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What It Means to Be a Man

February 3, 2018

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Many men define manhood in terms of their relationship with other men. They have fallen into the humanistic trap of “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves” (II Corinthians 10:12). One expression of this is the “macho” image of physical and emotional prowess. You are a man if you can shoot, throw or chew better than the next man. You are a man if you do not fear or have tender feelings. Aggression, rather than dominion, is the fruit of this definition. But this aggression need not be physical. It can be intellectual. Some men assert their manhood by their shrewdness in business, in politics, or in their respective profession. The effect is the same, however. Such men become predators, and the society dominated by them will become power-worshipers.

Nevertheless, this is not the most common definition of manhood. For the average man, the man of simple ambitions, masculinity is defined in contrast to the woman. Too many Christian men also fall into this trap of using the woman as the yardstick: man is what the woman is not; man does what the woman cannot, or should not, or will not. The result is a matriarchal society, which is a curse from God (Isaiah 3:12). For most women can do what most men can do, and in our day, do it better. If a man, whether consciously or unconsciously, defines himself in terms of his relationship to the woman, he will become effeminate. He may be mistaken for a Christian gentleman, but he is really a eunuch.

True manhood is defined by God. A man is a man only if he is subordinate to God. This fact is brought out rather graphically in the very Hebrew words used in the Bible for male and female. The physical parallels we normally expect are absent.

The word for male is zakar, which means “to mark.” It is the root which is translated in our English Bible as “remember.” This produces some interesting applications.

For instance, in Genesis 8:1 it says, “And God remembered [maled] Noah.” In Exodus 2:24, it says, “God remembered [maled] His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” There are scores of examples, which space does not allow here, but the conclusion is clear: the “male” is not defined in terms of physical distinctions, but in terms of a relationship with God.

In stark contrast is the Hebrew word for female, which is neqebah and comes from the root naqab, meaning “to puncture,” a strongly sexual term (the Greek word for female is parallel and means “nipple”). Thus the passage in Genesis 1:27 which reads, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” would literally read, “… the marked one (By whom? God!) and the punctured one (By whom? Man!) created He them.”

Putting it another way, masculinity is having a personal, headship relationship with your Creator. This is maleness.

James Wesley Stivers
Restoring the Foundations: Essays in Relational Theology
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The Husband: The House-Band

July 11, 2017

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The word husband is an old English compound word: house-band.

Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-1886), in his 1859 work On the Study of Words, provided for us the etymological roots of “husband”:

“Husband” is properly “house-band,” the band and bond of the house, who shall bind and hold it together (page 54).

What an impressive word, laden with such powerfully scriptural implications. As men, we dare not look to social, cultural or contemporary models as our guide for holding our homes together. None of these will suffice. We must devote ourselves to God and His Word for our guidance, for He is the author of our duty.

Being a husband can, at times, seem overwhelming, but as we look to God’s empowering grace we can have the strength to embrace the full implications of such a divine responsibility.

May God ever use this simple common word husband – spoken daily – increasingly to remind us husbands of our imperative role as house-band.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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Loving Our Wives Too Much

July 8, 2016

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Harry Ironside was approached by a young man on one occasion who came to confess a fault. He told the preacher that he felt he was loving his wife too much. “In fact, I’ve put her on such a high plane, I fear it’s sinful,” lamented the young husband.

“Do you think you love your wife more than Christ loved the church?” inquired Ironside. He didn’t dare say he did. “Well, that’s the limit to which we must go,” he continued.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25).

HA IronsideHarry Ironside (1876-1951)
Cited in An Appeal To Husbands, by Don Currin
The Awakener (Vol. 9, No. 1)
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Most Momentous of Earthly Events

April 16, 2016

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As God hath knit the bones and sinews together for the strengthening of our bodies, so He has ordained the joining of man and woman together in wedlock for the strengthening of their lives, for two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Therefore, when God made the woman for the man, He said, I will make him a help meet for him (Genesis 2:18). Marriage is the most momentous of all earthly events in the life of a man or woman.

