regarding Women

For Men

This material was originally prepared in response to a request from a Pastor in India: 

“Sister I need a study or a sermon on husband and wife relationship according to Bible or marital life with Christ because in our church we have many broken families.  Women are hard working and their husbands are fully drunkards and they beat their wives like anything.  Kindly I need a sermon like how they can change their husbands …..” 

We acknowledge that without the inner transformative power of our Lord Jesus Christ none of us can ever be changed.  This material simply seeks to take men through a short study of the scriptures in regards to the value of every human being, forgiveness and redemption found at the cross of Christ, the heart of God over each of us and how these things play out in the roles and responsibilities of leadership and within the context of marriage. 

We pray the Lord’s quickening of our words, but we particularly agree to the quickening of His words found in scripture.  This we have sought to faithfully give. 

We suggest that you teach this material in smaller portions than all at once.  Take a few concepts at a time.  Most of all have the Holy Spirit lead you as you teach this. Remember that it is in compassion and safe places and in honour that we are equipped and open to changed hearts.  Lead in this way as you teach the men.  

Ensure that your own heart is in forgiveness towards them and your teaching will inhabit the heart of God for them.  We pray transformation and the peace of Christ brought to lives in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Contents to Come

  • Stewardship   
  • Women are Equal Partners
  • You are Enough in Christ
  • Life has Problems and Redemption
  • One Day at a Time
  • Commitment to a Bigger Way
  • Loose off Guilt
  • Take on Compassion
  • Jesus Models Regard for Women
  • Leaders Take 100% Responsibility
  • You are More Powerful than You Know
  • Stand Before God with a Well Done!
  • A Churches Response to Women

Stewardship

In this life everything we are given is a gift from God. Right from the beginning of the world God put Adam and Eve as overseers and stewards of all He had made. 

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15 ESV

To be a steward is to be given a trust, to be entrusted with something.   As stewards of God’s kingdom we will all answer to Him one day for what we did or didn’t do with what we were entrusted.  Our actions matter, the choices we make matter. 

We have responsibility to God for how we live our lives and the manner in which we go through our days.  We have responsibility in regards to how we treat each other.  We will give account for how we brought the Spirit of Christ into all of our dealings. 

Yet right from the beginning things have gone wrong.  Adam and Eve sinned in not believing God and ever since men and women have tried to do life apart from Him. It hasn’t turned out so well. 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23 ESV

There has been much conflict and difficulty. We use and abuse each other.  We hurt and cause harm to others and ourselves.  It is easy to see that we are lost without God’s touch upon our hearts and minds and lives. 

Thankfully God stepped in by sending his son Jesus Christ to take care of our sin natures. 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”   John 3:16-17 ESV

The good news is that Jesus takes full responsibility for the things we have done to each other.  He bore the burden of our sin on the cross.  We are told that we can now take hold of this new gift of life and grace that Jesus made possible for us. 

We simply receive Christ and the gift of life that he bought for us, 

“Jesus I realize that there are many things I cannot make right.  There are many things that I struggle with and on my own these are just too much.  But I hear that you are interested in walking alongside me and within me. I’d like this.  I agree today to your redeeming my life and me.  I want to do life with you.  I welcome you to guide me and to show me how to live. Amen” 

As we turn toward Jesus Christ He enables us to live different kinds of lives with ourselves and with others. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Our spiritual eyes are opened in new ways and we begin living differently. 

Women are Equal Partners

One of the first ways that God’s heart begins to show through our hearts is in our treatment of each other.  Receiving God’s love and grace and forgiveness into our own lives enables us to show God’s love and grace and forgiveness to others.  We are supernaturally equipped to do life. 

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”  Ephesians 4:2 ESV

For men this begins at home with your wife and children.  Whenever any of us come to God, turning to Christ, we realize every single human being has incredible value and worth. God has made every single one precious in His sight. 

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27 ESV

We find in fact that men and women are created equal in God’s sight and we recognize where we have been unjust in our treatment of the women around 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.”  Galatians 3:28 ESV

At the same time we are often stuck in patterns of ill treatment towards each other.  Here too we turn to Christ and invite and rely on Him to change us from the inside out. 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV

We are all entrusted with the hearts of each other to care for, to nurture, to love.  A man is gifted and entrusted with a wife; she is his most important stewardship opportunity.  One day each man will stand before God and answer for the way he treated her and her children. 

