THIS IS A PROVERBS 31 MAN
1 Peter 3:7
Christian wives who model Sarah’s attitude become her daughters to the extent that they “do what is right” and “not give way to fear. This image of Sarah seems a counterpart to Abraham who modelled doing what is right and not giving into fear. Paul wrote, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” Rom 4:13.. The covenant union of marriage is a beautiful thing when both husband and wife fulfill their duty inside the covenant relationship. Marriage is a union of sacrificial love. If not…..it’s devastating when both the man and the wife do not model what God intended them to be for their marriage.
What do I mean by that! John MacArthur said this about importance marriage and their roles “Our entertainment-saturated society helps feed all sorts of illusions about reality. The fantasy of the perfect romantic and sexual relationship, the perfect lifestyle, and the perfect body all prove unattainable because the reality never lives up to the expectation. The worst fallout comes in the marriage relationship. When two people can't live up to each other's expectations, they'll look for their fantasized satisfaction in the next relationship, the next experience, the next excitement. But that path leads only to self-destruction and emptiness. Marriage is the capstone of the family, the building block of human civilization. A society that does not honor and protect marriage undermines its very existence. Why? Because one of God's designs for marriage is to show the next generation how a husband and wife demonstrate reciprocal, sacrificial love toward each other. But when husbands and wives forsake that love, their marriage fails to be what God intended. When marriage fails, the whole family falls apart; when the family fails, the whole society suffers. And stories of societal suffering fill the headlines every day. Now, more than ever before, is the time for Christians to declare and put on display what the Bible declares: God's standard for marriage and the family is the only standard that can produce meaning, happiness, and fulfillment.”
Let me ask you men, husbands and future husbands…. Is the motivation of your marriage seen
as selfishness or ministry? Husbands aren't to treat their wives like slaves, barking commands at them. They are to treat their wives as equals, assuming their God-given responsibility of caring, protecting, and providing for them. It doesn't matter how your spouse responds; if you want to love like Jesus loves, you have to put yourself aside. Sacrificial Love…… Christ loved the church by giving "Himself up for her." The husband who loves his wife as Christ loves His church will give up everything he has for his wife, including his life if necessary. I am talking to saved, godly men, this morning! Not the unsaved examples of marriage seen throughout North America. Paul says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
Love is about giving! This is what sacrificial love looks like for a heathy marriage as the husband leads and ministers to his wife. We are to imitate the Redeemer in this respect as husbands towards our wives. It is the duty of the husband to toil for her support; to provide for her needs. To deny himself of rest and ease, if necessary, in order to attend on her in sickness to go before her in danger; to defend her if she is in peril; and to be ready to die to save her. Sacrificial love is all in, not just part of me. In our Death…. (John 15:13) laying down one’s life for another. In our Suffering….. (1 Peter 3:7) reminding yourself of her personal weaknesses and shortcomings. In our Intercessory prayer….. (John 17) Jesus High Priestly prayer, praying for her.
When you look at Christ’s sacrifice you understand that His death was not just an act of kindness. It was the pain of rejection when He entered our world to call us to Himself. In Luke 9:22-23 we read, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
We can never comprehend why God did what He did. But I think we can get a glimpse of the motivation which will help us as husbands see what our goal is supposed to be. If that is our example, how do we apply that? I seriously doubt if any of us will ever be called to literally die for our wives, so how do we demonstrate this? By what Peter reveals to us this morning! Disclaimer: there not one Christian woman/wife on this planet who wouldn’t submit to a man like this, out of the love and adoration that she has for Christ. This text of Scripture I like to call “The Proverbs 31 Man” what a woman should be seeking after, and what we are to be training our young men to be.
We Are To Show Them Consideration
With an “understanding way” which means be considerate to your wife’s physical and emotional needs. “Dwell” means to live together, someone who intimate and cherishes them. This phrase means more than putting up with them or surviving with them. It means dwelling together in close relationship as one flesh. To many husbands think that making a good living and providing physical needs for sharing their time, their words and their feelings. That is a part but not the main thing. We are to be tender and show her that love, which Christ showed us, through His sacrificial love in the gospel. This means we are to constantly nourish and cherish our wives above self.
We Are To Show Them Appreciation.
“As weaker vessels” or we might paraphrase this as “delicate vase”. Just as submission doesn’t imply inherent inadequacy for the wife, or that she is weaker in character or intellect than her husband. The word “weaker” means feeble, without strength. This in no way demeans the wife but actually says the opposite. It reveals her value, her worth, and her strength. We are not to treat them like we are a bull in the Royal Dalton factory. We are to use this strength like a knight in shining armor because God has created man stronger physically than woman. That’s the fairy-tale story of the damsel that is in distress from the dragon that is about to devour her! Women generally possess less physical strength then men, and emotional strength. But I at times would beg to differ as it pertains to child birth and motherhood.
