DAY 1: HEADSHIP
Undaunted.Life exists for the purpose of cultivating manly resilience. Specifically, we provide content and experiences that build spiritual, mental, and physical resilience. We dive deep into those three elements in our 21-day YouVersion devotional “A Man’s Devotional ”, but this devotional will focus on the oft-experienced and oft-neglected area of most men’s developmental lives: marriage.
We’re not going to bore you with the same antiquated anecdotes about how men and women think differently; we know that already. We won’t insult your intelligence by pretending that you have never heard that men and women express emotions differently; that’s nothing new. We’re going to be laser-focused on five key elements of what we’re calling and “Undaunted Marriage” so that you experience the fullness of God’s original concept of marriage and so you can model that for other men of all ages.
The Elements of an Undaunted Marriage are as follows:
At the conclusion of each day of this devotional, there will be action items of some kind for you to ponder and execute. They are designed for you to be able to make immediate changes that will lead to a better marriage relationship with your bride. If you have no intention of taking these action items seriously and if you’re not going to put in the time or effort to get better, we suggest that you do not waste your time reading on any further than right here. However, if you want to improve yourself and your marriage and you’re willing to do what is necessary for that change, then proceed with force.
On DAY 1, we will focus on HEADSHIP.
Do a quick Google search, and you will find a multitude of definitions for the word “headship.” Some define the word in a strictly literal sense, while others sprinkle a little more theological significance onto the descriptions. Furthermore, some people even use a definition of the word that allows them to use it as a club to fight back against perceived misogynistic injustices (we won’t go there).
For our purposes, however, we will use the definition purported by Matt Chandler in his incredible dive into the concepts of biblical manhood and womanhood in his series called A Beautiful Design. In this series, Chandler unpacks the roles of men and women, how manhood and womanhood should be displayed, and how it all coalesces together. His definition of “headship” is as follows:
Headship – “the unique leadership of the man in the work of establishing order for human flourishing.”
More specifically for our purposes talking about the elements of an Undaunted Marriage, we should adjust the definition to read this way:
Headship – “the unique leadership of the man in the work of establishing order for HIS BRIDE’S flourishing.”
Guys… Let’s keep it simple… THAT is your call to action. THAT is the purpose statement for your marriage. THAT is what you should strive to be like for your bride.
I remember being asked at different points in my life what my job was. Without any real foresight or knowledge of what headship was, I would sometimes respond by saying something like, “My job is to provide for my bride’s flourishing.” Now, I would sometimes get some weird looks for saying that, but it didn’t make it any less true or real to me.
Now, let’s be clear about something right up front: we as Christian men will not live downstream of culture, especially a culture that has tried (and in a lot of ways succeeded) to weaken us and effeminize our instincts. Saying that your job is to provide for your bride’s flourishing may rub some people the wrong way… “So, you’re saying your wife can’t flourish without you?”… “So, if she didn’t have a man in her life she couldn’t survive?”... “So, you think you’re the key to your wife’s success or failure?”… I’ll make this easy for you; if you tell someone that your job is to provide for your bride’s flourishing and they respond like that, tell them to shut up and you just keep moving. They don’t get to define your relationship, and don’t you even think about allowing that person to speak death into your marriage.
Now, our boy Chandler didn’t just pull this definition out of his butt. His definition is the culmination of several incredibly important scriptures that form the foundation for the concept of headship.
The scriptural basis of headship can be summarized by the three passages in today’s devotional:
1. Genesis 2:5-17
There are two key verses in this passage that we need to look at: verse 7 and 15. Verse 7 says the following: “… then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (ESV). At Undaunted.Life, we talk a lot about spiritual, mental, and physical resilience. Well, in this verse, we see God breathe spiritual, mental, and physical life into existence via the First Man.
Now, God created man, but He created him for a specific purpose. Verse 15 reveals that to us: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to WORK it and KEEP it” (ESV, emphasis added). WORK it and KEEP it. Those were the first two leadership roles/tasks that God gave Adam. Working in the garden meant that Adam had to prepare the land and tend to it. Keeping the garden meant that Adam had to guard the land. Essentially, Adam was created and then tasked with the role of headship over creation.
2. 1 Corinthians 11:3
In this part of the letter to the church in Corinth, Paul says this: “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” Pretty straight forward stuff, huh? It is, but let’s highlight a couple of things.
First, the Greek word used for “head” in this passage literally means “authority.” So, in this context, if A is the head of B, then A has authority over B. Thus, in this scenario, Paul is reminding us that Christ has authority over every man, husbands have authority over their wives, and that God the Father has authority over Christ. Second, “authority over” does not mean “greater than.” Specifically, when Paul says that God the Father has authority over Christ, he is just describing God’s role in that dynamic. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (aka The Triune God) are all equal to one another but they just serve in different roles. The same is true for husbands and wives. As husbands, we have been given the role of authority over our wives, but that by no means makes her less than.
3. Ephesians 5:22-33
There are literally so many amazing things that we can talk about from this passage (and I would encourage you to dig deeper into it on your own), but I want to focus in on one key verse in this passage. In verse 25 of the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus, he commands husbands in the following way: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (ESV). Easy to say. A lifetime to do.
Paul isn’t describing some sort of terrible romantic comedy Hollywood kind of love. He’s not talking about the puppy love that you may have experienced in middle school. He’s talking about a real, robust, and world-changing kind of love: sacrificial love. Jesus Christ gave up his life for his Bride (the Church). We are to live a life that does the same for our wives.
So, is headship about being domineering over your wife? NO. Should headship be our excuse to pummel our wife’s opinions whenever we see fit? NO. Was headship granted to us by God so that we could leverage it to selfish ends? NO.
An Undaunted husband will leverage headship in three ways:
Are you currently comporting yourself in a way that provides for your wife’s flourishing? If not, how will you start the process of change TODAY?
Are you providing for your bride in a way that is honoring God and her? If not, what life changes do you need to make TODAY to fix it?
Are you leveraging your gift of headship to spread the Gospel? If not, why not?
Click here to visit Matt Chandler's series A Beautiful Design.