When I was four, I loved Superman. Like, I had an over-the-top obsession with everything involving Superman. So, for my birthday, my grandmother sewed me a Superman cape.
When the box came in the mail, I almost peed my pants. I put the cape on my back, walked outside, and hopped on my Red Ryder Wagon (say that five times out loud). I took a few steps back on the wagon and took off. Spread eagle style. Just like Superman.
The next three seconds were the most disappointing of my short time on earth. I face planted about 2 feet from the wagon. Reality hit me in the face…only Superman could fly like Superman. And my taste of reality came with a hefty price. Scraped knees. Busted lip. Bruised ego.
You see, God created this thing called gravity. And we, humans, aren’t supposed to challenge it. This is just one example of what happens when we try to operate outside God’s design.
Does God have a design for men and women? Absolutely, and I want to use the next two blog posts to lay out God’s unique design and responsibilities for men and women. Where God has a design, it is for our joy that we follow it. When we refuse to follow God’s design, bad things happen. This goes for little boys who try to override gravity. And it goes for men and women who try to override God’s design for them.
God creates men and women with a unique design quality, and I will use this as a foundation to highlight some roles or responsibilities. This ultimate design comes from Genesis 1 and 2, before sin enters the picture. Before Satan has an opportunity to ruin God’s created order.
Let’s start with men, shall we?
I need to say this before we jump in. Men refusing to step into their God-given design is one of the greatest pandemics in America today. Even sociologists and economists tell us when men don’t act like men, disorder and destruction happens. When men are lazy and refuse to take responsibility, society breaks down. Churches break down. Families break down. Stuff gets messed up.
So, let’s go back to the beginning and see what God has to say about man’s ultimate purpose.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’Genesis 1:27-28
Before sin enters the picture, we see a picture of God’s unique design for men. He tells Adam to subdue the earth. From these verses we see the unique design God has for men: headship.
The unique role God gives to men is HEADSHIP.
Headship is the unique leadership of the man in the work of establishing order for human flourishing.Matt ChandlerWhat is headship? The word sounds outdated and barbaric. And apart from the Bible, headship ends up this way. The Greek word is kephale.
Kephale is not just about the eyes, nose, and ears, but it is also about the brain. This is why God’s design for headship isn’t barbaric. The brain is always concerned about the well-being of the body. It wants the best for the body. It directs and leads the body towards health. This is the unique design God has for men. Take care of the earth. All of it. Watch over it. Be good stewards of it.
Let’s talk more specifically about the responsibilities and purposes God gives men. From the ultimate purpose of headship, here are six responsibilities God gives men.
1.) The responsibility for the spiritual condition of the home and the church.
It’s interesting to watch God’s reaction after Satan’s deception in Genesis 3. Eve takes the fruit first. She takes the first bite. Then she hands the fruit to Adam. And he takes a bite. But what God does next is striking.
God comes to Adam (Gen. 3:9). Even though Eve takes the first bite, God comes to Adam. Why? Men are responsible for the spiritual condition of relationships, families, and churches. When the spiritual condition is poor, God comes to men first.
So, men. How well are you leading your home? How well are you leading your church? What is the spiritual condition of those around you? If it is bad, guess who is responsible?
This responsibility doesn’t imply men assume every leadership and teaching role in the home (or the church). This misses the complementary roles of men and women in God’s creation. There are areas where women can teach and lead, especially if they are gifted. In my home, for example, my wife often leads storytime with our boys. I recognize her gift to teach children. As our boys get older, I will assume the teaching responsibility. I am much better with older kids.
But, even though my wife reads the Bible story, I am still responsible for the spiritual condition of my family. This means I make sure we spent time with God. This means I engage during our time together. Bible stories aren’t an open door for me to watch Sportscenter or twiddle my thumbs. I pray for our boys. I make sure they listen. I ask questions.
When the spiritual condition of the marriage, the home, and the church are poor, the responsibility falls back on men.
2.) The responsibility to be accountable and stop making excuses.
