In the book, A Guide to Biblical Manhood, Randy Stinson writes the following about what it means for husbands to honor their wives as the weaker vessel:
Peter tells men to show honor to their wives as the weaker vessel (1Peter 3:7). What’s he saying? What he’s not saying is that your wife is of lesser value – because he clearly says to show her honor. She isn’t of lesser value and she isn’t morally or spiritually weaker than you. What we believe Peter has in mind here is just sheer physical weakness compared to the strength of a man.
So, how do you honor her as a weaker vessel? Well, you don’t take advantage of your strength. You treat her with care. You don’t lay hands on her to hurt her. You might be stronger physically, but Peter says treat her with honor.
In my house, we have two kinds of plates. We have some very durable plates that the kids eat on. They cost 20 cents at Wal-mart and I don’t care what you do to them. You can stomp on them, you can throw them across the kitchen, you can use them as a frisbee in the yard. It doesn’t matter to me. If we lose or break one, we just throw it away and get another one.
We have some other plates in our house that if the kids even look at them, they’re in trouble. Those plates are from great grandmothers and they’re fragile. They’re not as durable. They’re weak and we treat them with care. We don’t put them in the dishwasher. It’s a rare and major event when we eat on them. And it’s not because they’re of lesser value, it’s because they are of greater value. We treat these plates with more care, not less. We honor their value by treating them with special care and not being negligent.
Too many men treat their wives as one of the boys – durable and able to handle a lot of wear and tear. But your wife is not one of the boys. You honor her by treating her as a weaker vessel – by not taking advantage of your greater physical strength, but giving her special care and attention.
Today, I’m asking God for the grace to meet a challenge. I have noticed in recent weeks the tendency for my mind to sprint toward what people think of me whenever there’s a free moment to reflect. I have often taken spiritual self-evaluation to a dangerous place by looking within to see where there might be sin in the way I relate to people, and instead of moving my gaze outside of myself to Christ, I keep it within as I continue to analyze a conversation or interaction to death.
So, today, with the ambition of seeking “the things that are above, where Christ is” (Colossians 3:1), I am taking up the challenge to open my Scripture memory app more than the Facebook and Twitter apps combined. I understand that I cannot do this in my own strength, but only in the strength the Lord provides, so pray for me if you think of it… and join me as well. If this is something that you believe would benefit you, then take the challenge and leave a comment so I can pray for you. Then, we’ll take up the challenge tomorrow and the next day and so on.
On Sunday evenings I’m teaching our students a series called One Another: Why Gospel Community Means So Much More than Just Getting Along. Each week I am teaching on a different “one-another” commandment we find in Scripture – what it entails, how we can put it to work in our lives, and where to find the motivation to obey it. This past week we explored the church’s need to share with one another.
Hebrews 13:16 tells us, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Due to the fact that I was speaking to students, and students are usually broke, we had a discussion about being creative in sharing with the body of Christ when you don’t have a lot of cash. I’m not one who thinks Christian students are somehow exempt from giving to their local church family from the money they do have, but I also understand that there are things that students possess in greater quantity that they can give more amply. So I asked the group what they could give beyond their finances. They came back with some great answers like free time, manual labor, baby-sitting for free, and the knowledge they are getting from their education.
In giving them the charge to be creative in their sharing, I thought of a man who recently told me about an idea he’s working on. This man, unlike me, is particularly knowledgeable about tools and their correct usage. As a guy who owns many tools he wants to come together with other guys who own tools and create a tool library. Each man is asked to turn in a list of the tools he would be willing to lend to other men in the church and a comprehensive list is created, complete with each tool’s location and the contact info of the lender. Once the list is complete and the word gets out, the men in the church know to call the tool librarian who will point them to the right individual with the right tool.
We should all contribute our money, but for those of us who don’t have as much green as others, generosity does not have to end when the budget is maxed out. Spend some serious time thinking of a creative way to share with your brothers and sisters in the church. Why? Because through Jesus the Father has “qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” and he lovingly disciplines you so that you “may share his holiness” (Colossians 1:12 and Hebrews 12:10).
