This week I am continuing the focus on the third tenant of being a faithful father – to lead spiritually by example. Once one has accepted Jesus the Christ as Savior and begins the journey to serve Him as Lord, learning to love as Jesus loved is a key dimension of leading spiritually in family.
Spiritual leadership is love in action. Often, love is thought of as a noun, a feeling of affection or attraction. In marriage, while the feeling of love may be the initial catalyst for the relationship, the wedding vows call for, “I do.” That includes loving through, “better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” Young marrieds tend to just hear better, richer and in health. Worse, poorer and sickness provide the testing ground for ‘love the noun’ to move to ‘love the verb’, love in action.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, – Ephesians 5:25. This is ‘love the verb’! Once we realize that we are supposed to die for our wives, the ultimate love in action, everything else will pretty well fall in line. Jesus’ selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love was exemplified with every circumstance, every interaction, every discussion and every step He faced across His ministry. On occasion, there were associated feelings of love expressed, other times not so much. If feelings waned, Jesus loved on, all the way to the cross. 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. – 1Peter 3.7. The implication here is that if one does not show honor to his wife, and to women in general, his prayer life may be hindered. Today, the culture does not honor women with its perverted perspective on love. By the culture, I am referring to us men in general. If women were indeed being honored as Scripture calls for, there would be no demand for pornography or sex-trafficking. Thus, learning to love as a man, husband and father is foundational for leading spiritually by example. Only then will kids catch the example of healthy relationships in the home and make wise choices as the culture works to pervert their perspective on love.
Learning to love tips (1Cor.13:3-8):
- Love is patient and kind;
- Love does not envy or boast;
- It is not arrogant or rude.
- It does not insist on its own way;
- It is not irritable or resentful;
- It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth;
- Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things;
- Love never fails.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and for Your example. I confess that I had a very limited understanding of love, primarily love as a noun, when I married. Forgive me. By Your grace I am learning how to love as You love, love in action that honors my bride. On the journey, I realize that I indeed love her more today than when we married years ago. For Your glory, our marriage has been a daily witness of our love for You in family. Help me lead spiritually by example by learning to love as You love. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father leads spiritually by learning to love as Christ loves.