Men of Leadership
The best single word
description that I know for leadership is the word,
"influence." Isn't that right? You lead people by
influencing them. More specifically, you influence people
to do some things that they would not ordinarily do. No
group, no organization, no collection of people will go
very long without some kind of leadership.
Sometimes we confuse leadership with status or position.
But those two aren't the same. All too often you run into
an individual who has got the lofty position, but he's just
a number one bureaucrat. How many times have you run into a
vice president of this or that organization and that person
couldn't lead a dog in from the rain with a T-bone steak?
Leadership is influence. As one sage put it, "If you think
you're leading and nobody is following, then all you're
doing is taking a walk."
Leadership comes in many forms. It uses various styles. It
possesses diverse qualities, but a person who is truly a
leader will have influence at his disposal and that
influence brings two things, it brings authority and
God calls on men
to accept leadership roles in their homes and in the
Now I realize this is out of step with our culture, but the
Bible has never been all that concerned about political
correctness. The principle of male leadership in the home
goes all the way back to creation. God made man first. The
woman was made for the man, from the man, she was brought
to the man, and she was named by the man. Even though it is
significant that Eve sinned first. When God came down to
earth to see what had happened to his paradise He went to
Adam, because, Adam was the leader. He was the one with
We are not talking about values, work, who's more
important, or who's more cherished by God. Palu stated it
this way "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free,
male nor female..." (Galatians 3:28) A man is not worth one
whit more than a woman. We are addressing function, and
roles that create order. God has created three basic
groupings of people:
a. Society - he grants
authority to governments and has told us we need to
pray for leaders of governments.
b. Church - he has granted authority to elders, or to
shepherds, or pastors or overseers.
c. Home - he grants authority to husbands and
Paul said, "Now I want you to realize that the head of
every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and
the head of Christ is God." (I Corinthians 11:3) If you
read that in its context and also compare it with
everything else said in this Scripture, you will see that
Paul is talking about within the home context. He's not
saying that just any man who walks down the street has a
right to tell any woman what to do and become her
authority. But the head of every woman within that home
context is her husband.
Some people find that offensive, and I've always wondered
why. Ladies, does it offend any of you that the head of man
is Christ. It doesn't offend me. He's my head. Does it
offend any of us that the head of Christ is God? Then why
should we be offended that God also designated the head of
woman to be the husband, the man?
The Holy Spirit through Paul stated in Ephesians 5:22:
"Wives, submit [place yourselves under your husbands'
authority GWT] to your husbands as to the Lord. For the
husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of
the church,..." I need to stop there and say some
There are some folks who are doing some funny linguistic
gymnastics with this word, "head." One of the common
theories right now is the use of the word, "head," in
Ephesians 5:23 and I Corinthians 11:3, that it doesn't mean
authority, it doesn't mean leadership. It means origin,
kind of like you say the head of a river is up there where
the first little stream comes together. That's the head,
it's the origin. Well, there are a myriad of problems with
that interpretation, and here is one of the main ones. Go
back to I Corinthians 11:3, the same word is used when it
said that God is the head of Christ. Well, if that means he
is the origin of Christ, if he is the creator of Christ,
that goes against all the Scriptures in the Bible that
teach us about the nature of the Godhead. John I and
Colossians 1:15 and all the passages that would say that
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit are uniquely
all deity in the godhead and have always existed with each
The word, "head," doesn't mean origin, it means exactly
what we tend to think it would mean. It means a source of
authority. It means the same thing that it means in
Ephesians 1:22. Listen to this, "And God placed all things
under his feet..." (talking about Christ) "and appointed
him to be head over everything for the church." It implies
authority. Going back to Ephesians 5:23-24, "For the
husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of
the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the
church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to
their husbands in everything."
I used to believe that women would resent teaching on male
leadership in the home. And some do, a few. But I found
that most women resent not the teaching about male
leadership in the home, but the refusal by their husband to
accept that leadership. For every one woman I have seen who
has said a word to me about resenting male leadership, I've
talked to twenty who just wished they could see some
genuine, biblical, spiritual male leadership in the
Misuses of Leadership
There are at least two major ways that leadership and
authority are misused in the home.
