Each husband is called to live in an understanding way with his wife (1 Peter 3:7). The head must be in tune with the rest of the body and as its needs are met, the body cooperates and works with its head. must be able to follow. This is the goal and, by God’s grace, the outworking of the Spirit in Christian marriage which recognizes mutuality regardless of gender or role distinctions.
A man who loves his wife as Christ loves the church, who emulates the headship of Christ*, is very different than the man referred to in the last post on headship, which is based on extreme situations I see and hear on a regular basis. Biblical headship is a result of personal redemption and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We all fail. But those who belong to Jesus will admit failure and sin, demonstrating humility and dependence on God Himself. That is the most impactful evidence of Christlikeness.
One does not have to look far without seeing the loving care of Jesus for His body: those who are under His care and influence. Here is a look at the Messianic psalms and how Jesus, our Head, is described:
- He provides unconditional acceptance and safety. His presence is accompanied by goodness, joy, and pleasure. (Psalm 16)
- He understands and empathizes with being forsaken, betrayed, abandoned and afflicted.(Psalm 22)
i.e. He does not forsake, threaten, betray, abandon or afflict others. You get the idea…
- Jesus delivers from fear, He hears and answers when called upon, He is good, He offers refuge and provides generously for physical needs. He can be trusted with broken hearts and crushed spirits. He Himself turns to and trusts His Father to care for Him in desperate circumstances instead of taking it out on others. He frees us from guilt. (Psalm 34)
- He fights those who fight us; He contends with those who contend with us. Our enemy is His enemy. He causes those who intend evil to turn aside. He rescues those afflicted by one who is stronger, who robs, slanders, jests at their fate, winks maliciously, speaks deceit, and rejoices at their distress. He steps in, speaks up, comes to their right and cause and delights in prospering His own. (Psalm 35)
- He delights to do His Father’s will; to proclaim righteousness and demonstrate faithfulness. He comes to the aid of His own in mercy, compassion, and truth. He is a very real help and savior (Psalm 40).
- He does not turn us over to the desires of our enemies. He protects, sustains and restores us when we are hurt and broken. He is gracious and delights in integrity. (Psalm 41)
Examples of Jesus continue throughout the Bible, especially Psalms, Isaiah, and the gospels.
A body that is cared for the way Jesus cares for His bride will be healthy and vibrant. It will love and serve others outside itself. The head and body will work together: thinking, doing, and loving in constructive, creative ways. They take joy in activities and experiences both alone and with others as a unified front–protecting one another from harm as well as nurturing, training, loving and coming to aid of others. The head and body that work together and love one another glorify God in the eyes of others, and apart from others. They serve one another well, emanating joy, peace, longsuffering, faithfulness–supernatural, spiritual qualities that are not fake or forced. Those inside the family circle see and experience the goodness of God as it is lived out in and through a healthy, Christ-centered marriage.
Together, husband and wife do what Jesus did in His earthly body–see and meet needs, declare repentance with hope, love and breathe life into the world around them. By God’s grace, this is His work in my life and marriage and I am incredible blessed that God reveals Himself through ordinary people. Perfect? No. Trusting and Obeying? Only by His grace.
This is the outcome of true, biblical headship.
*Ephesians 1:22, 4:15, 5:23; Colossians 1:18