You are Enough in Christ

This is a big task and the most important work of all.  You have been gifted for the task as you live in God.  You are enough in Christ for all the difficulties that might come your way. 

We are told, 

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”   2 Peter 1:3 ESV

In regards to difficulties and this life we have some great promises of God to hold onto and to give us strength. 

“Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.”  John 14:1 ESV

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 ESV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Philippians 4:6 ESV

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.  You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”  Psalms 91:1-6 ESV (read all of Psalm 91)

Life has Problems and Pain but also Healing and Redemption

It is not easy of course.  Life is difficult and we as men and women have grown up receiving our own hurts and harms from our parents and those who raised us.  Sometimes we take the pain in our own hearts and pass it on to those around us.  In fact, it is often those closest to us that get the worst of our behaviour. 

Sometimes it is our own bitterness and hatred that drives us to hurt others.  Whether it has been hurts given us by others or the bitterness that we carry, these things we can give over to God.  Here too, instead of managing poorly in dealing with hurts and hatreds we simply turn to God with them.  We give ourselves over to God. 

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”  Acts 3:19 ESV

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8 ESV

And as we turn to God with our hurts and our hatreds God relieves us of these great burdens; we were never meant to carry hurt and hatred and bitterness.  This is the great news of Jesus Christ; we can be new people because Jesus came to carry our pain. 

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 ESV

We must remember that Christ died not only to remove our sin but also to cover over the sin of others against us.  As we give our hurts to God and he replaces them with peace and patience and with gladness and joy.  We can learn to treat others with the peace and patience that we ourselves have received from God. 

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV

One day at a time

We live this new way one day at a time.  Change comes bit by bit. Sometimes we still hurt over our past but as we come close to God we are told that he comes close to us.  In this way we are changed into the image of God. He tells us we are loved. 

“I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20 ESV

Each day we begin with, “God I invite you into today.  Welcome into my relationships today.  I give you my pain and my sorrow. I receive from you your peace and gladness.  May I walk in you today. May I treat my wife and children as you would have me treat them.  Help me to love them as you love them; thank-you for the gift that they are in my life.  Amen” 

Commitment to a bigger way – gentleness, vulnerability

Walking each day with the Lord grows our awareness.  We begin to understand things that we never thought of before.  We realize that we don’t know everything like we once thought we did. And we see that we have made mistakes. 

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  James 5:16 ESV

These new insights can make us feel vulnerable and unsafe. “What if others reject me?” we may ask. 

Before we thought that powerful was being scary and mean.  Now we begin to see that the most powerful people are those who are gentle and kind.  We realize that to influence and to grow others, that we must have bigger thinking and understanding.  We begin to see that we can have a good impact in this world. 

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”  John 15:12-14 ESV

Loose off Guilt by the Power of Jesus Christ

But it is hard to take on new ways when we are burdened by the guilt of the old ways.  The good news is that Jesus Christ died to carry your guilt.  He became the scapegoat that takes away the sins of the world.  No longer do we look at each other, nor ourselves with wrath and hatred and contempt. 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10 ESV

We therefore give our guilt to God, 

“God I see this day all the wrongs that I have done.  The guilt of these things are too much for me. I am tired and worn down by my guilt.  Today I renounce this guilt in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and I put all guilt at the foot of the cross.  I declare my guilt covered in the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ, washed away.  I simply stand as a new creation in Christ and I receive your forgiveness God. Thank-You.” 

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV

And as we do this we are told that Jesus comes to us and eats with us.  He initiates forgiveness and restoration and peace to community and family. 

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

Take on His Compassion and Sacrificial Service

Once we have given our guilt to God and felt the release of His Spirit over our lives we can enter into compassion and sacrificial service.  Where before we condemned others for our bad things, we now release others to be as God created them to be.  Then we find ourselves released to love and serve them. 

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:2 ESV

We realize that we are all sinners.  We all make mistakes.  The difficulties of this world have impacted all of us.  We are no better or less than anyone else.  Because of this we find new compassion flowing over us and we are now able to be compassionate to others. 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Our eyes and understanding are opened to the good that others are trying to do.  We see people with grace and understanding and this includes our wife and children.  We begin to treat them better too. 