What Peter is saying here is this…. We are not to solve or handle everything in a masculine manner as he would with his male friends playing hockey over a bad hit. Instead he is to treat his wife as a fine piece of china, tenderly and gentleness. Husbands, knowing of the wives situation, are to treat them with courtesy and value. Christian faith has a radical effect not only on the way men treat women but also how they view them. Men we are to protect and provide for our wives at any cost! Self-Sacrifice, as Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. Men we are to give them an environment that is safe and secure. Not one that is hostile, or in competition with everything else for your affection. We are to care for their spiritual needs as an obedient husband to the word!
We Are To Show Them Honor.
“The grace of life” which refers to eternal life through Christ. We are to share in this same unmerited grace that He showed you and me on.... That’s why Peter says we are “Heirs” which refers to “participant in common, or joined together. Which is that grace of life through Jesus Christ? That’s why marriage is a blessed gift from God....going back in the garden! It’s God’s plan for the family.. not the way society treats it today or in the past! It’s an intimate friendship and bond that belongs ONLY to those who are possessors of God’s most blessed gift of life....... marriage! It is the same thing that Paul reminded the Jews when he said, “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,” Eph 3:6
Why? “So that your prayers may
not be hindered.” (v7c)
It is interesting to note the word translated “your” is plural. This implies that married couples will be praying together. The act of praying together is one of the most difficult things for a husband to cultivate in the marriage relationship. Prayers will not be hindered is the reward God promise to the loving, caring husband. “Hindered” means “to frustrate or cut down like a tree. In other words anything that prevents you from praying together…sinful actions, fighting, words to hurt and etc.
Think about this man! Have you ever tried to pray after having an argument with your wife? How easy is it to hold your husband’s hand in prayer after butting heads in conflict? If we don’t keep the married life intact we will have trouble keeping our spiritual life on track. Prayer in marriage is a Divine gift that exemplifies a biblical marriage as Albert Barnes explained it. “The Apostle is speaking of “dwelling with the wife,” and of the right manner of treating her; and it is plainly supposed that united prayer would be one thing that would characterize their living together.”
The warning is this! In John 9:21 we read, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”
If the husband in Christ is not fulfilling his responsibilities toward his wife, God may not answer his prayers. This Divine threat which is cutting Divine blessing demonstrates how critical it is for men to take their positions in the marriage seriously. We have both tasted and are partakers in this grace of life. After all, they are, like you, the bride of Christ. The response by both men and women are to be living exemplary Christian lives as faith servants of Christ. We have a duty, an obligation as men, husbands to make sure we are doing our part so that she does hers in the marriage relationship.
Harmony or reconciliation in the relationship is established on a principle that Jesus taught. “leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matt 5:24
Paul gave similar instruction to the church in Corinth, “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Cor 7:4-5
We see all these character traits to how we love and treat our wives in the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 wife.
The Husband Treasures His Wife
Prov 31:10 “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” He examines every woman and concludes “she surpasses them all” She surpasses even my greatest hunting trip, fishing trip, golf game, job promotion, my custom automobile and etc. The Proverb husband declares this truth, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Prov 31:29. According to Prov 18:22 is a testimony of God’s grace for the man who finds a woman like this. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. It’s this truth that her husband would never disgrace her, or puts her down, or make her the butt of his jokes to others.
The Husband Creates A Culture Of Success For His Wife.
Prov 31:11 says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. This reveals a godly husband isn’t a dictator and he encourages her to be a go getter, fruitful and productive as an active wife. As one Theologian said, “There is no room for a messiah complex in marriage.” He trust her and cynical towards her ideas
The Husband Is The Great Encourager.
Prov 31:28-29 reveals, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." He provides a safe environment and place of encouragement for his wife demonstrating biblical love. His home is a gospel culture in the home. The husband seeks to encourage his wife and in doing so he labors to outdo her. As Paul wrote, “…Outdo one another in showing honor.” Rom 12:10. Why? The love of Christ constrains us to live not unto ourselves. As a husband according Peter we are to be men who set the example of biblical love. “Showing honor” means going before, leading, setting an example. Remember men and you ladies this reality and truth over your life. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20
Here is a great question I came across in my study that really hits deep and convicts my soul. When was the last time you moved forward in an unprompted, pure act of love to encourage your wife? Men ask yourself personally this question! Is my wife precious to me?
Men, the more I read and study Scripture the more I need to grow to be a better husband even after 25 years. There is so much to learn to be a godly man or women in the Scripture and they are here for our growing in righteousness as we wait heaven. What does it mean to be a mature man of God in a fallen world that sees marriage as a partnership and not as one flesh? He understands what Paul is saying as it refers to our love that we are to have for our wives so that they fulfill their duty under God’s grace. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor 13:4-8. Paul goes on a little further in the same portion of Scripture and says this as a reminder “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13: 4-13
How are we to love and treat our wives men as Peter reveals here? I believe Mathew Henry gives the best answer next to Scripture, “Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near to his heart to be loved by him.”