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Grandfather Mountain, NC

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

Grandfather Mountain, NC
Grandfather Mountain, NC

Caution – if reading about what husbands “should do” (even in Scripture) is a trigger for you to feel depressed, discouraged, bitter, resentful, or upset – please skip the first part and go down to the section where we pray together for our husbands, my dear sisters!

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me – Part 1

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me – Part 2

Last week in Part 1, we talked about the fact that, surprisingly (at least to me), Scripture doesn’t really seem to address husbands praying with wives. There are no recorded examples of husbands praying with their wives that I can find, and there is no explicit command given by God for husbands to initiate prayer with their wives or to pray with them. The men (and women) of God of the Old and New Testaments mostly seemed to pray in private or in a corporate body of believers.

Of course, there is no prohibition on prayer between husbands and wives. Prayer between any two or more believers – when done in the power of God’s Spirit and with right motives – is an incredibly powerful gift and a treasure in which God allows us to participate. I believe that private prayer is where we tend to do the most learning and growing in Christ.  I also believe that prayer is one of the most beautiful things God has given to us as believers – full access to Himself.

It is unfathomable that we even have this privilege once a year, much less all day every day! May we use this gift of prayer in ways that greatly please and honor our Lord, Jesus Christ!

In Part 2, we talked about reasons why husbands may not pray with their wives and we talked about the benefits of private prayer. We also joined together to pray a prayer of repentance if we have laid unfair expectations on our husbands about praying with us.

Today, we will discuss the biblical requirements for Christian men to be spiritual leaders in the church. I am not attempting to teach men, but rather show a biblical perspective to wives of how God defines spiritual leadership so that we don’t have unbiblical expectations or hold our husbands to man made rules. I also  want to present a balanced view so that wives know that God does call husbands to specific responsibilities, as well as wives.

We could possibly extrapolate that the qualities of church leadership would be honorable goals for husbands as spiritual leaders of their homes. But – there really isn’t a lot said in the Bible specifically about spiritual leadership in the home. Our husbands’ character is a matter that is between them and God. It is not something we can or should try to control for them. We may influence them in a godly or ungodly way, but our husbands make their own choices just like we make our own choices. The Bible affirms several things:

  • The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. (I Cor. 11:3)
  • The husband is to love his wife with the agape love of God. (I Cor. 13:4-8, Eph. 5:22-33)
  • The husband is to care for and nurture his wife as he would care for and nurture his own body. (Eph. 5:22-33)
  • The husband is to be gentle and not harsh with his wife so that his prayers will not be hindered. (I Peter 3:7)
  • Wives are to honor and respect their husbands. (Eph. 5:22-33, I Peter. 3:1-6)
  • Wives are to cooperate willingly with their husbands’ God-given leadership (unless a husband is asking his wife to clearly sin or condone sin) so that the Word of God is not maligned. (Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18, Titus 2:5)
  • Parents are to talk with their children about God, His Word, His truth, and about loving Him all throughout each day. (Deut. 6)
  • Parents are to train their children to obey them. (Eph. 6:1, I Timothy 3)
  • Parents, especially fathers, are to discipline their children. (Prov. 13:24, Prov. 22:6, Heb 12:11)
  • Fathers are not to embitter their children. (Eph. 6:2)
  • Christian leaders are to lead humbly, gently, lovingly, and selflessly for the good of those God has entrusted to them. (Eph. 5:22-33, Eph. 6:2, 2 Tim. 2)
  • Christian leaders are to endure hardship like good soldiers of Christ. (2 Tim. 2:3)
  • Church leaders are to warn those who quarrel, avoid godless chatter, flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue love, faith, peace, and righteousness with a pure heart. (2 Tim. 2)
  • Christian leaders are to not quarrel, be kind to everyone, able to each, not resentful, gently instructing those who oppose them.
  • Christian leaders are to be Spirit-filled men of God. (Acts 6:3)

My assumption is that the requirements for a man to lead in his home would be less stringent than the requirements for a man to lead in the church. Here are qualifications for believing men who are to lead in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-12).