All of this is possible because we remain in Jesus Christ, turned toward Him each day. 

“Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”  John 15:4 ESV

Jesus Models Regard for Women

When Jesus was on earth he modelled a very different kind of respect and regard for women.  Traditionally all over the world and all through time women have been treated very badly. It is as though Satan has a particular hatred for women.  But Christ came to show a different way. 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be 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 ESV

  • Jesus’ own ministry was supported through partnership with women.  Luke 8:1-3
  • He refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery.   John 8:1-11
  • He took the time and risk to speak to the Samaritan woman.   John 4:5-42
  • He visited and taught women, most particularly Mary whom he commended for her heart to learn from him.   Luke 10:38-42
  • A woman anointed Jesus (Jesus came under her authority to anoint him).   Mark 14:3-9
  • After he was raised from the dead he showed himself first to the women.  John 20:1-18

His was a special relationship with women, one of full regard and respect and love for them. Jesus counteracted the culture of his day, and of ours, where women are ill treated, abused, and considered a throw-away commodity. Consider this, 

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”  1 Peter 3:7 ESV

There are four vital principles for husbands in this one verse:

1. Live with your wife in an understanding way

2. Show honour to her as a weaker vessel

3. Know that women are heirs also to grace and the kingdom of God

4. Do this so your prayers will be answered

Principle one and two is a practical suggestion based on the physical ability of women.  We know today that physically women are weaker than men; men have three layers of muscle while women have two layers of muscle.  From a purely physical stand point women simply are not as strong as men. 

Because of this Peter is admonishing men to recognize this and to relate differently with their wives, to live in understanding of them. 

Where two men might ‘fight it out’ we are told in the Bible that this is not the way between men and women.  To beat a woman is to overwhelm her with violence both to her body and her heart. 

Do not beat your wife.  To do so is to dishonour her and it is a dishonour of God who made her; she is equal to you, treat her as such.  Show her honour and regard and love. 

“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.  He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain.” Titus 1:7 ESV

God feels so strongly about this that we are told that a man’s prayers will be hindered to the same degree that he dishonours and ill-treats his wife. (1 Peter 3:7 as above)

We find similar admonition towards care for wives in Malachi, 

“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts.  So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”  Malachi 2:16 ESV

In many cultures around the world women are treated as disposable commodities.  They are cast off at the least little thing and regarded as interchangeable and considered to be made only for man’s pleasure and convenience.  We know this to be false for every single person, man, woman, child is made in the image of God. 

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27 ESV

God is saying to not treat your wife as less than yourself.  God declares her equal before Him.  To cast her off, to beat her, to dishonour her, is to curse your self with layers of violence.  By dishonouring her you dishonour yourself.  Men, rather, are to serve their wives as Christ served the church. 

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”  Ephesians 5:25 ESV

“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”  Ephesians 5:28 ESV

“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”  Colossians 3:19 ESV

Men head of the household – leaders take 100% responsibility

“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour.”  Ephesians 5:23 ESV

We know today that to be the head of something is to take 100% responsibility.  The one in leadership is entrusted with the care and outcome of that thing and this is in regard to business, organizations, churches, and relationships of all sorts including marriage.  You are responsible. 

We also flip this around and assert that the one taking 100% responsibility is the one leading; for authority and responsibility go hand in hand.  To have authority is to have responsibility.  To have responsibility is to have authority. 

Yet, not authority to lord it over, to belittle, to put down, to curse, this type of authority is that of Satan.  The authority of Jesus Christ, and of all those who follow him, is that of lifting up, of honouring, of encouraging and bringing blessing where there has been cursing. 

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.  Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”  1 Timothy 6:11 ESV

Quite simply we can tell the quality of a man by the look in his wife’s eyes.  A woman well cared for shines.  A woman despised carries grief and sorrow and it shows on her face and in her posture. 

If your wife is your crown we ask, “how shiny is your crown men?” How bright eyed and lovely is your wife.  A woman’s beauty comes from deep inside her soul.  This beauty is released as she is regarded, respected, with genuine care and concern. 

As leader and head of his wife a man will stand before God one day and answer for what he has done to her.  Does she reflect beauty and confidence or is she sad and despondent? 

