It is the end of August and many of us women find ourselves in the middle of a very full schedule. Our days seem to overflow with more to get done then we have time for. Sports, school, social events and the usual change-of-season activities will consume our time if we allow it. Ladies, my encouragement to you today is this: manage well.
As a woman, you are in a position of management whether that is your desire or not. God has assigned you a leadership role within his framework for the family. It makes no difference whether you feel “called”, equipped or adequate. The role is yours. I want you to pick it up and carry with it wisdom and grace.
In a Christian home with the biblical complementarian structure, it can be difficult to understand what our specific functions are. We are called to submit to the leadership of our husbands (Eph. 5:2), and we do so with gladness and trust in our Lord. Does this now relieve us of any leadership burdens or the responsibility to direct family life? Not at all.
You may be surprised to learn how much of the responsibility of family life rests on our shoulders. One of the teaching points older women are to help the younger women learn in Titus 2:5 is how to be “working at home”. The Greek word for this, oikourgos, can be translated as “keeper of the house” or “taking care of household affairs”. Another good example is found in 1 Timothy 5:14 where Paul encourages the younger widows to remarry, “bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” The Greek used here is oikodespoteō, which translates “to rule a household, manage family affairs.” These are strong directives from the Lord.
As women we are to manage our homes. This authority (yes, authority) is given to us as a responsibility from God. Understand this is done under the headship of the husband (1 Cor. 11:3); our authority comes under his authority, but this does not decrease its significance or vitality. In fact, it increases it. If we direct and manage our homes well, what a blessing that is to our husbands and families!
This makes good biblical sense when we look at the standard given in the woman of excellence in Proverbs 31. She (this perfect woman who does not exist) is the epitome of a woman managing her household well. Her life is the fruit of a heart devoted to the Lord and I encourage you to study her. Proverbs 31:27-28: She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” This smart woman has her act together and is actively managing a household, because of this everyone around her is blessed.
Do not equate managing with having a clean house (oh, my, I would fail often!). That factors in (caring for what God has blessed us with), but it is not the core of this role. Managing a home well includes being organized, managing time and schedules, coordinating activities, providing for needs, being wise with finances, keeping the priorities of the family in place, setting boundaries, maintaining discipline and much more. Above all, it means pointing others continually to Christ and ensuring all you do as a family and in the home reflects that priority.
The directive to be a “keeper of the home” applies to all women. Whether you are young, old, single, married, with or without children, living in a mansion or an apartment. All women must manage their household well, whatever it may look like. Although unpopular because of societal pressures, this command from God to manage our homes will best be accomplished when we are actually there, present at home. Unless authentic necessity dictates otherwise I encourage women to grab hold of this awesome responsibility from God and run with it. Be home, be present and hone your home to be an instrument of the gospel and a launching pad for ministry.
Ladies, step up to this task, understanding what hangs in the balance. Reading further in Titus 2:5 we are told we work at home “that the word of God may not be reviled.” In 1 Timothy 5:14, we manage our households to “give the adversary no occasion for slander.” We stand guard over the hearts in our home by lifting the Word of God high and fending off our adversary. What a position of tremendous influence assigned to us by God!
So stand strong in the power of Holy Spirit and walk in obedience to what you have been called to. Through Christ, strive to be an Excellent Woman and manage well.
Go Hawks! Football is coming and I can’t wait to hear our Gary Dolphin yell out, “Touchdown, Iowa!” But… sorry, football fans, I’m not referring to an athletic conference today. I’m talking about the original “Big Ten”, God’s Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. The Cascade Knights of Columbus recently erected a beautiful stone monument along the Davidshofer Trail in town. This monument has the Ten Commandments on one side (albeit Exodus 20:4 is left out, look that up and ask why) and the beatitudes on the other. It is awesome and everyone should go see it.
I hope this monument causes us to stop and think about these commandments. Why did God give them to us? Is it just a holy checklist for us to measure our good behavior? If we score above 50% in this life do we pass the test and go to Heaven? I can probably make it through life without killing anyone, but I’m not sure I can walk through Target without coveting.
The Ten Commandments are God’s law. James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” So, if we fail even one commandment, we fail completely (no Heaven). Keeping all of these rules is impossible. Especially after Jesus declares lusting equal to adultery (Matthew 5:28) and hate equal to murder (1 John 3:15). So are we without hope and utterly doomed?
Remember this when you see the Ten Commandments: Jesus! Jesus alone lived a perfect life and fulfilled God’s law (Matthew 5:17). He took this holy checklist to the cross and said, “It is finished.” Where does this leave us? Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Confess Jesus as your Lord and he will share his perfect score and let it count as yours. That is called grace and it is only God’s grace that can save you. When you see the Ten Commandments, think on Jesus.
We women want strong, godly husbands who lead well. I hear it often and I understand. We want the embodiment of what Paul states in 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
Today, I want to ask you women: how are YOU working at helping your husband become a mighty man of God? Are you fulfilling your role in this area? Now, obviously it is only God that can transform the hearts and minds of our men, but he has also graciously given us a prime position of influence. God will use us as we are obedient to him. I have created a list of ways that you can encourage your husband in his leadership role. This list was made with a Christian husband and wife in mind.
