I desire to be the husband I describe in the book and I know I fall way short of the standard. Christian living is a difficult topic to write about because no one is perfect at any aspect of it. Take the subject of humility for example. What human among us is the most qualified to tell others how to be humble? Somebody's gotta do it.
Through the glare of the irony, it's still possible to write authoritatively about subjects on which we're not perfect. We can thank Scripture for that. Whether or not we're batting 1.000, we can still recognize and teach the lessons from God's word.
That's what my book is about and that's what these posts are about as my book's release date approaches. Here's the Lesson 1 for my fellow Christian husbands.
Have you embraced this truth? Here's a reminder from Scripture:
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of 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."
"If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations...?"
God, through Paul, continues this thought in the next chapter of Colossians. After stating that the Christian is, in fact, dead, he urges the Christian to keep putting himself and his desires to death:
"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator."
Consider the list of dead works found in that passage:
- Sexual immorality
- Evil desire
- Covetousness (idolatry)
- Obscene talk
What if you could eradicate all of those things from your marriage? Would there be as much struggle? Life would be much simpler. And full of peace.
Here's why this is the first lesson: you can eradicate all of these things from your life. If you're a Christian, the Holy Spirit (God Himself) is working in you, changing you "for His good pleasure," (Philippians 2:13). Yet you're also called to work out your own salvation, "with fear and trembling," (Philippians 2:12). When you yield to the Spirit, examining the Bible (the book He wrote) and applying God's wisdom to your life, the change really will start with you.
In order for this change to begin, you must realize that you've died, Christian husband. You are dead. You can be an instrument of righteousness in your Father's hand if you embrace that fact.
Embracing your death looks different than the list above. Here are some of the works that dead-to-self, alive-to-Christ living looks like:
- Sexual fidelity
- Righteous desire
- True worship
- Good will
- Words of wisdom
When you're dead, you're not worried about yourself. When you're dead, you're not concerned about winning an argument. When you're dead, you're not sinning.
This spiritual death is built upon the humility of Jesus, who, though He existed in glory with the Father, made Himself a servant and allowed Himself to be crucified. He was obedient to the point of death and the Father has given Him the Name which is above every other name. If you're still in Philippians 2, just keep reading backwards and you'll see it.
The Creator of all died and you died with Him. The one, true God was crucified and you took the nails as well. He lived His life with perfect humility and that's the life He has given to you.
There is so much to say about who you are and what you are called to do as a God-fearing husband, but nothing else matters if you're not dead. Once you embrace this death, every other lesson makes sense. You've been buried, why act like you're not?
See you next Monday for Lesson 2.