Like all actions in leadership this is a place that refuses to cast blame and refuses to make excuses.  Rather men of leadership quality seek answers and solve problems, remembering the grace of our Lord.  They remain in Christ as we spoke of earlier.  Most of all they lead well and take great care of the hearts that have been entrusted to them. 

You are More Powerful than you Know

You have the power to make your wife shine. Each day ask your wife how she is doing. See if there is anything she might need help with. Thank her for all she does for you and for your household.  Bless her for being the mother of your children. 

Touch her in non-sexual ways, with simple touch let her know that you see her as a human being and valuable to God.  Tell her how much you appreciate her.  Thank the Lord for her daily. 

Be a safe person for your wife.  Do not make her responsible for your fears, your insecurities, your anger, and everything that has gone wrong in your life.  These things, and we all have these, are to be taken before the Lord on a daily basis.  Find your center in the Lord and become a blessing to your wife and children. 

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Look into her eyes and acknowledge her. Listen to her.  Take time to just sit alongside her for a time each day.  You do not have to fix everything.  Simply assure her that you are for her and not against her.  She will begin to shine. 

God has made women to pour out to all those around her.  Women are wired to be generous and to give their lives away.  Who is pouring into her?  Who is filling her up so that she can continue in this life-giving manner given her?  You, her husband, are to be the one pouring into her. 

Just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for her, so too are men to be sacrificially giving their lives to their wives.  What and how might you encourage and strengthen and gladden your wife’s heart?  Serve her.  Help her.  Offer her your strength so that her strength may not wither away. 

“I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20 ESV

Stand before God, well done!

One day we will all stand before God and we would like to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”  As husband and head of your wife and home, as the one taking on 100% responsibility this is both an awesome and terrifying opportunity. 

The first thing to do is found in Proverbs, 

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 ESV

The second thing to do is to receive from your wife.  She has been uniquely wired to help you be widely successful. God has given her special gifting to help you.  Listen to her.  She has wisdom, insights, and understanding that you do not have. 

It is a foolish man who will not receive (from his wife) all that she has to give him.

“Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  Ephesians 5:21 ESV

Submission is in many ways about receiving.  Submission is about coming under the unique gifting of each other for mutual benefit and blessing. 

Receive from your wife and you will be more successful than if you try to do life on your own.  It is the wise man that walks in understanding with his wife, creating for her safety and security that she might share her heart, her insights, her wisdom. 

For when a man listens to his wife in this way he becomes wiser too.  And he benefits from this gift given him called a wife. 

The quality of a community, a church, a home can be determined by how the women and children are treated.  Be a quality man, be part of a quality church, lead a quality home that treats women well. Bless them and do not curse them. Give to them, serve them, help them. 

How might your wife be best served today?  Ask the Lord and ask her. She will tell you.  The Lord will direct you. 

“Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.”  Psalm 25:12-13 ESV

Whatever good you think of doing for her do it!  Each and every day do the thing that comes to mind that will help and care for her.  In this way you will find God’s particular favour coming into your life and home. 

For God has entrusted your wife and children to you as most precious gifts.  She does not belong to you.  Your children do not belong to you.  They are created in the image of the most high God and belong to Him.  Treat them well for they are Gods. 

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?  Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.  Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.  Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”     Deuteronomy 10:12-22 ESV

A Churches Response to Women  

What We know: 

  • Churches that release women into full ministry thrive and are favoured by God
  • No person, including women, are destined to abuse and violence at home

Women marry expecting a safe place, a place to nurture their children, a place where their hearts find a companion through the difficulties. 

When, instead, a woman finds that the man she thought would lift her up, brings her down, her heart is broken.  When this happens, the fabric upon which her strength rests is fractured, the very one who was to enable her to be more than who she is becomes the very one who keeps her less than who she is; simple disregard begins this process, violence finishes it.

The church, likewise, is to be a safe place for women.  The church that tells her to return to her violence does her double harm.  When we refuse to take on injustice and minister to those affected by it we are part of the problem.  We have become the abuser.  We have participated in the sins of others. 

What if, rather than this, a church were to hold a space of safety, of honour, of dignity, for all?  What if a church were to take on the courage to support those in abusive situations?  What if a church were to take on the care for its widows and orphans, including heart widows, in simple and tangible ways? 

