Herbert W. Armstrong often said that government is everything. But why? If you have God’s government, everything else falls into place! Everything runs well when God is in charge. Under God you have one leader who submits to our heavenly Father. That man directs all those under him, who submit and fall in step with God’s way of doing things. You don’t have an agglomeration of differing ideas about how things should be run. You have one way. As a result, there is peace, harmony, order, unity, singleness of purpose and happiness!
The need for God’s government in our lives is evident by the fact that it is not in man to direct his own steps (Jeremiah 10:23). All need guidance, and God provides that guidance within the family through His government.
Government is simply a system of organization and order where everyone plays a part to make it work. Notice how in God’s way of avoiding confusion, Paul draws an important distinction between men and women. He emphasizes that they each play an important part, but places the responsibility to guide and instruct the family squarely on the man’s shoulders.
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. … Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35, 40).
To the congregation in Corinth, Paul also wrote: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. … 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” (1 Corinthians 11:1, 3). Boiled down, this speaks of two basic roles: leaders and followers.
One of the key leadership responsibilities of a man is that of being his family’s guide. It is a man’s foremost obligation. If we carefully consider this charge, then we learn that a man is responsible for the spiritual well-being of his wife and children. As the head of the wife he needs to consider her spiritual progress as Christ does with respect to the Church, being the Savior of the body (Ephesians 5:23). Likewise, a father must guide his children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). That way is the way of righteousness, also referred to in Scripture as the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
Two Different Roles
We all play both the role of leader and follower, depending on the circumstance. All of us have situations where we report to someone, and situations where other people report to us. As long as we are subject to God, this government ensures that everything runs smoothly, peacefully.
Even within the Godhead, you have a leader—God the Father—and a follower—Jesus Christ! They follow that same pattern of government.
The God who does everything decently and in order made a wise decision when He created the human race. He did something that ensures peace, harmony, order, unity and happiness for all of mankind: He created us in two groups: male and female (Genesis 1:26-27).
God created the sexes for a definite purpose. He didn’t have to do it this way. God Himself is neither male nor female. But God put in place, in a tangible way, the fact that there must be government in the family.
This article will examine a key aspect of the man’s role within the family. By extension, it applies to the man’s role within the Church and within the community and society at large.
God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). Men and women are equal in their spiritual potential (1 Peter 3:7). All of us will be judged according to our works.
Men and women are not equal in authority within marriage. Within the home, or in family matters, there must be a God-ordained structure, order and government. In God’s Kingdom there will be a restitution of this structure of family government and order.
God gave marriage and family as God-plane relationships (Ephesians 5:22-23). To their wives, men ought to fulfill the role of Jesus Christ to the Church. To their children, men ought to fulfill the role of God the Father. This proves the importance of the husband and father in the family.
Within God’s Church and society, God intends men to fulfill all major leadership positions.
Notice 1 Timothy 2:11-13. This teaches a principle about government within the home, God’s Church and society! These roles equip us for future responsibilities and God Family living. But they also ensure that matters function smoothly on the physical plane.
A wife is of great value to her husband—she is the help fitting for him (Genesis 2:18-23). She should give advice and help, but should not lead! A man would be a fool not to listen to a wife’s input. Likewise, he will be a failure if he relinquishes his authority within the home—the authority God has charged him with.
Since we live in Satan’s world—a society totally under his deceptive power—some of the greatest deception is in this area of government! It is the first area Satan attacks to try to confuse people and deceive them.
Satan started in the garden of Eden—at the very beginning. The first chance he got, Satan went straight for Eve (Genesis 3:1). He tempted her and undermined the government within that first marriage.
Verses 2-6 tell us what happened next. Adam failed to lead! He should have said: “Put that fruit down! You shouldn’t have done that, Eve. We need to repent before God for disobeying Him! From now on, you need to stay closer to me. Don’t listen to that snake!”
Rather than taking the lead and reestablishing the government, he succumbed and followed! What a host of problems that brought on.
Satan has been using this same method ever since. He hates God’s government. He hates the order and peace it brings and will do anything he can to create a leadership void.