A pastor is to be:

  • above reproach,
  • faithful to his wife
  • temperate
  • self-controlled
  • respectable
  • hospitable
  • able to teach
  • not given to drunkenness
  • not violent but gentle
  • not quarrelsome
  • not a lover of money.
  • a good manager of his own family
  • not a recent convert
  • of good reputation with outsiders

A deacon is to be:

  • worthy of respect
  • sincere
  • not indulging in much wine
  • not pursuing dishonest gain.
  • keeping hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
  • married to wives who are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
  • faithful to their wives
  • a good manager of their children and his household

Most of these qualities are things to which all  godly women and women would also desire to aspire in the ways we relate to others.

Some general qualities we are all to have as believers:

A godly man/woman would love with I Corinthians 13:4-8 agape love by the power of God’s Spirit. He/she would be filled with the fruit of God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). A godly person would also abide in Christ, take up his/her cross and follow Christ on an individual basis (John 15:1-8, Luke 9:23).

I can’t help but notice that praying together or reading the Bible together in marriage doesn’t seem to be mentioned as a key component for marriage in Scripture or for a spiritual leader in Scripture. There are other things that are emphasized here – mostly character traits and qualities of godliness that show that God’s Spirit is working and alive in a man’s life.

PRAYER FOR OUR HUSBANDS:

Lord,

How we thank and praise You for Your wisdom and Your design for godly masculinity, godly femininity, and godly marriage. Your wisdom is infinitely higher than our own. We humble ourselves before You and acknowledge that You know what is best in everything and we do not. We gather together across the world, joining our hearts to lift up our dear husbands and brothers in Christ to You in prayer.

Cause us to be the wives our husbands need. Use us to inspire them, encourage them, honor them, and bless them. Let us be a safe harbor for our husbands. Let us be a place of peace, acceptance, security, trust, loyalty, godly love, honor, and genuine respect for them. Let us be nurturing and overflowing with kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control, goodness, joy, peace, selflessness, generosity, grace, forgiveness, godly wisdom, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Remove any tendency in our hearts to be like the Pharisees and to try to make our husbands obey a bunch of man made rules. Let us extend the same grace, mercy, understanding, and favor to our husbands that You do.

The enemy wants to destroy our husbands and our families. He wants to tear down their God-given leadership. He wants to ensnare them in sin. He wants to paralyze them into passivity or apathy. He wants to coerce them into selfishness and harshness. The enemy wants men and women to be either too passive or too aggressive. He wants anything but Your plan for our husbands and our marriages. Help us not to cooperate with the enemy – but let us cooperate with You, Lord. Open our eyes to the ways we can build up our husbands, cherish them, pray for them, empower them, honor them, live a godly life in front of them, and pour out Your love through our lives into their lives.

Let our husbands be strong in the Lord. Let them stand firm in the truth of the Gospel. Draw those who do not know You or who have wandered far from You back to Yourself, God! Let them be men who are Spirit-filled, courageous, bold, on fire for You, and completely devoted to Christ. Let them be holy men who desire to please Christ above all things. Let them have Your wisdom to lead and love us and our children for Your purposes to be accomplished and Your will to be done in our lives individually and as a corporate church.

We trust our husbands into Your hands for Your Spirit to work in them to form them into godly men. Let them do what is right. Let them not give way to fear. Let them love with your love. Let them understand all that Christ has done for them and let them learn to access all the riches of heaven in prayer. Transform them to be more and more like Christ. Use them to change this world for the Kingdom. Use them to shine for Jesus in our families, churches, neighborhoods, work places, and countries. Let this generation of men forsake all sin, and every addiction and impure thing and take up their crosses individually and follow You wholeheartedly. Let them be faithful to You. That is the only thing that matters.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RESOURCES:

My favorite description of godly spiritual authority is from a class I took at my church. You can find the class notes here.

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem tackles the issue of male headship in the home and what it means for men to lead. It also addresses biblical womanhood and godly femininity as well. You can click on this link to get a free download of this book.

13 thoughts on “What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

  1. Just a thought, but perhaps you ought to try and imagine yourself in the world at the time and place where each bible book was composed.