This sends two messages, one to men, one to women. 

To the men it sends a clear message that the care of a wife is a sacred task, thus given to men.  The environments in which their children will be raised are determined by their care. 

The light and delight in a woman’s countenance gives evidence to the kind of man that he is.  The settledness of the children gives testimony to the manner of this man. 

Studies have shown that children respond to the stress level of their mothers.  An unsettled mother, caught by stress and difficulty, makes for unsettled children. 

Unsettled children, who are themselves now stressed, cannot easily learn, are distracted by emotional triggers of danger, and are generally unable to grow into the full person they are created to be. 

It is in the best interest of the Father to care for his wife.  To create safety, to ensure opportunity to grow and become all she was meant to be. This makes for a happy wife, and a happy wife makes for a happy life. 

This in turn cares for the children, creating for them a safety in growth and maturity.  Attachment is easy and learning comes naturally.  The child grows into an emergent adult, ready and capable of taking on his/her own agency and going after God’s plan for them. 

This is the message to the Men.  The message to women is one of value and worth. 

She is valuable.  She is precious.  She is special. 

We, God and the church, will defend her.  We will stand up for her.  We will not allow harm to come to her.  We will hold out the best for her.  We will nurture her. 

She is a gift from God.  She requires special care and consideration. 

A church that upholds this space for women sets a precedent.  They declare value and worth applied to women.  Gone is the thinking that she is worth only what she can produce.  Gone is the belief that she must only serve her husband, rather the wise man, the wise church, understands that her natural bent is to serve. 

A woman is wired to give her life away.  She daily gives her life away to her children, and to her husband she will do the same, until sorrow and a broken heart leave her with nothing to give.

Because she pours her life out for others, we must ask, who is pouring into her life?  Who is standing by her to ensure that she is able to continue giving as she so desires?  This is to be her man.  A wise man pours into his wife, so that she can continue in the joy of pouring out to her children, to others and to him. 

A wise church upholds this belief in practice.  We must always ask what message are we really giving?  Are our choices and actions supporting women or are we taking them down? 

As we stand tall for the value and worth of women, we also stand for the value and worth of men.  Men need not be consumed by their anger.  Men are given the task of caring for their wives hearts, in this they also grow and learn and find their own capacity expanded. 

Men are not beasts only to be obeyed.  They are not taskmasters that cannot see past their own need. No, rather, men are to be servants to their women, as Christ became a servant to the church.  This is their highest nature.  To attain to anything less leaves the man less.  It is easy to rage and to demand and to have one’s way.  But this is closer to the behaviour of little children rather than grown men. 

The task of taking on a wife grows a man up.  There is nothing so challenging than holding back one’s strength when frustrated, of operating out of gentleness and respect when angry, but this is the higher path to which men are called. 

Holding out honour for women demands that men rise up to the full stature that he is meant to attain. To give his life away for the health and well being of his wife is godliness of great measure. 

A church that holds these things true: 

• Women have great worth and honour

• Men are called to give honour  and to serve women

• Honour and then honour will come back to you

Becomes a kind of church where the spirit of the living God is honoured and released into full measure. It is a church that stands against the ways of the world. For the world says, 

• Keep women low, deny them adulthood, deny them their own agency

• To be big you must command over and prove your bigness

• Demand to be served

• Be violent when you don’t get your way

• Use your own best judgment in these things

Christ came to bring revolution to the way we are used to things being.  The weakened nature of women is violated and exposed by the world.  Christ came to cover over and to build up women.  He defended women, and received from women the gifts they had to bring to the table.  Women were important in the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth and they must become important to us as well. 

Chapter 23: Women

Chapter 23: Women

It is pressing upon me to today take a look at what the Bible says about women.  There is much assumed and categorized when it comes to women.  Much that is not in line with the heart of God, and while there is not time or space to look at everything we might discuss about women, we will look at a just a couple of thoughts today.

The Bible begins with the creation of the world we see that creation begins with wide swaths. (footnote below) Like a giant brush painting a large picture, a grand work of art, the first strokes lay out the background and the vistas of creation, light and dark, land and sea and sky.

