SO WHO ARE WE? 8 TRUTHS ABOUT MALE AUTHORITY
Being real men is not just about gender; it is about spiritual maturity in all areas of life. Therefore, manhood is about our calling and not about any competition with women.
Truth #1: We have a gender-unique leadership role in our marriages. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says: “But there is one thing I want you to know: A man is responsible to Christ, a woman is responsible to her husband, and Christ is responsible to God” (NLT). Then, in verse 8 it says: “For the first man didn't come from woman, but the first woman came from man.” I don't know why God made this arrangement. In many ways our wives are more competent than we are. Wise men will lean on their wives to decide many things for the family. In the end, it is not a matter of competence or even gender; it is a matter of following God's order.
When I was in grade school, my desk was closest to the door. That made me the leader for fire drills. Why was I the leader? Because I was more competent? No. Because I was a boy? No. It was because the teacher said so.
Truth #2: We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and give ourselves up for her. Our authority is for sacrificing and protecting our wives, not for lording power over them. We don't need to be less strong to be a servant, nor do we need for our wives to be weak so that we can appear strong.
Truth #3: We are to train up our children without provoking them to anger (see Eph. 6:4). Our sense of authority must be strong enough to guide, correct and discipline our children (see Heb. 12:9) in a way that evokes respect and not anger. That takes an inner confidence that only comes with understanding the authority God has given us. I often told our sons when they were growing up: “It is not my favorite thing to discipline you, but it is the role that God gave me. Therefore, we will both do the right thing.” They are all great Christian men today, and dearly love their mom and me.
Truth #4: We are to conduct business with confidence and integrity (see Matt. 25:20-21). Men are not to be cowards when it comes to giving their all in the business world, nor are we to think of our capital as our own. Authority follows the man who has invested with Another in mind. Also, our wives are more likely to increase their respect for us when we have done our jobs with confidence and competence, using the authority we have in our arenas to produce profit for the good of all.
Truth #5: We are to provide leadership in the church after first prioritizing our household (see 1 Tim. 3:1, 4). Taking responsibility in the church is also a part of the authority we are to exercise. Of course, an overseer is a servant-leader. Taking responsibility to care for the church (God's family) is an expression of the authority God delegates to us.
Truth #6: We are to take the lead in battling that which could ruin our part of the world (see Gen. 2:15). Since the Garden of Eden, God has specifically given the man the mandate to “cultivate” (be productive) and to “keep” (be protective). The latter refers to the fact that even in a paradise, there are things that can creep in and ruin the good that has been produced. Therefore, the man has the responsibility and authority to guard his house and his family (and sometimes his workplace and his country) from that which could harm or pollute its well-being.
Truth #7: We are to train other men who will train other men (see 2 Tim. 2:2). Our responsibility does not end with our family. We are charged with training up other mature men also, who will train others. This kind of authority, again, is not a dominating kind. The whole “accountability” dynamic has gotten distorted into “I'm your spiritual boss” silliness. Mentoring is support, teaching and guidance for those who desire that kind of leadership in their lives.
Truth #8: We are to complement our wives in their leadership roles in family, church and society. Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him'” (NAS). Helper does not mean weak. Which is stronger: the one who needs the help or the helper?
Therefore, part of our authority comes from listening to our wives. Another part of our authority is to empower and serve them so that they can also be leaders in the family, the church and society.
When we men remember that all of life is stewardship-that is, the management of God's goods for Him-we will not use the delegated authority we have in an arrogant or prideful way. We will use our authority to lift up others, as Christ did for us.
Joel C. Hunter, D. Min., is pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, located in central Florida. His wife, Becky, is thrilled to have him as leader of their home ... unless he tries to buy another yellow Jeep.