Sadly, strong role models for men are rare. Especially in the end time, it was prophesied that strong, godly male leadership would be removed from the nations of Israel (Isaiah 3:1-15). Satan’s society has destroyed our men! He gloats over his tremendous success in watering down the male role.
His success must—and will—be reversed when God’s government rules the Earth. Soon men and women will be re-educated about their roles.
Today, God’s people need to fight hard to keep His plan for mankind burning brightly in their minds.
God wants His people to do it right, to fulfill their respective, God-given roles in spite of trends in society. He is honored in women who will follow their husbands, fathers and ministers with a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). That requires men who will direct their families in a godly, balanced way. God desires them to take their place in His family government, with enthusiasm and confidence.
While it is important to contribute to society, solving problems and meeting needs in the community, such are secondary to a man’s responsibility at home. He needs to lead his family to salvation through the instruction in and the application of the Scriptures that make “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15). A man’s usefulness in the community is realized principally as he builds a God-fearing home and a happy marriage that produces respectful, obedient and useful children.
Failure in the home is a man’s greatest failure. We must realize what is at stake. Jesus Christ knew His responsibility to the Church demanded that He do anything to see it succeed (Ephesians 5:25, 27). No physical or material success in life can compensate for the neglect of the spiritual well-being of a man’s family.
A man makes his most notable contribution to the world only when his household functions the way it should. The establishment of a purposeful society results from men taking their responsibility of guiding and instructing the family seriously, effectively ruling their homes with firmness, kindness and love, developing their children into happy, well-adjusted citizens.
The Essence of Leadership
A guide leads or directs the way. As head of the family, a man must provide the direction for the family. He does so not only by providing spiritual instruction to his family, but also by embracing his responsibility in setting policies, rules and worthwhile goals for his household. These include directives of conduct as well as financial and educational planning. In consultation with his wife, he must make the final decisions. The smooth running of any household will require the delegation of some of his authority to his wife, especially in affairs of the household and matters concerning the children. However a godly leader reserves the right to intervene when necessary.
To fulfill this sacred charge, the man must ensure God is the true Head of his family. He must look, and be conformable, to Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). If not, he is prone to fall into many potential pitfalls, including the misuse or abuse of his God-given authority.
The only way to be a godly leader representing Christ and the Father is to be a righteous man.
Think carefully about how Christ leads the Church. Study the scriptures that show how Christ will rule as King over all the Earth, and you will see that, above all, Christ is and forever will be a righteous King.
Christ is clothed with righteousness (Isaiah 11:5). He is exemplary in character, just in judgment, and has God’s law written on His heart. What an example He is for men today. God says that He will even cover us with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Righteousness is the single most important quality of a guide, of every man, husband and father. The more righteous you are, the better your family life will be (Proverbs 29:2).
To be a respected leader, you must be a respectable leader. The essence of leadership is righteousness!
It is from this position that a man must assume the duty to guide his family as a sacred trust. Do you take pride in your masculine role, or do you neglect it or turn it over to others? A godly leader knows his responsibility, realizing that providing guidance and leadership is his most important function. He will remain dedicated and devoted to his office of service.
His leadership will display firmness, decisive judgment, steadfastness and a keen sense of justice. Never will he allow others to dictate or steal away his leadership. Neither does he give in to pressure on matters contrary to his better judgment. Instead he displays confidence, which allows those he leads to follow readily.
All the while, this family guide must be motivated by outgoing concern for those he leads. He is willing to sacrifice his own pleasures for the benefit of members of his family. Unselfishness is a truly important quality in effectively guiding a family. No guide can be great unless his motivations are unselfish.
A righteous guide holds to his convictions. Whenever challenged on what he considers a right decision, he will follow through—even if it means disappointing his followers. He knows that his decision has been weighed in the best interest of those whom he directs. And he will exhibit the courage to hold to his judgment, even in the face of opposition. Such courage of conviction brings stability to a household.