1. Dominate and
You may remember the name, Nikita Khruschchev, he was the
leader of Russia back during the Cold War days, when he
made his first visit to the United States and Washington in
the early '60s, he was taken to the Washington Press Club.
There 500 reporters interviewed Khruschchev in a room. He
couldn't speak any English, so through a translator the
very first question that came to him was, "In your speech
today, Mr. Khruschchev, you talked of all the hideous evils
committed under Stalin, but you, sir, was his closest
colleague. What were you doing during all those years?" And
when Khruschchev heard that question through the
translator, he jerked the headphones off and in broken
English stood up and said, "Who asked that?!?!?" Silence
fell over the room. He barked out again, "I said, who asked
that?" You could have heard a pin drop as nobody moved. And
after waiting a good 30 seconds with glaring eyes,
Khruschchev said, "That's what I was doing."
You see there is a kind of leadership that gets its way by
threatening, by bullying, by intimidating, even by hurting.
And sadly, there are millions of men today who think this
is the kind of behavior that makes a real man in the home.
Now that thinking is nurtured by a false media that tells
us that the real man is the one who can shoot and kill and
karate the most people. It's fed in the sports arena today.
You know a guy can't in a football game on television, he
can't just make a tackle anymore, can he? He's got to make
a tackle, get up and do a dance, shake a finger, and trash
talk his opponent because today you show that you're a real
man by dominating the competition.
Domination is the chief use of power by the world. It is
the tool of Satan. There's not a time where Jesus Christ
says that a man, or anybody else, should ever exert power
by domination. Sometimes, Christians, get the wrong idea.
We think if we just have enough force, we could just take
over the world for the right. No we can't. That's not
Jesus' way. The world may think domination makes you a real
man and a real leader, but it's not Biblical.
In Matthew 20, Jesus' disciples were arguing about who
would be dominate, who would be in control. Jesus said,
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles, lorded over
them, dominates, but not so with you. Instead, whoever
wants to become great among you, must be your servant."
Domination and control are not God's way. When people are
regularly overpowered, there wells up within them
resentment and hatred. Sometime, some way, somehow, they
I've had to deal with things that I never even wanted to
know about - wives being subjected to verbal, emotional,
physical, sexual abuse in the home, by the very people that
God charged to protect them. These dominated his victims
cowering before him, beaten and intimidated, and the scars
are inestimable. The man who leads his wife and his
children that way, is the epitome of a coward. While he may
make his family tremble today, I guarantee you that one of
these days, in the judgment day, he will be the one
trembling before God. It's never a right way through
domination and control.
Forty percent of all the children in America don't have
their fathers around. I mean they're not with them at all.
Many of the other 60 percent have fathers who are
workaholics, or are interested in a dozen other things.
Folks, not accepting leadership and authority is as bad as
abusing it. Now oftentimes, a husband is not there because
they never were there. They impregnated a woman and never
showed up. Other times it's through abandonment. Sometimes
it's through divorce. But if the man isn't there, then his
leadership isn't there either.
Tony Evans is a very well known black minister in the
Dallas area, and he was sharing this speech before a large
group, and I thought it was right on target. Let me read a
paragraph or so. He said: "I am convinced that the primary
cause of the national crisis is the feminization of the
American male. When I say feminization, I'm not talking
about sexual preference; I'm trying to describe a
misunderstanding of manhood that has produced a nation of
sissified men who abdicated their role of spiritually pure
leaders, forcing women to fill the vacuum. As reason gives
way to fear, people look for a place to pin the blame in
our society. In a Ted Koppel special on juvenile
delinquency, accusing fingers were pointed at the criminal
justice system, an unfair economy, and persistent racism."
