What causes a powerful nation to fall? In his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbons lists major reasons that contributed to the fall of the mighty Roman Empire. At the top of the list is the breakdown of family.
The same conditions that led the Roman Empire to its doom exist in the modern nations of Israel today. One reason God gives for why the nations of Israel are ruined is their upside-down families (Isaiah 3:12).
Family is the basic building block of any society. Satan weakens nations by attacking the family! “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). The word weaken in this verse also means to prostrate or to waste away. The implication is to overthrow.
Who does Satan seek to prostrate? Who does he most want to overthrow? Your family! He wants to corrupt and pervert family life in God’s Church! He attempts this by turning families upside down and weakening proper male leadership in the family.
There are few topics that impact God’s Church like that of male Christian leadership. As the head of the family goes, so goes the rest of the family!
At the beginning of mankind, God appointed man as the head of the family (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23) and the wife to be his helper (Genesis 2:18; Titus 2:3-5).
As soon as Satan was given the opportunity, he attempted to reverse these God-given roles and overthrow family leadership. That is the spirit we are fighting to this day—a spirit that turns families upside down!
Study Adam’s example in Genesis 3. This man had the opportunity to supplant Satan. Eve was deceived, but Adam was not (1 Timothy 2:14). He knew exactly what was going on when his wife gave him the forbidden fruit. Yet he weakly followed and submitted to her lead! He took the fruit, and in so doing, allowed all of mankind to go into bondage to the devil! Adam had a critical choice but did not dare to confront. He displayed a lack of leadership.
Look at the fruits of this failure: Adam’s firstborn son was mankind’s first murderer. His family had no peace!
The Genesis account shows that role-reversal in the family is not a modern phenomenon. What is unique about our day, however, is how widespread it has become. We live in a society full of upside-down families. This problem has affected everyone, whether we recognize it or not.
Man wants to tell God, the Supreme Ruler who made family and marriage, that he has a better way. As Isaiah prophesied, “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:16). People in this world think upside-down family structures are okay, but they are deceived.
Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “Those women’s organizations that disparage male leadership, in love, over the wife, are being deceived by a wily and evil Satan, as was Mother Eve, into opposition against their own Maker who gives them the breath they breathe” (Plain Truth, March 1981).
These deceivers are prophesied to grow worse and worse during the time we live in (2 Timothy 3:13). How much has this world’s attitude affected you? Are you deceived on this subject?
Lack Of Leadership
As a whole, strong male leadership is absent from the nations of Israel (Isaiah 3:1-3). The absence of leadership is a curse on those nations. Most men today act like babies, concerned only about themselves (verse 4). Our world is full of children without fathers and mothers without husbands. In far too many cases, if fathers are around, they aren’t leading correctly, or they are mentally absent, neglecting their responsibilities.
When strong men are not around to lead, someone has to fill the void (verse 12). When men don’t lead, women and children take their place.
In John’s Gospel: The Love of God, Editor in Chief Gerald Flurry writes about Isaiah’s prophecy of topsy-turvy families: “Men won’t lead. Even if they will, women won’t submit! This is the relationship God created in order to picture our marriage to Christ! Who do you think is inspiring the aggressive push to turn that relationship upside down?”
There is a power pushing men down—pushing men not to lead! Men are being trained to let women lead.
Although the woman is partly responsible for an upside-down family, the main fault lies with the man for rejecting his God-given role!
The Philadelphia Church of God is a spiritual nation, and it needs great leaders. Peter wrote, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people …” (1 Peter 2:9). We are priests in training who must learn from the biblical examples of a faithful, righteous priest who stood up for God and did what was right. This subject is important too for single men, who are also to be leaders in God’s Family.
Here are three points about how we can build a strong spiritual nation of leaders in God’s Church.
1) Love Your Office
In 1 Corinthians 11:3, the Apostle Paul shows God’s family structure: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” The Head of the man is Christ—the head of the woman is the man.
The husband must follow his Head. If he doesn’t listen to his Head and tries to work things out on his own, he can get into serious trouble—just like a wife who does not submit to her husband. It is not easy for a man to submit to Christ, but he must struggle and fight to do so!
God gave clear organization for the family unit. The husband has a God-ordained office to lead the family. We must not underestimate the importance of that office. God wants to know how husbands are fulfilling their office and judges them by how well they lead.
Fathers and husbands should embrace their role as a leader, provider and protector. Men should ask God for the help they need to embrace the role of leadership. True masculinity is the evidence of embracing God’s role for men in thought, speech and action.
“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Timothy 2:12). In today’s society, we see a lot of laid-back “leadership.” Men prefer women to lead and make decisions in the family—but this is a sin! The husband must be the head!