A quick note before we begin, a proper understanding of submission in regards to your husband leading is key. If you picture submitting to his leadership as putting your hands up in the air and slowly backing away while giving him the “this is all on you” stare, then you are getting it wrong. Biblical submission takes place when we, as wives, come alongside our husbands (as equals and co-heirs in Christ), speaking wisdom and giving grace-filled encouragement. Submission when rightly done will draw the two of you closer together and not farther apart. It will shine the light on the gospel and not yourselves. Yeah, I know the world tells you different. They lie. As for me, I’m siding with God. Mini lesson over, put these tips to the test:
#1 – Read your Bible daily (Col. 3:16) and pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17). Did you really think I would list anything else as the number one priority? Nothing is more important. You must first have your heart aligned with God and his commands, only then you will be equipped to help your husband.
#2 – Gently encourage the same for your husband. As best as you are able, provide him with the time and space he needs to focus on the Word and talk with God. Keep the children or allow him to skip helping clean up, whatever it takes. He must be filled with Christ to lead well, so as much as you are able, put the two of them together.
#3 – Ask your husband to pray for you. Preferably out loud. This is a simple yet effective way to show him that you trust him and desire for him to lead you before God. Afterwards show your appreciation even if he fumbled for words.
#4 – Ask your husband questions. If there is something that you are confused about in the Bible or at church go to your husband FIRST. This is biblical (see 1 Cor. 14:35), but it also reinforces your husband as the go-to person for biblical guidance. He may not know the answer, but appreciate whatever insight he can give.
#5 – Pray for your husband out loud. Let him hear you thank God for him and his leadership in your home and marriage.
#6 – Have a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). Be kind and not overbearing in your opinions. Don’t flood your husband with constant words or requests. Display respectful and pure conduct (1 Peter 3:2). Aka – be easy for him to lead.
#7 – Follow his lead willingly - in the small and the big. Help him be known as the decision maker. Not all of his decisions will be good, trust God and follow anyway (never into sin, that remains off limits).
#8 – Speak about his leadership. Tell your children that Dad is the head of the family as God designed and is who you look to for direction. Then be sure to live it out, do not passively refute his authority by your actions or expressions.
#9 –Understand, his leading may not look how you want it to. God decides how he should lead well, not you. Put away your personal expectations.
#10 –Give physical affection. Don’t shy away from his attention and be available (yep, you know what I mean). There is a tendency for us women to pull away and try to dodge this as often as possible. If you want to encourage your man to be strong and lead, become one flesh with him without complaining or making excuses. “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. Do not deprive one another…” - 1 Cor. 7:3 and 5a.
#11 – Finally, remember Jesus always. He alone is your hope and salvation. You serve your husband because you are first and foremost serving the Lord. Your husband will fail. In these times, remember the cross and give grace.
Ladies, trust the Lord and what he calls you to, even when it is not easy. A woman who fears the Lord is what I have described above. She is not passive or dull or lacking in any way. She is competent, hardworking and grace-filled. God tells us in Proverbs 31:30 that this is the type of woman who is to be praised! Walk in his words and help your husband lead well.
This is what the sign said. I walked past it at least a dozen times over the last few days while camping. A dump station is where human waste goes to stay and should not be a place that people go to fill up. How absurd to think that someone might actually take a drink out of the hose there. Right? Blech! It got me thinking, we women need signs like this in our own lives. Signs posted to help us remember that once we get rid of waste in our lives, we should not pick it up again.
Yet, we do this all the time. We struggle with a sin, overcome it and put it away from us, then in a “weak” moment we find ourselves giving in to temptation (enticed by our own desires, see James 1:14). We go to our personal dump and grab up our old sin again, taking a nice long drink of contaminated death-water.
The Bible has a verse for this, Proverbs 26:11, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” Another nice image for us to remember.
Why do we continually return to familiar sins that we know bring no fulfillment or satisfaction to our lives? It is idiotic and fits the definition of insanity. Yet it is a disturbing pattern that we fall prey to far too often. As unsettling as it is to think of getting a drink from a hose used to rinse out sewer lines or a dog eating his same lunch twice, what happens in our lives is much more grotesque.
Ponder this with me for a minute. We (Christians) allow ourselves to revel in darkness and sin, while having full knowledge of the price paid for us to be free from this entrapment. We gratify ourselves while staring at the bleeding, dying body of Christ on the cross, knowing it was our sin that put him there. Now, that is utterly disturbing behavior. Let’s not take this lightly.
The warning signs have already been posted for us, we just need to pay attention and heed what God has written. “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Isaiah 59:2. Knowing this is what sin causes, why would we ever return to it? Why do we act the fool and repeat our folly? Stop it already. Put your sin away for good. Don’t keep returning and drinking from the same contaminated well. Have you forgiven a wrong? Then don’t take the hurt back up. Have you been granted peace? Then don’t fall back into anxiety. Have you turned from sexual immorality? Then don’t seek satisfaction of the flesh once again. The disease found in these waters will bring you misery, just like last time you tried them.
Ladies, commit yourselves to drinking from the one source of living waters, which is Jesus Christ. Only he can keep you from enslaving yourself once again to old habitual sins. If you are his, remember he finished his work on that cross and is victorious over all sin. We are able to enjoy that victory along with him. “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.
Once you let go of a sin in your life, don’t go picking it up again. It is waste and belongs in the dump of hell. Walk forward under the grace of God and in the victory of Christ.