Loving by Leading
By David Jachim
The Bible has a great deal to say about the topic of love, as well it should since the God of Holy Scripture IS love! It is God’s perfect being and character that provides us with the very definition of love. Apart from God Almighty, we would be unable to know what love is. He has given us a gracious gift by allowing us the privilege of experiencing love in this life, as well as in the life to come. This gift of love includes our relationship to our Creator, as well as our relationship with those who are on this earth, especially those of our own family.
In the family structure, God has ordained certain roles and responsibilities that must be fulfilled by the various members of this unit in order to function as a biblical, Christ-honoring family. For the husband and father of the family, the role is to be the leader in the home. This leadership is clearly communicated to us in the book of Ephesians, where it states:
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church(Ephesians 5:23, KJV)
The question to answer is not “Who should lead?”, but “What kind of leader should the family patriarch be?” In order to answer this question, we must look to God’s perfect Word since we know that the Bible is sufficient for us in every area of life. For the husband, Scripture teaches us that Christ is our example and we are called to live in a manner that models the love that the Savior has shown to His Church. In Ephesians 5:25, we are taught the following:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (KJV)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the standard by which we are to model love in the closest and most intimate relationships that God has given us on earth. As we look to Christ and how He leads His Church, we will know how we are to lead our wife and family.
Let us examine the leadership of the Lord and determine what specific applications we can make based on this perfect example. Our love should be like His and contain the following aspects:
Providing love - But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19, KJV) The Lord meets all of our needs and we must model His provision toward us by responsibly caring for the needs of those in our family.
Protecting love - “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3, KJV) The Lord protects us from our enemy and as the leader in our home, we must be guarding those under our care. We must be aware of the many influences that communicate messages (including people, magazines, books, music, movies, and clothing) and make sure that our household is managed in a manner that only allows messages that are consistent with godliness.
Sacrificial love - “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice] for our sins.” (1 John 4:4, KJV) Since Jesus showed His love by sacrificing His life for His Bride, we must live a life that will sacrifice our selfish ambitions and pursuits. We need to be willing to lay down our life daily to care for our family and their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Sanctifying love - We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10, KJV) Just like Jesus performs a work in His Church to bring them along the path of holiness, we need to be discipling our wife and children in the ways of the Lord. Our words and our actions should teach our family the importance of being faithful servants who are obedient to all of the Lord’s commandments. In order to carry out this responsibility, we must know the Law of God ourselves and must be able to effectively communicate that Law to those that are under our authority.
Unconditional love - But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:4-5, KJV) Just as God showed his love to us when we were in rebellion against Him, we need to show an unconditional love to our family that is not dependent on current performance or past achievements.
Forgiving love - Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34, KJV) When Jesus was being crucified on the Cross of Calvary, He willingly forgave those who put Him to such an agonizing death even though they did not ask for His forgiveness. As we model Christ to our family, we must have a love that is willing to forgive and not keep any record of those wrongs.
Honoring love - Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7, KJV) We are to show our love to our dear help meet by giving her honor through our words and actions that demonstrate how precious and delicate she is.
Intercessory love - Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25, KJV) As the leader in our home, we must be making prayerful intercession to our gracious Heavenly Father on behalf of each of the precious souls that God has entrusted to us.
Compassionate love - Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren (1 Peter 3:8, KJV) Just as Jesus is full of compassion, the love for our family should be compassionate, always looking to the best interest of those under our care.
This Valentine’s Day, may we give our families something of greater worth, more meaning, and more lasting than flowers or candy. May we give them a commitment of love that will be consistent with the ideal that Christ has modeled for His Church.