    -There were no bibles, for couples to study together.
    -There were no churches for them to attend.

    Just think about it for a moment. The ancient Isrealites were instructed to attend a gathering once a year, and a long gathering once every seven years. The 1st century Christian met in each others houses.

    The implication is that it is more important to LIVE a godly life, than it is to emphasize constant reading/study. As for prayer, I think it is implied that husbands should pray with their wives, but there is no need to make it a mandate. If each person prays, and they LIVE according to Gods commandments, they will be doing what they are supposed to be doing. God lovingly refrains from making to many mandates, knowing that some people simply may not be comfortable praying with others.

    The other issue is that the congregation is fundamentally different from the family. A person that is not following the rules of the congregation can, and should, be removed for the protection of the congregation. A wife/husband that is not following God’s laws can not/should not be removed. Children, after reaching an age of reason, are responsible before god for their own choices. So, in a sense, the Bible emphasizes that a husband sets the example, recognizing that:

    -You can’t force anyone to serve god, and if you did try, it would damage them and you.
    – Jehovah gave us free will, so overriding an individuals free will would be like setting your self above god.
    – Your family will follow your actions, not your words. If you do not live what you teach, then your words are worthless.
    – To truly love your family is the best spiritual guidance you can give them.

    1 Cor 13:13 “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

    1. ravaught,

      Very true – there were no Bibles in homes. There were house churches in the New Testament, after Christ’s ascension.

      God desires us to be doers of the Word, not hearers only. And you are right, we can’t make anyone serve God or serve Him in a particular way. Thankfully, He has given us free will – and it is not our right to override the free will of others. That was a lesson I desperately needed to learn!

  2. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    This post describes the kind of godly leadership single believing women should be looking for in a godly man. Please keep in mind that we are all, men and women, on a journey of sanctification. No one is perfect in this life. But believers should be being increasingly transformed to be more like Christ.

  3. Amen to your prayer! I prayed it to our Heavenly Father as well! May the Lord move in mighty ways through these God glorifying, eternal based prayers, bringing more people into His Kingdom and more Christians living for His Kingdom, not the world.

    Your ministry is helping me be more thankful for my husband and respecting Him more. Blessings to you and those you minister to.

  4. Refined,

    I know you are dealing with a slightly more complicated situation than normal.

    What do you think about the idea of seeking simply to understand him at first – without making a judgment call or immediately disagreeing with him where possible – then praying about the situation before deciding how to respond and if to respond?

    Much love to you!

    1. Thank you so much for your reply, April. Jenn’s question struck such a cord with me. I’d love so much for her husband to feel heard and for them to be able to value differences. In my experience, a husband benefits from his wife’s perspective when shared in a way he can hear it. My situation is definately a bit complicated as I truly have to weigh the cost of such sharing. Seeking to simply understand, as you suggest, is a lovely art form. It’s always a nice ‘ground zero’.

  5. Jenn, Refined and Coco,

    Let me give you a quick perspective from a man’s point of view……YOU ARE MISSING THE GREATEST REVIVAL THAT GOD COULD EVER VISIT ON A MAN!;…which is the spiritual gift of discernment and the Spiritual enforcement of the sufficiency of SCRIPTURE in all matters of life and worship.

    The phrase “I have to agree with him 100% or else” is a very old excuse for denying him his aspiration to be heard fairly and harmonised with in truthful companionship…I say truthful because there is something slightly sweeping and dismissive about that phrase. You might as well be thinking “he’s a tyrant” or “he’s become a control freak” but is that truth?

  6. Peacefulwife,
    Im curious, what do you think about this verse?

    1timothy 3:4-5 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

    1. heart,

      For leaders in the church – they are to know how to properly discipline their children and they are to have obedient children. Is that what you are asking? 🙂

    2. Context is king. The last part of the verse tells you who is being referenced (i.e. those taking, or aspiring to take, a leadership role in the church). If a father/husband shows that he can command the loyalty, respect, and willful obedience within his own household, he is also showing that he has the personality traits needed to care for the conregation.

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