Scripture also says husbands and wives should submit one to another (Ephesians 5:21). A good husband will listen to his wife for the perspective and counsel she offers. But listening to a woman and being led by a woman are two different things. Do you listen to your wife when she presents ideas, weigh them and make the final decision? Or do you allow her to decide?
“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 Peter 3:7). A woman’s spiritual potential is just as great as a man’s. It is important for husbands to listen to their wives and work with them so their prayers are not hindered. God holds the men accountable!
Husbands must remember that God put them in an office. Men are not perfect. Husbands can make mistakes, but they must repent and turn to God the Father for help. The parable of the prodigal son teaches us that God will always take us back when we repent (Luke 15:11-24). Don’t allow fear or guilt to immobilize you as a leader.
2) Love Your Wife And Children
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). This may sound easy, but it isn’t. It is not natural for a husband to love his wife, so we must learn how to do it.
Men can fall into a paycheck mentality—thinking their only part in the family is to bring home a paycheck. Every man must learn to work hard for a paycheck, and then go home and work hard to love his family.
One way husbands can better love their wives and children is by controlling their own emotions. Emotions, or the lack thereof, can get husbands into trouble. Mr. Armstrong wrote that emotional immaturity has broken up many families. He stated that emotional maturity “is the real secret of ability to live the Ten Commandments … to Christian living and perfection” (Good News, March 1985).
Husbands need emotional maturity. Our emotions tend to drive us in all kinds of directions except the right one. Satan broadcasts in moods, attitudes and emotions. Satan wants husbands to be into themselves and into their own problems.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them” (Colossians 3:19). A husband can become bitter against his wife if he becomes self-centered. A wife who is not receiving the love she needs may try to pull a husband out of his selfishness. Instead of resenting his wife for it, the husband should examine himself.
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (verse 21). A lack of male Christian leadership can provoke children to wrath. Fathers can provoke their children by abusing them—or by neglecting them.
“If children fail to receive enough love from their fathers, they carry the painful effects for a long time to come—usually for the rest of their lives,” wrote Robert S. McGee in his book Father Hunger. “[O]ne common element keeps coming up in almost every case: an unfilled desire, a gnawing deep in their spirits, a continual craving to experience love from their fathers. The longer this need goes unfulfilled, the more the person suffers.”
Fathers must take the lead in child rearing, including at Church services. It is easy to use service in the congregation as an excuse to neglect your family or children, but the husband should take control.
Fathers are responsible for keeping their teenagers in the Church. Fathers should strive to make an emotional connection with their children.
3) Go After Your Weaknesses With God
Husbands need to ask God for help to bury the old man (Romans 6:6). God wants us to keep the old man down and make the changes we need to. We should be putting on God’s righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
“Our problems always try to come back,” Mr. Flurry wrote in “The Science of Spiritual War.” “God instructs us to destroy that old man so completely that he doesn’t have the will to come back! If you deal with a problem lightly and return to your business, it will come right back. You will be dealing with the same problems year after year!” (Royal Vision, March-April 2012). He encouraged us to fight our problems systematically.
We need to ask God for the strength to go after our weaknesses. In God’s hand is power and might, and He gives strength unto all! (1 Chronicles 29:12). God wants us to go to Him for help. If we go through our struggles with God, we will come out a stronger leader on the other side.
Eli the priest is an example of a husband who did not confront his weakness. He put his family above God and did not stand up for God (1 Samuel 2:29-32). Because of his sins, God allowed his family to go into bondage. God pronounced a curse on Eli’s family forever. That illustrates how serious this subject is!
We have to go after our weaknesses with God and be serious about it. Male Christian leaders need to contend in battle, striving to master their problems (2 Timothy 2:3-5).
In any war, whether physical or spiritual, laid-back leadership will get people killed. In the same Royal Vision article, Mr. Flurry wrote, “If you’re not fighting this war offensively, you’re not going to be a great leader.”
Satan does not want male Christian leadership in the Philadelphia Church of God. He would prefer laid-back leadership. He wants to destroy your family. If we don’t go on the offensive and fight, we will lose crucial battles.
“And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever” (1 Samuel 2:35). We need to pray that God will make us faithful husbands that will do things according to His heart and mind. These are the kinds of leaders we need. If we lead like this, God will build us a sure house.
God is training us to be leaders who will do what is in God’s heart and mind. We are preparing to be faithful kings and priests (Revelation 1:6). God is measuring us by how well we act like kings and priests today.
In 1 Timothy 3, Paul lists qualities a man should have in order to be considered for the ministry. These are qualities we should all strive to have in order to be kings and priests in the World Tomorrow.
Near the end of the list, Paul writes, “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (verses 4-5).
How we lead our families is of momentous consequence. Mr. Flurry made it clear that our eternal lives depend on it. If we don’t rule our home well today, we won’t be given a tomorrow!