Being a man isn’t about whether or not you have the most testosterone, the largest muscles or the fattest bank account. It is about stepping into God’s design. A man doesn’t make excuses for behavior and actions. Men refuse to take baths in self-pity.
Men don’t live in a fantasy world. They engage people. Men realize life isn’t fair, and they don’t spend time telling others why the world is out to get them.
Men embrace the responsibility to lead their wives, children, churches, and culture. They also acknowledge the responsibility is more than they can bear alone. So, they press into God and lean into his grace.
3.) The responsibility to work.
Now, I am not saying only men are supposed to work. I am not even saying men are supposed to be the primary breadwinners of the family. If your wife brings home a check fatter than yours, praise God for that. I am talking about the responsibility God gives men to work. If your wife brings home enough money to support your family, men aren’t allowed to hang out at the golf course all day or spend hours on Xbox. God calls men to work and cultivate. This goes for married man, single men, and men, in general.
There is no place in the kingdom of God for lazy men (or lazy women). Laziness is a breeding ground for Satan. Where laziness exists, all types of evil are present.
There is no place in the kingdom of God for lazy men. Laziness is a breeding ground for Satan.TWEET THIS!
One more thing about work: this responsibility came before sin entered the picture. So, working is a problem, heaven will be an even bigger one. We WILL be working in heaven. Granted, it will be work minus the awful bosses, annoying co-workers, and exhausting days. But work isn’t a product of sin. It is a product of being made in God’s image.
4.) The responsibility to provide and sacrifice.
Sacrificial love and provision involve being present and active in the home. This does not mean pouring life into job and career so the family can have trinkets. This is the cancer plaguing suburban America. Children do not need boats, cars, and pools. They need love, affection, and affirmation.
Likewise, the church doesn’t just need a man’s tithe every Sunday. The church needs a man’s presence. The church needs to see sacrificial, Christ-like servanthood. Single. Married. Doesn’t matter. God gave us the responsibility to work so his creation would flourish and grow. This doesn’t happen when we worship career or money.
5.) The responsibility to help women flourish.
The unique role of headship in God’s created order is not a license to domineer over women. I am pretty laid back, but I have zero patience for men who use power to oppress women. Headship doesn’t mean men are superior in terms of worth or importance before God. Too many men (some of these being Christians) use verses like 1 Timothy 2:11-12 or Ephesians 5:22-23 to exercise unhealthy authority over a woman.
For women who experience this, I want you to know this is not from God. Never in God’s word will you find a command for men to domineer over women. And men who pervert Scripture this way will be held accountable for it.
God’s plan is for all of the created order to flourish. This means the unique design for men should help women flourish (the same is true for women’s role in relation to men). When women feel oppressed and unable to use their gifts and talents, the responsibility falls back on men. Men serve women sacrificially. Men create environments for women to grow and feel protected. Men encourage, build up, and protect women.
6.) The responsibility to fight.
God created men to fight for his created order. This means you serve others out of humility, just as Christ did not come to be served, but to serve. Husbands, this means you fight for your wife. It means you create a culture in your home where your wife knows she is loved. You fight to make sure your family thrives. You fight to make sure your children grow up in the Lord.
If you are single, it means you fight to build up those around you. You fight to make sure you don’t lust after the women around you, turning them into objects. It means you never degrade or belittle women, either with words or actions. It means you refuse to allow your days to be filled with meaningless activities.
God created men to be fighters. And in a culture where many men are “punting” on their responsibilities, we are in desperate need of some fighters. It’s time to rise up, men. It’s time to fight for God’s created order.
This is not a comprehensive list, but it lays a good foundation. I will say it again, I am not sure there is more destructive force facing our country today than men neglecting the responsibilities God has given them. When men decide to step into their unique design, creation flourishes. The next blog post will focus on God’s ultimate design for women and the responsibilities that flow from God’s purpose.
The next blog post will focus on God’s ultimate design for women and the responsibilities that flow from God’s purpose.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!