Evans went on to say: "While each of those issues is worthy
of our attention they are all symptoms of a more serious
disease. Basic economics is no excuse for promiscuity and
racism doesn't get teenage girls pregnant, the fact is, if
dad doesn't provide spiritually responsible leadership in
the home, baby is in big trouble.
Men need to be in the home. But sometimes, leadership is
abdicated when man still is there in the home, because his
attention is elsewhere. Steve Farrar in his excellent book,
Standing Tall, said, "It's my conviction that children all
over America are dying emotionally, physically, and
spiritually because the men in their lives are just
standing around." That's an interesting expression.
I love what Dr. Robert Schuller told a story to Paul
Harvey, it really hits home with me. He had just put out a
book, it had been a best-seller and he had been on a tour
to promote that book. He had gone to eight cities in four
days, and he called into his office. His secretary reminded
him, "Now when you get back, you need to go to the luncheon
that was raffled off for a charity." Somebody had paid $500
to have lunch with Dr. Schuller. When he got home and he
went to the lunch, he was surprised to find out that the
person who had spent that sum of money to have lunch with
him, had spent their entire life savings. The reason he
knew it was their entire life savings was because it was
his own teenage daughter. He said he began to weep at the
lunch and he said, "I knew from that moment, some things
had to change."
Men, what price would you pay, or rather, what price would
your wife and kids pay to see you become the spiritual
leader of your home. An even better question is: What price
will they pay if you don't. Well that leads to the final
Practical ways to demonstrate spiritual
1. Follow the
model of Jesus Christ.
As quoted above Ephesians 5 stated that wives are to submit
or place themselves under their husbands' authority in
everything. But the very next verse, states "Husbands, love
your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave
himself up for her," and three verses later it states "In
this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their
own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Jesus
Christ didn't lead by domination, he didn't lead by
abdication. He was the ideal leader and he's the model of
what God desires a man to be. Perhaps the best single
counsel to a man struggling to be a better leader in the
home is just read some of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John every single day.
2. Model by
service. Scripture teaches authority
The culture says dominate, but in the Bible, the ministry
of the power is the ministry of the towel (service).
Biblically, the way of greatness isn't through power and
domination, Jesus taught "Whoever wants to be great among
you must be your servant." (Mark 10:43) Real authority
comes through service.
Jesus accurately said, "I came not to be served, I came to
serve." Now husbands practically that means that we get to
be the first to serve in the family unit. We set the tone.
We take the lead just as Jesus did when he walked in that
Upper Room in John 13 and nobody wanted to take a towel and
a basin, and the leader took it and went and served and
they never forgot it. It changed their lives.
3. Focus on
Focus on encouragement for your family. Encouragement is a
great word. Do you know what the word, "encouragement,"
literally means? It means to put encourage in. That's what
we do for our families men. We put courage in our families.
We empower our children to have the courage to do the right
thing when everybody else around them offers a different
4. Teach your
children to respect their mother.
That starts by your example when your children are very
young. Later it may include some pretty straight and tough
instructions as your children reach early adolescence and
want to stretch their wings and gain their independence.
Often they exercise some rebellion, particularly toward the
one that they see as the weaker vessel, and that would be
the mother...Dads, this is a critical time for male
leadership. One husband who stood up and straightened out a
teenage son, the wife came to him after and said, "Honey,
in all our years of marriage, you've done some wonderful
things for me. You've given me wonderful gifts. We've been
on great trips. But nothing you've ever done has meant more
to me than the way you demanded respect for me from our
son. You'll never know how much that lets me know the way
you value me."
Dads, beyond how it makes your wife feel, this is the
solution to the sexual harassment problem. This is the
solution to the rape problem. This is the solution to the
spousal abuse problem. Boys, who love and respect their
mother, don't abuse women. Boys, who learn to love and
respect their mother, don't rape women. It's just that
that you are under authority.
That's the key. Demonstrate that you are under authority. A
man has to be a good soldier before he can be a good
general. No one can be the real spiritual, decisive leader
of his family until he is a worthy follower of Christ.
Program #1214 - Steve Flatt
June 18, 1995
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