My kids are 5, 3, and 1. Needless to say, when it comes to money, they’re broke. We haven’t started giving allowance yet and, unfortunately, their resumes are lacking the experience needed to secure a decent-paying gig. So, how can we get them involved in the act of giving to our local church or one of the missionaries our congregation supports? Here’s a fun idea that I plan on unfolding for my family later this week:
- Sit down with your kids and read to them Matthew 6:19-21, explaining to them that there is no treasure on this earth that we can keep forever, but by giving it away for the glory of God we can “store up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven”. Explain to them the awesome giving nature of God who “gave his only Son” for sinners and promises to give us more blessing in heaven as we give to him (John 3:16).
- Then, tell them that they’re going on a treasure hunt in your house, looking for money they can give away for the glory of our giving God. If your home is anything like mine, then you’ve got multiple junk drawers, seemingly bottomless collection reservoirs in the crevices of your couch, and ready-made excavation sites under the beds. Let your kids have at it and set up a central location in the kitchen for them to turn in their findings.
- Make them an integral party of the actual act of giving as well, so that, whether they’re putting it in the offering plate or making a card in which to send the money for a missionary, they can experience the joy of sacrifice.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been thoroughly digging Tony Reinke’s book, Lit: A Christian Guide to Reading Books. It has inspired me to read more and has helped me to develop a strategy for my practice of reading. The following is a section of the book that helps a reader know how to read different non-fiction books:
Different books must be read in different ways… So what should I do with a particular book? After a slow inspection of a book I have four options:
- Chew and digest it like a steak. This approach says, yes, this appears to be an excellent book that will answer the questions I have asked. I want to read the book carefully and intentionally from cover to cover.
- Swallow it like a milkshake. Yes, this appears to be a helpful book that will answer my questions. I want to read the entire book, but at a quick pace. I don’t want to invest too much time on this single book.
- Sample it like a cheese platter. Yes and no. Portions of the book seem to be unrelated to my questions, but other sections appear to be very pertinent and helpful. There is nothing wrong with reading only portions of a book or specific chapters. By doing this you keep your book reading focused, and this focus can protect you from losing interest. Most importantly, this choice will protect you from the common myth that books must always be read from cover to cover. Not so.
- Spit it out like expired milk. No, this does not appear to be a book that will answer my questions, or at least not as well as another book might. I will move along and look for a replacement.
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One of the men that has impacted me most over the last several years is a man I have never met. God has used C.J. Mahaney’s sermons and books to increase my excitement and passion for the cross of Christ and I am deeply greatly for it. This is a video biography of C.J. narrated by Joshua Harris that I was blessed to watch this morning.
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I’ve been meditating on 2 Corinthians 5:14 over the last week. It reads, For the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore, all have died. If the word “controls” makes you feel uncomfortable at first, you’re not alone. Upon encountering this verse, my sinful heart initially recoiled at it as well. We don’t like to think of ourselves as being controlled. We are quick to voice our freedom in Christ and we bask in the liberties that his death and resurrection have achieved for us. The word “control” makes it sound like faith in Christ transforms us into automaton robots, so our eyes begin darting in every direction looking for a way to get around what we think is being suggested here.
Don’t worry, Paul is not saying that Christ’s love takes an unwilling person and makes him do things he doesn’t want to do. Rather, he is emphasizing the affect that Christ’s love has had on his and Timothy’s motivations and choices. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so overwhelmingly gracious that the realization of the love it communicates produced such a strong desire for holy living in Paul and Timothy that they saw its work as having control over them.
When a person truly understands the glory of the gospel at the heart level it changes that person from the inside out so that they willingly do what pleases the Lord. The same thing takes place in Luke 7 with the prostitute who came into the Pharisee’s house to anoint Jesus’ feet. Jesus tells the Pharisees in this scene, I tell you, her sins, which are many are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little (v. 47). The prostitute got it; she understood the gospel, which is why she worshiped Christ as she did. The radical reality of Jesus’ love did not force her to do something she saw as undesirable, but it did create in her a desire to do that which is ultimately good as if no other option was legitimate.
In those moments when you and I cannot say, like Paul, that Christ’s love controls us, we need to run back to the gospel and drink deeply of its truth while praying that God would help us to see its resplendent beauty in such a way that to do anything else but serve him would be foolish.
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