Marriage As Manifest Glory XXXII

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The messages this week and next have perhaps been implicit in what has been said thus far, but there is still a need to make it explicit. This week we need to address the truth that men are stupid, and next week consider the corresponding truth that women are stupid. A more biblical way of putting this would be to use the term folly, which in Scripture is always a question of the heart, and not of the IQ. We are not talking about being dumb; we are talking about what spiritual obtuseness will do to your marriage.


“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7)


The text is just one verse from 1 Peter, but the real text is really just three words from that versetwo words in the Greek. Those two words are kata gnosis, according to knowledge. Husbands are called in this verse to dwell with their wives according to knowledge. The results of such knowledge will be the rendering of honor, as to a weaker vessel, and treating her as a joint heir of the grace of life. The end result of that wisdom will be that a man’s prayers will be not be hindered. So the upshot of this message will be to show what kata gnosis does not look like. When men are stupid, when they ignore this passage and its wisdom, what mistakes do they make?


When a man is displeased with something in the home, and lets that displeasure be known, this is not the same thing as leadership. Rightly understood blaming is a confession of a lack of leadership. Being willing to express dissatisfaction is not necessarily a strength. If such expressions are routine, then it is certainly not a strength, but rather a weakness. Leadership involves the assumption of responsibility, not the parceling out of responsibility on others. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Prov. 18:21).


Men often assume that if it has not been spoken to them out loud, they must have no responsibility to know it. Why didnt you tell me? is sometimes a reasonable question. But far too often it is a dodge and not a real questionùthe answer might range from “I did, and after twenty times I gave up,” to “I was afraid of your response. . . for good reason.” The fact that your wife has not expressed disagreement does not mean she agrees. “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Prov. 20:5). Men, learn to draw it out.


Scripture teaches that fundamentally lust is lazy. Not surprisingly, it is frequently connected to other forms of laziness as well. The more a man is lethargic and unmotivated, the more likely it is that he will think his needs are not being met. “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not” (Prov. 21:25). Laziness knows how to want.


The central problem with pornography is not the immodesty it displays, but rather the lies it tells. “For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil” (Prov. 5:3). This is the same woman who can give you, as countless rock songs have promised, a good time “all night long.” She is also a flattering liar. And in the long run, what she gets you to believe can be far more damaging than what she might be able to get you to do. And often Christian men fall herethey believe enough of the lie to import discontent into their marriages, but not enough of it to be physically unfaithful.


The male ego is, I am afraid, famous. And I have long felt that there is no better diagnostic test for how everyone is doing spiritually for a pastor to use than to get up a co-ed volleyball game and just watch. “A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised” (Prov. 12: 8).


If a man’s masculinity washes off in dishwater, then it was a pretty superficial masculinity. If a man does not know how to be a help around the home, instead of a lump on the couch, then he has a thin view of his own calling. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself” (Prov. 11: 24-25). What is true in the world generally is true in the home specifically.


A very common mistake that men make is that of substituting their income and their provision for themselves. Of course men should work hard, and of course they should provide. But the provision must be a token of all the rest, not a substitute for the rest. “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch” (Prov. 11: 28).


But remember that living together with your wife is an expression of gospel, not law. You are living together with her with wisdom and understanding, which is why you see that both of you are heirs together of the grace of life. But lack of wisdom does not see the gospel here because folly cannot see the gospel anywhere.

The way we live reflects whether or not we know that God has been gracious to us in Christ. We live by grace or we live by works. We live by grace married or we live by works married. And if the former, the result is gratitude in the on-going kindness of God. If the latter, then the end result is always some form of misery and condemnation. And in condemning the folly, it is crucial to note that we are not simply being negative. The only thing we seek to put to death . . . is the way of death.

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