Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Husband

Subduing My Realm

** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **

————

According to Chandler

A little while ago I wrote a post about some sermons on manhood from Matt Chandler. My reflections for today, on being a man, are largely taken from the content of the first sermon in that series: Defining Masculinity. If you are a man or know a man, I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Farmer & Field

Chandler helped me by setting our identity as men in the creation account of Genesis 1-2. As he describes the narrative unfolding, he details how God creates the whole wild world, with a beautifully ordered garden (Eden), then places man in the middle of the garden and says, ‘Now make the rest of the world like this.’

Obviously there’s more to the story than that, but the simplicity of that perspective was helpful for me. He laid out the inner competitiveness and creativeness and ambition in man (which drives the rat race the whole world ’round) within the framework of ‘subduing’ and ‘ordering’ and ‘ruling over’ the created world. That’s what we were created for, and that’s what drives us as men, whether we know it or not.

The trouble, of course, is that in Genesis 3 man didn’t keep his world in order, but allowed chaos and disorder to rule (beginning with his own relationship with his wife when he abdicated his authority position when she was being tempted). The result of Adam’s disobedience is that now the whole world falls into complete disorder (including his own heart). All is subject to futility.

His work will be hard, and filled with failure. But he is still called to it nonetheless. And, as Chandler draws out, even the futility becomes evidence of God’s grace to us as the futility of our work is what drives us to call out to God for his mercy in the gospel.

A Guiding Framework

What has been so helpful to me is the guiding framework that this gives to my life as a man. As a man, I am charged with bringing order to my world. I must subdue my realm. So when I don’t know what to do, what decisions to make, what direction to take for my family, or my church, I fall back on this thought: I cam called to set all things in order. All things that are under my charge should be under my control.

And when I lack motivation to mow the lawn, discipline my kids, make things right with my wife, or make peace between relationships in the church, I remember that it is the calling of a man to subdue his realm, to put all things in order. Yes, there are challenges, frustrations, and failures, but having this simple, unifying direction for my life has been helpful.

The Big Biblical Picture

Of course this is all very simple. And yet, somehow, I spent the first 30 years of my life not really having the penny drop.

God created the world and ‘ordered’ it. He commanded man, his ‘son’, made in his image, to bring all things under submission to him. But after the first Adam and every man after him failed, a second Adam, the True Image of God had to come, to inherit all authority (Matt 28.19-20), and by his death and resurrection to have all things subjected to him. The end of this creation will come …

when [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15.24-28)

So the beginning is Adam called to subdue his realm, but failing. The end of the story is the second Adam reigning over all things, subduing even death — the greatest enemy. And we men are called now to live in the in between, still living with the futility of the curse all around us, but called by God to bring peace and order as we reign with Christ and bring his rule to pass, even now.

From cover to cover the Bible calls me to subdue my realm. That sounds like a manly challenge. May God give grace to make me faithful and diligent.

Looking for a Spouse?

If you are single and looking for a spouse, here is some sound advice from Pastor Tim Kerr of Sovereign Grace Church Toronto. You know a man believes these things if that’s what he’s telling his daughter. Check out what he’s got to say:

Pastor Tim Kerr on What to Look for in a Spouse

For Christian Husbands

As I lamented yesterday, preaching through James 4.1-12 quickly made me a little sad because I wasn’t able to pursue some rabbit trails that I would’ve loved to go down. One of those was how this passage should instruct us guys in our husbandry.

In verse four, the people of God are referred to as ‘adulteresses.’ Why? Because, in the metaphor of the passage, God is the husband of his people, but their affections and longings are for other lovers. They seek their joy, their pleasures, etc., in the things that this world has to offer. They are cheating on their spouse.

How does God respond to this unfaithful, disrespectful, immoral wife? The next verse tells us: He ‘yearns jealously’ for her. He remains unchanged in his devotion to her, even though she doesn’t long for him. He loves her with a steadfast love, even when she refuses to love him and treats him in the most horrible of ways.

That ought to teach us men something about the way we should husband.

  1. It is Good and Right for a Husband to Long for the Affections of His Wife.
  2. Too often the temptation is to slip into apathy. We love the chase while we’re dating, but once we’re married we presume that we will have her heart. The picture here is of a God who passionately longs to have all of his bride’s heart–not just a part. Christian husbands need to consistently pursue the heart of their wife.

  3. Our Affections Must Not Be Determined by Hers.
  4. Having a wife whose heart is not ‘wholly’ yours would be incredibly disheartening. I have seen friends and Christian brothers lamenting over the fact that their wives seem to love anything and everything else more than their husbands. That would be sad–and painful, to be sure. But the husband is to be the leader, and her lack of affections is no excuse for letting yours slide. It was while we were still sinners and had no affection for Christ (other than hatred) that he died to purchase his bride. Christian husbands need to consistently take the lead in expressing and winning loving affections.

  5. We Must Not Give Up.
  6. James wrote the very first book (chronologically) in the New Testament, and yet, even by the time he wrote this letter, the church had already proven herself to be an ‘adulteress’ with desires for other lovers. Just as God did not give up on his people in the Old Testament, we learn here that Christ will not give up on his bride in the New. Christian husbands must never give up, even when their wives sin against them horribly and repeatedly; this is the gospel.

  7. Take Heart, You Are In Good Company.
  8. As you seek to faithfully love your wife, with a single-minded devotion to her, and as you seek to win her affections even when she is not loving you in return, you are modelling the heart of God. You are following in the footsteps of Christ who went to the greatest, most extreme length imaginable to win his bride’s heart: he died for her. When we die to ourselves and continue to risk being hurt in order to pursue and love our wives, we’re in good company: Christ is the one who made the footprints in which we walk. Christian husbands must take heart here when all other outward comforts fail–he who went before us will not abandon us as we follow him.

© 2019 Julian Freeman

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