Creation continues with God filling in the details.  Plants and trees, animals and birds, fish and creatures of the sea, are added.  Then comes mankind.  A stunning representation of God himself. Mirroring both male and female God makes mankind.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 ESV

With mankind we find the finesse and attention to detail a wonderful thing to behold. 

Breathed through with the breath of God mankind carries a spirit that is more complex and specialized than any other creature on earth.

And with one final sweep of creative energy, the soaring finale to creation, woman arrives on the scene.  She is the glory added right at the end. Like a shining pinnacle of a grand mountain, woman adds the finishing touches to creation.  Simply by who she is, woman reflects the glory of God in spectacular wonder.

Women are born and bred to carry the glory of God; to reflect God’s stunning beauty. 

Women give testimony of the majesty of our creator.

But Satan was the original one who was most beautiful, something he lost, something that woman gained.

Ever since Satan has hated SHE.

And ever since there has been unprecedented attacks and confounding over women for centuries upon centuries.  Over no other people group have the oppressions been so profound and long-lasting.

And the Bible has a few things to say about this.  We read first of all in Galatians that there is no male or female in the body of Christ.

“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.” Galatians 3:28 ESV

Paul had written here a short list of all the ways we discriminate as human beings.  At the time of this writing a common way to discriminate was to hate Jews if one was Greek, and to hate Greeks if one was a Jew.  Then there was the discrimination around those who are slaves or those who are free, and that we still have to this day in many places, then, into the conversation another discrimination: that of being male or female.

It is no secret that world over, that still today, male babies are considered the better of the species, and that men are superior to women.  Even today there are babies aborted because they are female. Even today there are new-born baby girls killed simply because they are female.  Even today, we have much prejudice and discrimination in the world over women, simply because they are female.

Yet, “In Christ Jesus there is no male or female, we are all one”

What difference does this verse make to you?

How might this change the way we do life in our families and work places?

In Peter we find this,

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7 ESV

This verse has been misapplied time and again.  We miss that the ‘weakness’ of women as described here is about the body (the vessel).  It is a woman’s body that is weaker than a man’s body.  Having only two layers of muscle where men have three layers of muscle, a woman’s body is literally not as physically strong as a man’s body.

And therefore Peter gives a few explicit directions.

1. ‘Live with your wives in an understanding way.’ In other words, get it that your wife is not as physically strong as you are.  She cannot do as much hard labor as your capability.

In terms of how this might play out in life there are numerous applications depending on culture and circumstances of life.  Yet regardless of each scenario, it sounds to me that Peter is saying to men, “Serve your wife.  Make life a little easier for her, knowing that she is not as physically capable of hard work as you are.”

Peter is also making a case here for being gentle with women.  Where two men might literally wrestle or physically fight over a disagreement, Peter is saying to understand that because of the weaker nature of a woman’s body, she should never be physically hit or fought with.  She is not on-par with a man in this way, she is the physically weaker vessel, and therefore physical violence is not the way to act with her.

Violence has no place in a marriage, if for no other reason than the woman is not as physically strong.  Violence is an injustice to women.

2.  ‘Showing honour’ The definition of honour is, “To regard or treat with honour, esteem, or respect; to revere; to treat with deference and submission.”

I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world, but in North America men show honour to women in a number of ways, things like holding open doors for women, giving women the best places to sit, carrying the heavy things so that women are spared the weight and strain on their bodies.

Within individual cultures, it comes down to a man simply asking the Holy Spirit for direction, “How might I honour my wife today?”

3.  This is all very important so that, “Your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7 

Peter is making a pretty strong case for being understanding and honouring one’s wife, declaring even that if a man does not honour his wife his prayers will go unanswered. 

That is pretty strong language, and pretty profound consequences.

We all need our prayers answered.  Simple as that.

Prayer

“God we come before you today simply requesting your mercy.  All of us (women included) have been part of the enemies attack over women.  We have abused and discredited a most important part of your creation.  We have taken for granted the beauty that you have given us in women. We have heaped piles of responsibility and hardship on women.  God have mercy on us.

Please teach us to honour women.  Help us to deeply love and care for the women you have placed in our lives. May we be conduits of your love and respect and honour to women.  Thank-you for the women in my life; my Mom, my Sisters, my Aunts and my Wife.”

Application

In this month’s course focus we have been working at restoring and making right our relationships.  Today’s study begins to bring all the pieces together. 