Arthur W PinkArthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
The Excellence of Marriage
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Choosing the “Right” Wife, or Being the Right Husband?

February 17, 2016

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Sometimes a husband may grumble about his “choice” of a wife. He’ll speak of her incompatibility, her lack of interest in mutual things, her indifference in spiritual matters, her deficiency of physical appeal, etc.

Interestingly, in Old Testament times marriages were commonly arranged. Although we do not necessarily promote a return to its practice, that does not mean that it was without any merit. One interesting thing that it and the levirate law (where a man was required to marry his brother’s widow) do is that they demonstrate that a man can love and care for a woman – any woman – even one they did not even choose themselves. The bottom line is that marriage is not so much about “choosing” the “right” wife, as it is about being the right husband.

Paul did not write:

Husbands love your ideal wives …
Husbands love your loving wives …
Husbands love your helpful wives …
Husbands love your Proverbs 31 wives …
Husbands love your non-deficient wives …
Husbands love your uncomplicated wives …
Husbands love your unbroken wives …
Husbands love your compatible wives …
Husbands love your submissive wives …
Husbands love your spiritual wives …
Husbands love your attractive wives …
Husbands love your supermodel wives …
Husbands love your sexy wives …

No, without qualification, he simply wrote:

Husbands love your wives …

C2Pilkington-4

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his book, Wife Loving, below)

————————————

pilkington_wife_loving_cover_POCKET_640x513.inddWife Loving The Husband’s Paramount Privilege

by — Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

This book is about Christ-mentored husbandry; a look at husbands’ important and honored role of loving their wives. So lofty and divine is its pursuit, Paul presents none other than Christ Himself as the mentor: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.”

(#0462) 978-1-62904-046-2 US Trade 6×9 PB, $9.95

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Crowning Creative Act

January 26, 2016

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God’s crowning creative act was the making of woman. At the close of each day, it is formally recorded that God saw what He had made, and it was good (Genesis 1:31). But when Adam was made, it is explicitly recorded that God saw it was not good that the man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). As to man, the creative work lacked completeness, until, as all animals had their mates, there should be found for Adam also a help meet for him – his counterpart and companion. Not until this need was met did God see the work of the last creative day also to be good.

Arthur T PiersonArthur T. Pierson (1837-1911)
Cited by Arthur W. Pink in The Excellence of Marriage
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The Sin of Husbands: Bitterness

March 18, 2015

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Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them (Colossians 3:19).

Divine revelation alerts husbands to their natural hindrance to loving their wives: bitterness. Bitterness is defined as “anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment” (Oxford); “a feeling of anger and unhappiness” (Cambridge).

Some husbands tell us that they can’t help the negative feelings that they have toward their wives. A husband may say that he can’t “help” having these feelings, but certainly one can “help” what is done about them. Negative “feelings” of bitterness or otherwise can’t be used as an excuse. Feelings are fickle. Feelings aren’t trustworthy. Feelings should never lead our way. Feelings are great servants, but dangerous masters. We must not allow ourselves to be dominated by our feelings.

In 1832 Adam Clarke writes concerning this passage,

Wherever bitterness is, there love is lacking. And where love is lacking in the married life, there is hell upon earth (Adam Clarke Commentary).

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown remind us that,

Many who are polite abroad, are rude and bitter at home (Commentary, 1871).

The divine, Pauline instruction, followed immediately after the directive to love our wives, is to “be not bitter against them.” A.T. Robertson tells us plainly that, “This is the sin of husbands,” and that it is in the “present middle imperative in prohibition: ‘Stop being bitter’” (Word Pictures of the New Testament).

Christ’s love was willingly self-sacrificial; yet ours is resentful? Does Christ resent the ecclesia for all that it puts Him through? Is He ever bitter and resentful toward us for all of His personal labors and loss sacrificed for us?

Negative feelings toward our wives should be for us an immediate indication of the hardness of our own hearts. We must ever look to the Savior for correction and encouragement of such sinful attitudes.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
(Excerpted from his upcoming book, Wife Loving.)


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