I'm continuing my study of the round-up of sermons on marriage and family posted by Colin. I've completed listening to Voddie Baucham in a sermon called "What He Must Be (Marriage by Design).
As the title suggests, Baucham is focused on the essential things a man must be in order to lead a wife in marriage. Voddie presents his points as though he were talking to his daughter. The audience is invited to listen in on what he shares with his own daughter.
The first half of the sermon lists five things that drive women to marry men who are not prepared to lead in marriage. I would agree with Baucham's assessment that these are five popular things that cloud a woman's judgement and leads to regrettable and disobedient marriage decisions. In descending order of frequency:
5. Lust--"I know he ain't what he ought to be, but he's just fine."
4 Desperation. As women grow older, the sense that it might not happen for them grows increasingly strong. Baucham reckons that age 14, young girls are looking for "the total package" and are unwilling to settle. By age 24, their list is widdled down to "a good godly man." And by age 34 they're happy if "the man knows where a church is."
3. Time Invested--"Young boys and girls 13-15 practice giving themselves away to one another. They enter exclusive intimate relationships when they are not ready. It's like shopping without money. You will either leave frustrated or with something not yours." Many people lunge into marriage because they've spent all this time investing in a relationship and they wouldn't want to "lose" what's invested.
2. Materialism--"He'll provide a good life for me."
1. Mysticism--"but I prayed about it and I have a peace about it." I'm with Baucham 100% on this one. If I had a dollar every time I've heard this one, I'd be a hundredaire. Voddie goes on to respond with characteristically Baucham directness and humor, "Let me get this straight. God states something clearly in His word. You disobey it. But it's okay because you and God worked out a deal." The Lord will not contradict His word by giving us a "peace" about things. That "peace" is generally nothing more than our rationalizations rehearsed to the point that we're numb to God's commands. And how often that supposed "peace" comes crashing down in serious marital difficulties and divorce.
The second half of the sermon takes up what a husband must be. Baucham focuses on Ephesians 5 and outlines four things: priest, prophet, provider and protector. For his part, Baucham is determined that he cannot give his daughter away to a man who can't play all of these roles. "My daughter is one of the few things in this world that can make me start a prison ministry immediately." Again, I'm with Voddie.
How are we to lead?
1. Must lead in love. Baucham defines "love" as "an act of the will (choice) accompanied by emotion (not lead or determined by) that leads to action on behalf of the object."
2. Must lead in the word. "Sanctify her by the water of the word." "Until you find a man who can disciple and lead you biblically, you haven't found a man you can marry."
3. Must lead in righteousness. "... making her holy and blameless...." "If you have a found a man constantly pressuring you to do thing that are unrighteous, you have not found a man ready to be your husband." A husband should pull you up to his level of righteousness.
4. Must lead in selflessness. "...nourishes and cherishes...." The husband should be the first one in the family to go without, sacrifice, or lay it down for the family. "If he's not, then he's shortsighted. He doesn't realize what you're building for the future."
I particularly appreciated Voddie connecting daily sacrifice for our wives with a longer-term sense of leaving a legacy and building a future. I'm far too prone to measure sacrifice in more mundane, self-seeking terms. I felt convicted about not having given enough consideration of the Anyabwiles that, Lord willing and Jesus tarries, will come after me. I need to understand sacrifice in light of a longer chain of relationships and events than just the immediate and often fleshly considerations of a given action.
5. Must lead in intimacy. Good practical exhortations here. Don't confuse sex with intimacy. Prioritize the marriage over the children. He makes two excellent observations regarding prioritizing the marriage over the children. (a) Prioritizing the marriage helps protect the marriage from divorce by ensuring there's a relationship there when the children leave. And (b) the security of our children depends upon the strength of the marriage. So, as we strengthen our marriages and prioritize them, our children know the stability and security necessary for spiritual growth.
Good stuff to meditate on. The first section was helpful not only for parenting my daughters but also for pastoral counseling. The second section was a good "gird up your loins" reminder of what the Lord calls us to as husbands. It's a glorious, joyful, and high calling.
Baucham didn't offer this as an application, but obviously I need to take thus "must be's" and the five musts and discuss that with the wife. First, some prayer and fasting :-)