If you missed the first part of this blog please go here and read first to ensure that you have the proper context for this post. As with scripture sometimes having the proper context when reading really plays a part in our ability to understand the writing.
So, my first question has to be: Did you answer the questions? And did you ask your spouse to provide her insight? I feel it only right that if I am going to write these words that I expose my own failures and sins so to be honest I asked the questions and felt confident that I was right as to what she would say. I knew that she was in Ephesians during her quiet time. I stated it confidently and a little pridefully. I was WRONG! It was James, so don’t feel bad if you were not on the side of the questions that you wanted to be or hoped that you would be. The point is to take an assessment so that afterwards a plan of attack can be designed and then implemented.
And that is where we are now. What should that plan look like? Well to be honest I can’t tell you that here specifically because I believe that it is going to be different for every home in the logistics and actions. But what I can give you is what the Holy Spirit gave me as a guide and a few that I got from guys like MacArthur, Piper, Grudem, Chandler, Chan, Jarmon, & Harrison (That is Phil, not Tyler).
I believe before we discuss the guide that we must set an understood baseline for our topic. Meaning there are several truths that are transcendent in regards to your home, personality, number of children, background, etc. The first is this: You must be a man of the Word. You may ask well that sounds great but what does that mean? It means that you are diligently and almost as a man in the desert would drink water studying the Word. Not as a chore or as in a ritual but out of pure desire and need. I have reached a place in my walk that if I do not read my Bible in the morning and have that time with God I will struggle throughout the day with my whole day. And that is not to say there aren’t struggles in the days that I do read. But the way that I address those struggles, my clarity and insight into God’s direction for those struggles, my attitude during and after those struggles bare direct correlation to my closeness to the Word. The way that I address my Wife, children, and co-workers all have a direct correlation to that time that I spend in the morning.
The second is this: You must be a man of Action. There is no place in God’s Kingdom work for lazy and unmotivated husbands and dads. Now keep perspective that you may work 15 hour days and still be a lazy husband and dad.
Now, hold tight and get ready for the Rules of Engagement. Before I give them to you I want to give an easy generic definition of what those are for those that were not in the military. The Rules of Engagement are the guidelines that are given to all troops when they go into a battlefield that outlines what conduct is acceptable, required, and expected.
Here are the official ITG Rules of Engagement:
1. We must be men that develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle.
This means you must understand that life is short and that Heaven and Hell hang in the balance for your family. That the love of your job, money, hunting, sports, cars, etc. is spiritual suicide for your family.
2. We as husbands must love our wife the way that scripture instructs: “As Christ loved the Church”.
This means being sacrificial of our wants, desires, time, money and life. This requires us to be humble, upbuilding, self-denying, and a happy willing spiritual leader. All of these require that we are constantly growing in our knowledge of God and willing to cultivate a continual conversation so that we can show tenderness and strength to our helper. And finally that we accept the responsibility of protection and provision for our families.
3. We as men must accept that we have the primary responsibility to raise up children that are disciplined not only in life but most importantly in the Word.
We should develop a method of life that does not depend on the church or the schools to impart wisdom to our children. Remember that you children are being taught by someone something!
4. We as men must be men of prayer.
We have to understand that through prayer several things will and must happen for us to successful as men. Through prayer we must ask that the Word of God be opened to our understanding. And that God’s holiness and power will descend upon us that the we can be the primary spiritual influence in our homes.
5. We as men must also have a deep understanding of God’s Sovereign Grace.
We have to allow the promises of Christ to be so fully trusted that His peace, joy, and strength overflow our souls. And that our understandings and motivations will be with the clear defined purpose that God is in control. This has to undergird every aspect of our lives.
6. We as men must also develop a plan for life ministry.
We have to understand that God is never done with us and expects us as believers to have a ministry. We should remember that life is divided into chapters by age, singleness, marriage, employment, children at home, children in college, grandchildren, retirement, etc. We must understand that not one chapter of life contains all of the joys or the sorrows. And that what determines the success of these chapters, is did we find God’s will and live it for His glory?
Basically all of this boils down to the command that Christ gave us in Luke 10:27
27 And He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, …” ESV
The reason that I titled this the “Rules of Engagement Make Men Cry” is because they do just that. When we are young and trying to figure all of this out the pain from failure and learning can cause tears. It is not easy to maintain these rules or to put them into action, hence tears of pain, frustration, and complete and udder exhaustion. But hopefully if executed properly and with God’s grace, there will be tears of joy as we see our sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters seeking after Christ and trying to live this Godly legacy that they were taught. And at the end, it will be tears of joy as we go home to see our Lord and to worship Him who preserved us through life’s trials.
God Bless. TR