JESUS TEACHES US THE CORE PRINCIPALS OF GODLY LEADERSHIP
Today, we are providing you with the second part of Jesus Core Principals of Godly Leadership. Now meditate on both parts and allow God to fill you with an abundances of knowledge and wisdom that will help you fulfill your role as a godly leader within your family.
3. A third principle of godly leadership requires us to be actively serving those who are to be led, instead of demanding to be served or lording it over them.
Jesus not only taught about servant leadership but he provided us with our ultimate example. As Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 cf. also John 10:11-13). Unlike the leadership of the world where kings rule by lording it over others and great men exercise authority over their subordinates, Christian leadership is built upon the leader being as the one who serves (Matthew 20:25-28; Luke 22:25-27; John 13:12-17).
Contrary to this view of leadership, many parents view their leadership role as being the right to simply bark orders and make demands, which must be obeyed, because, “I am the parent.” Along these lines, men will sometimes try to justify their claims for such behavior by appealing to Ephesians 5. By looking at both the context and Christ‘s headship of the church, it becomes clear that if a self-centered man is appealing to this biblical text to provide him authority to pursue his selfish desires for others to serve him, then he has grossly misunderstood this text. Just as it would be ludicrous for a wife to demand that her husband love her while she has no intention of submitting to him, so also it is equally wrong for a husband to demand submission if he has no intention of placing her well being above his own.
Although some people may not like the biblical message, to try to change this message is to distort the text through an artificial lens. Ephesians 5:22-24 teaches that as the church submits to Christ because he is the head of the church in the same manner wives should also submit to her husband’s because he is the head. Unbelievably, this teaching actually creates a wonderful situation unless the husband creates a problem by ignoring his role as head.
Sometimes husbands have made the lives of their wives and children a living nightmare. Then they have the audacity to attempt to use Ephesians 5 to support their sin! The reality is that such men have failed to understand their responsibility of what it means to be head before God. What did it mean for Christ to be head of the church? Did Christ make selfish demands? Did Christ seek to be served? Did Christ pursue his own interests abandoning the well-being of the church? In all cases, obviously not. Who has served more, Christ as head or the church as one in submission? Who has loved more? Such questions underline the point of the text, which is that the headship of the husband is to love his wife just as Christ has loved the church and died for her. A biblical understanding of headship destroys the fleshly notion that God intended self-centered men to dominate their wives for their own purposes.
Just as Jesus being the head of the church loved and served the church, so also the husband as head of the wife must imitate this same concept of servant leadership as he loves and serves his wife (Ephesians 5:23-33). This context describes Christ’s example of selfless love which led him to serve the church by dying for it. The clear message of the text is that husbands are to love their wives and seek their well being in the same way which Christ has loved the church. There are two equally grave potential problems here. The wife who refuses to submit and the self-centered husband who selfishly barks his own desires. Neither is godly. The husband who fails to love his wife as Christ does the church has no right to demand that she submit to him in the same way which the church does to Christ.
I would suggest that any woman whose character has led her to desire to submit to the headship of Christ for her life should also have no problem in submitting to the headship of a truly Christian husband, who though his love for her is seeking her well being just as Christ has sought the church’s. After all, if she is submitting to Christ, she hears through the inspired text the message that she is to submit to her husband. She also hears that God has placed upon him the grave responsibility to seek her well being (love her).
Why is the husband the head? He does not have this responsibility because he is smarter, more educated, more spiritual, or more deserving than his wife. In fact, she might very well be smarter, more spiritually mature, a better example of Christ, etc. He has this role simply because God has chosen to hold him responsible.
Although through fear or force, parents may succeed in forcing obedient behavior, such parents have failed to understand that truly successful godly leadership occurs when others willingly follow. True leadership is not imposed through force. It is not a title, which is bestowed. True leadership exists when people want to follow another person because they perceive something within the life message of that person to be worth imitating.
So how does a parent gain the ability to lead? Leadership is earned by first being the right type of person. The parent who will gain the ability to successfully lead his household will be the person who first demonstrates by his behavior that he has died to self in order to serve God and the well-being of his family. Where both parents are present, God ultimately will hold the husband responsible for directing the family, this principle of godly leadership through service is within the reach of every Christian who chooses to exercise it.
4. A fourth principle of godly leadership requires someone to accept the responsibility, which God has given to that person.
Within the family, God has given parents the responsibility of leadership. If both parents are present this responsibility ultimately falls upon the husband. God did not say, “if it is convenient” or “it would be better if you were the head.” Rather God demands that as head, the husband be responsible for the direction and well being of the family. And just as within the church where the leaders must give an account to God for those whom they are leading (Hebrews 13:17), so too the husband and father is responsible to God for his family. God has also given parents, especially fathers, the responsibility of raising their children in the Lord by teaching them (Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:5-9; 11:18-21).
The fact that the father is ultimately responsible before God does not mean that he must make these decisions alone without first listening to what others might have to say. In fact, it is extremely important for them to pay attention to advice (Pr. 11:14; 13:10; 15:22) so that the final decision will be full of wisdom and good judgment. God has given the wife to the husband as a helper (Gen. 2:18) and therefore she should be consulted before making decisions. Nevertheless, once the decision is made after all has been heard, it is the husband and father who bears the responsibility for that decision.
Sometimes fathers fail to accept the responsibility God has given them toward their wives and children. Many fathers pursue their own selfish interests thus abandoning the role God has given them.
Whenever parents fails to fulfill their role of godly leadership, the responsibility for leading their children will wrongly pass to a child’s peer group, a school or even the television. When an absent parent’s egoistic barked orders are met with resistance and rebellion, out of frustration and impatience a worldly parent might then even further discourage his or her children by cursing them. Instead, every parent needs to accept the leadership roles God has given us. This will require us to possess a heart devoted to God, to show our children how to live and to model serving others through love.
The principle of accepting our God given responsibility is within the grasp of each person. It is a decision. It does require work as well as death to self.
God has provided a number of biblical principles for effective leadership. Any parent who abandons these principles will find their leadership ability in God’s service severely damaged. As parents seeking to serve God, let us focus on being those whom God wants us to be. Let us provide the godly leadership that our families need, and which God has described for us. May our families be shining beacons of godly love, hope, values and all sorts of godly behavior in a world torn apart by the fruits of idolatry? Moreover, when we have finished the course, may we hear “well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in a few things. Enter into your Master’s glory.”