Nov
29

Men, Get Your Priorities Right

HT: Crossway Blog

3 Reasons to Prioritize Your Marriage Over Your Children

By Voddie Baucham, Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes

There is sometimes a tendency to prioritize our children to the neglect of our marriage. There are at least three reasons that make prioritizing our children over our marriage both foolish and dangerous:

1. Our children will eventually leave home. Prepare your marriage for the empty nest:
To my knowledge, I’ve never talked to a person who divorced after twenty-five or thirty years who didn’t say something like this: “Once the kids were gone, we realized we really didn’t have much of a marriage.” Building a marriage on the foundation of the preeminence of children is like building a house on a rented removable slab. You may have days or even years when you feel completely secure, but the day is coming when the lease will be up and the foundation upon which your home stands will be taken away. A family shepherd must not allow his family to fall into this trap.

2. Our marriage forms the cornerstone of our children’s security:
Ironically, those who prioritize their children above their marriage are not only jeopardizing their marriage, they’re actually depriving their children of the very thing they desire to provide them. The greatest source of security our children have in this world is a God-honoring, Christ-centered marriage between their parents. Putting the children first is like a police officer putting away his badge and gun in order to make the public feel more at ease. A family shepherd must put his marriage before his children in order to provide them with the security they both need and desire.

3. Putting your marriage first will actually prepare your children for marriage:

Prioritizing your children above your marriage is both foolish and dangerous because it sets a precedent that contradicts one of the greatest lessons you’ll ever teach your children—how to be good husbands and wives. We must first and foremost model a commitment to marriage. Failure to do this will communicate ideas that are contrary to what we believe—starting with the narcissism it tends to create in our children—including the pitfalls that may follow them into their marriage. For example, if we prioritize our children above our marriage, we teach our children that marriage exists for children. If this is the case, how will our children react to the early months or years of their marriage when there are no children? How will they respond if, God forbid, they should struggle with infertility? If the heart of marriage is “living for the kids,” these scenarios could be difficult at best.

Jesus our Savior—and our example of what a bridegroom truly is—laid down his life for his bride (Eph. 5:25). He doesn’t neglect her for another. And it’s this relationship of our Savior to his bride that governs our understanding of our role as husbands and family shepherds. We must give ourselves to and for our wives. We must view them not only as ours but as us! As I often remind myself concerning my wife, “She’s not just mine; she’s me. She’s bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (Gen. 2:23); she’s my body (Eph. 5:28–29), and I am her head (1 Cor. 11:3Eph. 5:23). We are one (Eph. 5:31; see also Gen. 2:24); and our union is a blessing to our children (1 Cor. 7:14).”

As family shepherds, our primary mission is to love our wives as our own selves. We must not allow anything to interfere with this mission. Neither our careers nor our children can be allowed to keep us from our task of modeling for the world the beautiful, mysterious, one-flesh union of our Savior and his bride (Eph. 5:33).

Feb
22

10 Resolutions for Mental Health

About once year I return to Clyde Kilby’s 10 resolutions for mental health. I first heard about them from Piper, a former student of his, and have found them to be excellent.

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death when he said: “There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the “child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”

8. I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.

Jan
07

Read The Bible in 2011

I am a little late in posting this, but it might be helpful for some. If you would like a reading plan, which starts today and covers the OT and NT in 2011, click here.

Oct
13

Blessed in Christ

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing…”

Jun
22

Humble, Carefree Living

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5.6-7

It looks like there are two exhortations in the passage above. In fact, there is only one: “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” In verse 7, Peter tells us how to do that—casting all your anxieties on him.

We don’t normally think of anxiety as something that is rooted in pride. In fact, when we are most anxious, we often feel least confident (and we think that is humility). Yet, the truth of the matter is that we feel anxious because we refuse to trust God, and refusing to trust God is the proudest act.

Casting our anxieties on him humbles us because we are acknowledging our need and dependence upon the Lord. We are confessing that we cannot handle the issues that are causing our worry. “Lord, I need you in this today. Without you, I can do nothing.” That is the plea of the humble.

Notice two more things from this text. First, God’s hand is mighty. There are no circumstances which he cannot handle. There is absolutely nothing you are facing or could possibly face that God cannot handle. Second, God cares for you. He is not unconcerned about our suffering. You are not insignificant to God.

With all that in mind, can you be humble enough to live carefree? Cast your anxieties on Him today!