This morning in Chapel, Dr. John Street (Director, Masters of Arts in Biblical Counseling, The Master’s College) delivered a clear message to the men about their responsibilities and qualifications as seminary students, and a way to discern the type of shepherd that they will become. After all, wouldn’t we all like to know? His proposition was that we can know the type of shepherd we will be by the way we shepherd our wives, and proceeded to cover the most prominent passages on husband/wife relationships.
Mark this day – Thursday, Sept 13 – and make sure to download the mp3 as it becomes available. It will change your life.
Dr. Street explained that husbands need to be learners, lovers, and leaders. We must never stop learning about our wives. We must study them and know them. Modern culture says that men cannot know women, but this is unfortunately misinformed. It is not easy, for sure, but it is the expectation that the Lord has for us. We must be lovers. Here again, modern culture has confused the idea of love to make it sentimental or sexual. Clearly the love of a husband for his wife is as Christ to the church, or as a man for his own body. Yet, while we see how Christ loved the church by laying down his life, often we are reluctant to admit that we love ourselves. Here it is that my thinking has been changed.
Ask yourself these questions. What do you do when you get cold? You find a blanket. What do you do when you get hungry? You eat. What do you eat? You eat the best, most enjoyable food you can find or afford. What do you do when you get tired? You sleep. We provide everything for ourselves that we want or require – we must do this for our wives. We must not force them to figure out things for themselves, but avail ourselves to them, to listen, understand, and pay as much attention as we did when we were first courting.
Dr. Street used an illustration of our wives as a Ming vase, and also gave a story about counseling a woman who said she hated herself. Often it isn’t that we hate ourselves, he concluded, but that we love ourselves too much. We do everything for our own pleasure. If we hated ourselves, we would do just the opposite. Perhaps we hate something about ourselves, but that is an expression of the too-high love we have for ourselves. We set our expectations so high that when the reality is less than we desired we react to the difference.
Finally, the topic of leadership was covered. It should not be dictatorial. We don’t tell people what to do, nor drive them. Submission is a bent of the heart rather than obedience which can be reluctant outward action. We are reminded that our Great Shepherd speaks of us that we know his voice and respond, and such should be our relationship to our wives and families. May that our coming home from work be a celebratory event, and that our leadership be characterized by servanthood and kindness.
Oh that we might be a people who become greater lovers of Christ, that it might affect our entire lives!