Today we are going to look at 10 Core Truths of male headship. Last time, we explored the nature of biblical headship. We will try to move to a little more practical approach today. So, let’s begin.
Core Truth #1: Headship Is More A Responsibility Than A Right
First off, let’s define “right”. A “right” is something that we feel we are owed or something that we are just entitled to. In a marriage, a husband may think that their “right” might enable them to be authoritarian or even be self-serving. A “responsibility” is something that we have a duty to perform and be accountable for. When we look at headship as a sacred trust in which a husband is commanded by God to lead, honor, and sacrifice for his wife, the atmosphere surrounding headship turns to leading with a servant’s heart.
Core Truth #2: Headship Is The Authority To Serve
The great evangelical Christian leader, John Stott, who passed away last year, explained this as “If headship means ‘power’ in any sense, then it is power to care, not to crush; power to serve, not to dominate; power to facilitate self-fulfillment, not to frustrate or destroy it. And in all this the standard of the husband’s love is to be the cross of Christ, on which he surrendered himself even to death in his selfless love for his bride.” In this passage, it is easy to see that our service should be one that is self-sacrificing.
Core Truth #3: Headship Is The Opportunity To Lead
To explore this Truth we must look at Jesus as our example. How did he mentor his disciples? First, Jesus was a great teacher and led the disciples by teaching them the truths of God.
In John 13:15, Jesus said, “For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you.” So, Jesus led by His example and we are to lead by modeling Christ’s love.
Jesus also spent time with His disciples. His disciples as a whole were not highly intelligent, but thought to be common men. After their time with Jesus they did many great things and led with authority.
Lastly, Jesus delegated authority to his disciples. In Luke 10, there is a great depiction of how Jesus had trained his followers and then gave them the authority to take the Word of God to each of the surrounding cities.
Do we teach our families God’s word, model Christ in our home, spend time with them, and allow them to be missionaries outside of the home?
Core Truth #4: Headship Is Scripturally Bound
There are no commands in God’s Word that allow a husband to lead his family in any way that is contrary to the Bible. If you choose to ask your wife to do something that violates the Bible, she has the freedom to not only refuse your request, but it is her responsibility. As husbands, we are bound to leading in our homes with a love like Christ. As long as we are holding up this bargain, our families are bound to respect and submit to our authority.
Core Truth #5: Headship Involves The Responsibility To Make A Final Decision
When there is disagreement between the husband and wife on a family issue, the husband has the responsibility to make the final decision. As long as the husband has decided that he is within the definition of being the headship, he has the ultimate final say. It should be said, however, that the husband has the authority to allow his wife to make a decision and this does not undermine the headship.
Core Truth #6: Headship Calls For Gentleness And Sensitivity
In Colossians 3:19, Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” This is a direct call for husband to be gentle and show some sensitivity with our wives. It is important that husbands not create bigger problems in their marriage by getting impatient or feeling that their wife is nagging him. We need to understand that our wives have a need to express themselves emotionally and our ability to approach their feelings with gentleness and sensitivity can go a long way to improving our relationship.
Core Truth #7: Headship Does Not Give Husbands The Right To Be Wrong
This is very much the same as Core Truth #4. A husband has no authority to lead outside of the Scripture. That being said, if you are leading with a servant’s heart your wife will probably be willing to submit to your decision as long as it is not a violation of the Word. Make your decisions wisely.
Core Truth #8: Headship Is Honoring One’s Wife
In 1 Peter 3:7, the Bible states, “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.” When we honor something we show respect, admiration, or tribute to something. This is how we are to be to our wives. How important is this to our marriage? Well, the verse states that failing to honor our wives will lead to our prayers being hindered. So, failing to honor our wives is like not honoring Jesus and this blocks our ability to talk with the Lord.
Core Truth #9: Headship Is Loving And Caring For Your Wife As Much As We Love And Care For Ourselves
I think we have used the following words already in this post: sacrifice, selfless, surrender, service, sensitivity. Do you see any room for selfish amongst those? I would like to think of this as my two legs. If one leg is me and the other leg is my family, then I am not going to get very far unless I take equal care of both.
Core Truth #10: Headship is Loving and Caring For One’s Wife As Much As Christ Loves And Cares For Us
Christ’s love for us is unconditional, eternal, unselfish, and sacrificial. John Stott once said, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for her, in order to cleanse her, sanctify her, and ultimately present her to himself in full splendor and without any defect.” As husbands, we are to have a similar role with our wives. Stott says a husband “longs to see her liberated from everything which spoils her true feminine identity and growing towards that glory, that perfection of fulfilled personhood which will be the final destiny of all those whom Christ redeems.”
Jesus gave all of himself in love. As husbands we are to give of ourselves in love.