It is important that each of us discern our involvement in keeping women in a lowered position. It is not just the men who have done this.  World-wide women participate in the mind-sets and abuses against women.  Therefore, each one of us must ask the Lord to reveal to us how we might be part of the solution towards and for women, and not part of the problem. 

Specifically, we bring what we have learned about practical confession and repentance (from the first chapter – forgiveness), we bring what we have learned about our thoughts unto good deeds (from the second chapter – compassion), and we look at our trust level with the women in our lives (from the third chapter – service), do women trust us? 

1.  As we learned in the application portion of the Forgiveness chapter, in regards to women it is very necessary to fulfill the natural requirements of justice. 

Especially here, in regards to women, there are things we have done that need to be spoken out loud and that must be confessed, both to God and to women we have offended and harmed.  

2.  Second, these offences require that we do what we can to make them right.

Coupled with this we bring forward what we learned about the thoughts we have unto good deeds towards women in general and towards the specific women in our lives.  What are the thoughts we have that are compelling us to do good to the women around us, and are we following through on these thoughts? 

3.  Finally, and most important of all, we discern if we are a trusted individual for women.  Trust is the bedrock of all relationships and this shows up nowhere else as clearly as in our relationships with women.  Do women trust you?  Does your wife trust you?  Does your daughter trust you? 

If not, then you have some serious work to attend to.  The tenor and tone of your relationships reveal the kind of person that you are.  You may know the word of God and you may know how to make church happen, but if you are not loving the women that God has placed in your care then you are defaulting on a great trust that God has given you. (footnote #2 below) 

1.  So, for this application, revisit Healing Actions as taught in the Forgiveness Application and work through that process in regards to the different women and girls in your life. 

2.  Then, we consider the thoughts and compelling unto good deeds for the women in our lives.  What have you not done that God was compelling you to do?  Make a list of the things you have not followed through on, in regards to your wife, your mother, your daughters, etc. 

Take this list and begin to work at doing these things.  Make this your top priority over the next couple of weeks.  Complete these compelling thoughts that are directing you to good deeds for the women you know. 

3.  Finally, go back to the Compassion Application regarding Trust, and with great courage ask yourself and the Lord some really hard questions – do the women in your life trust you, and if not, why? 

Ask the Lord how you might begin to rebuild any trust issues that have been broken.  Most of all, do not blame the women for your inability to be a trusting individual.  Rather, take responsibility for your actions and for the way you have been doing life and relationships.  From this point on you can begin to make the changes you need to make and life can become better. 

NOTE:  These things will take time.  You must be ready to put in a lot of effort and to go the long haul to rebuild trust and to make right what has become wrong.  But it is well worth it, and as you are faithful in this the Lord will begin to inhabit your life and prayers and ministry like never before. 

God is all about relationship and so we must also be all about relationship. 

Summary – women

Both male and female represent God.  Genesis 1:27

In the Kingdom of God gender does not matter.  Galatians 3:28

Men, live gently with your woman.  1 Peter 3:7 

Be humble with your wife and make things right with her.  Malachi 2:13-14

Footnotes: 

footnote #1 – as written in Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, 2005, 2010, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN

footnote #2 – Women are made to be reflectors. Like a mirror they reflect the kind of care they receive, the consideration that come to them, the respect give to them, how much they are loved, and more. We can tell the quality of her man by the light, her countenance, and the way she carries herself. 

A woman who is well loved and regarded walks in a strong beautiful way. A woman who is beaten down, disrespected and ill-used also reveals this in her manner, in the way she carries herself and the countenance of her face. She is the mirror that reveals the true character of the men around her. 

Men, you have great power to impact your wife. If you treat her well, if you regard her well, if you respect her, if you ask her how her day is going, if you serve her by helping her when she is overwhelmed or exhausted, if you look her in the eyes each day and tell her you love her, if you give her non-sexual touch that affirms your care for her, she will shine. 

 

Serving Up A Feast

The following message is one I gave a couple times over during my recent ministry trip to Mozambique:

I have a friend named George. He makes his living bringing out the best in other people. Every time I get together with George over a cup of tea I receive a great big hug and an ‘I love you’.

George makes it his mission in life ensuring that everyone he comes across knows they are loved. (Everyone gets a hug!) I have learned a lot from George in the time that I’ve known him.