Christ was a completely unselfish servant, but He was no pushover. Don’t confuse unselfishness with appeasement. Constantly giving in to the demands of those you lead means relinquishing your position as the guide and is not leadership. True guidance is a trait of greatness that brings order, great peace and security to those guided.
Instruction in Righteousness
The role of guide includes that of spiritual leader and educator. God the Father and Jesus Christ teach their Family.
In God’s Kingdom, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). That doesn’t just happen—it requires instruction. Righteous guides not only live righteously, they instruct their followers in righteousness. For this, they use the complete Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
Men are instructed to fill their homes with the knowledge of God (Deuteronomy 6:5-7), through personal example, family Bible studies and family prayer. Every man should learn to think like a minister in terms of what his family needs spiritually. On a regular basis, show those you lead how to address and solve problems, using the Bible as your guide. As you do, your family will look to you for spiritual leadership. This is an important way God’s government can be set right in your home.
Turning People to Righteousness
In the days of Noah, people had not been guided in the way they should go. Adam had rejected God, and his children were not instructed in righteousness. The proof of this was abundantly evident by this time (Genesis 6:5). Few men tried to steer mankind in the way they should go. It had come to the point where the lack of guidance resulted in worldwide chaos and only one man believed God: Noah (Genesis 6:6-8). What set Noah apart from the rest of mankind that he found grace in God’s sight?
God called Noah because he believed what God said (Hebrews 11:7). A guide’s responsibility is to continually emphasize the need for faith and obedience. Noah wasn’t seeking salvation, but he would listen to God, believe God and act on what God told him. That attitude saved him and his family.
The Apostle Paul recorded that Noah “moved with fear.” Noah acted on God’s instruction. That is the kind of righteousness God is looking for in all of us. It is what God expects men to teach their families. While Noah’s sons didn’t appear antagonistic to his teaching, it doesn’t appear they were converted. Yet they listened and followed Noah’s guidance, and God spared their physical lives.
Christian leaders are called to turn people to righteousness (Daniel 12:3). That requires much more than just being righteous. Noah understood that mentality. He preached and urged people to turn to a righteous way. That’s how men should guide their families. God’s people will bring righteousness to pass once Christ returns to rule the Earth. But we must start by developing that mentality as we guide our families today.
He Will Command His Children
About 400 years later, God called Abraham. One major reason was that Abraham was a guide for his family and those around him, to lead them to righteousness.
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19).
The Hebrew word for command can also be rendered to enjoin, to order, to instruct or teach. God knew that Abraham would guide his family well.
Isaac and Jacob were taught personally by Abraham—God’s prophet at that time (Genesis 20:7). A careful study of Genesis 18:19 reveals that Abraham taught Isaac and Jacob about the way of God’s government. God knew Abraham would teach his family to do justice and judgment. These are two important attributes of God’s government. That Abraham instructed his son and grandson in these matters shows how much of the God Family vision God had taught the father of the faithful.
The Apostle Paul stated, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3).
Abraham had come out of idolatry and a godless society that had not been taught the ways of God. He knew and taught his sons that a righteous way of life encompasses a total commitment and absolute surrender to God. It was this attitude in Abraham that God accounted for righteousness. He followed God in faith. That faith led him to obey God.
Filling the Leadership Void
God needs leaders who know what it means to be a leader—men who understand God’s government and authority within the family, who know how to guide those under their governance.
Men need to take on that responsibility today by guiding their families, and developing the faith and obedience of men like Noah and Abraham. God is about to fill the leadership void in families through education in righteousness.
A man’s role as the family’s guide is much more than a responsibility; it is an opportunity to grow in righteousness—both for leaders and for those who follow in faith, confidence and obedience.
God has given men the job of guiding those under their jurisdiction toward the ways of God. To fulfill this sacred responsibility, every man must submit himself to his Head, Jesus Christ. We all lead, and we all follow. That submission will be evident to all when Christ’s wife is adorned in righteousness (Revelation 19:8).
If we learn to submit and lead in righteousness today, we prepare to be guides of righteousness for all eternity.