Called to Lead
According to the scripture, a husband has four callings, the first of which is to be a leader, or “the head of the wife.” But what does that mean? It doesn’t mean control, passive non involvement, asserted superiority, or taking advantage. On the contrary, a husband must never use his role as leader for selfish benefit. To do so would deviate from the word of God.
A husband must never put his wife into a straitjacket of compliance, or she will wither and her love for him will die. Sadly, instead of allowing the Lord to show us how to lead, too often we allow our culture to define how our marriage should be. And for a Christian marriage that’s a failure waiting to happen. Even recent secular research has shown that what kills the love of a spouse for the other is attempting to control our partner rather than serve them.
The issue of the man’s leadership in the home has been a concern for years. However, God expects the Christian man to lead and direct with love in his home. Ephesians 5:22-23 states, “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 savior of the body.” This passage speaks of the authority of a husband’s headship, but it also defines and limits it. The analogy of Christ’s relationship to the church as a basis for the husband’s headship means that the only time he has the right to exercise family authority is when he does it in ways that are consistent with Christ’s nature and purpose. A man’s motives for leading a marriage spiritually can sometimes be mixed, but when he allows God to lead him and when his heart is open to God and His purposes, then his headship receives His support.
So what does that kind of leadership look like in practical terms? The authority God gives men to lead is built on service. This is a difficult balancing and juggling act for many. The problem is not with the teaching, but with the man who misuses the teaching that he is to lead or to serve his own needs and desires. Some men behave like drill sergeants, snapping out orders at their wives and children, which doesn’t reflect Scripture but their own selfishness and insecurity.
The truth is, a husband is called to think of others—particularly his wife—first, ahead of himself. That’s not easy for many men. For one thing, the idea of being a servant leader runs counter to the thinking in our present-day “me” culture. But with some hard work and sacrifice, it can be done. Even Jesus said the son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many (St. Mark 10:45).
I’ve seen both kinds of leadership. I’ve seen the self-appointed “dictators” who distort scriptural teaching for their own benefit. The result of this kind of leadership is that marriages and families suffer and fragment. But I’ve also observed men who are servant leaders, whose families flourished as a result.
God Bless You
Pastor Versal Mason