Forefront for him is ensuring his wife and three kids know his love. There isn’t a time I have tea with George but he isn’t sharing the latest things he has been doing for his wife and kids. In his decisions and manner of being he is committed to serving his family well.

So we might ask, how it is that George can get away with hugging women who are not his wife? I tell you, it’s this: It’s because the feast, the real banquet of love and respect, of honour and regard, is happening at home.

The rest of us are just getting in on the crumbs from the table.

I propose that if we want to change our cultures and communities for God that we begin with a feast at home. Building a culture of regard, tenderness, compassion, acceptance, value, honour, mercy, dignity, justice, love, and understanding in our homes will in fact impact our world.

It begins between a husband and his wife. Men, you have more power than you know.

If you treat your wife with regard and respect each and every day she will shine. Look her in the eyes, acknowledge what she does, thank her for her sacrifices for you and your children. Take the time to ask her about her day and really listen to her. Be tender and understanding.

“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7

It has been said that a woman is a crown for her husband (Proverbs 12:4) and I ask you men, how shiny is your crown? For the quality of a man can be found in the light in his wife’s eyes, the countenance of her face, and how she carries herself.

A woman treated well, who knows she is safe and secure, is accepted and valued, will do most anything for her man. Women are naturally wired to open themselves to their man. Women are naturally wired to pour themselves out to their families and beyond. Who is pouring into her?

Perhaps you might pour into her so that she might continue giving out and opening herself to you and others.

There is a verse in Ephesians, “For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.” Ephesians 5:23, and from what I can tell this means that men are given the awesome and terrifying responsibility to answer before God one day for the health and well-being of his wife and family.

It is his role to assume 100% responsibility before God. It is a grand opportunity to become like Christ and to lay down his life in service and sacrifice.

But how is a man to take on this terrifying responsibility successfully? Well, he has been given a helper. The same word used to describe the Holy Spirit. His wife.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18

She knows things and sees things that can help you as a husband and father. Women intuit how things are and they have particular wisdom that, if respected and regarded and listened to well, will enable you as a man to stand before God one day and hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.” She is uniquely designed to help you be wildly successful.

A man who takes on the challenge of setting an every-day feast of regard and respect, love and compassion, acceptance and patience, understanding and value, will not only have a wife who shines but will have children who also know these same things. Your children will be secure and settled and they will learn faster and they will mature easier.

A wife who is stressed, afraid, unsure, has children who are stressed, afraid and unsure, and the whole family begins to suffer. A wife who is not stressed makes a soft landing place for her children and her husband will one day reap the rewards of his due care and diligence as he watches the well-lived lives of his children.

As leader of the home you set the standard, you show the way, you model Christ. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that Christ’s ministry is one of reconciling the world to himself.

Reconciling is accomplished through careful listening, by taking 100% of the responsibility for the messes around us, and through understanding. Men are called to this same ministry of reconciliation.

And not only our men, but our churches too. What if your church was to commit to holding their women in high regard? What if you as a church made sure that you uphold the safety and security and value of all your women and those round about? What kind of a difference might this make in your community and beyond?

Christ calls us to be set apart and different from the world. Well, the world disregards women. The assignments against women have been long-lasting the world over and for centuries. We the body of Christ are called to be different.

While men are creating a feast at home it must also be followed up on by the church. Are we willing as a body of Christ to support our women? Are we willing to ensure they need not remain in abusive marriages?

Are we opening up all levels of leadership within the church so that they really know they are fully welcomed and wanted? Are our churches safe for women? Will we make the honouring and dignity of our women a priority as we create church policy?

For not only does all this hold a space of value for women but it holds a space of honour and value for our men.

For men are not just beasts to be obeyed. Men are not like children who can only see their own need. Men need not be given over to rage and violence.

Rather, men are called to enlarge and strengthen the lives of everyone around them. And out of this feast that begins at home everyone else round about gets in on the crumbs and we are all changed in the process.

The feast in the Kingdom of God is for everyone and our understanding of the gospel is ultimately reflected in our ministry to women and children.

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27

The feast begins at home. The church carries it on. Everyone gets in on the crumbs. None of us remain the same.

“Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.” Isaiah 58:12