Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Premarital Counsel #3: Shepherds & Chisels

In Just 10 *short* days...

I will have my hair done, my dress on and will be spending these last few minutes waiting to see D waiting for me as my dad and I walk down the aisle!

We had our last premarital counsel session today (our next one will be planning out the ceremony) And it was just great! It was mostly geared towards D.

Our pastor talked about how the man is the leader and the misconceptions that our culture puts on that role... Most people think of this scripture (Ephesians 5:21-25) in a different way:
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.

Bro. Steve said that the same charge/instruction is given to the wives 2 times. First in verse 21: "And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." submit in this verse is translated as commit or swapping deeds... D now owns my life and I own his... we do not own ourselves anymore. We will not be the same people anymore. And the second charge in verse 22: "22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord." again, we submit. But, not like our culture thinks... submit does not mean, obey in this context. We are not to be demanded by our husband... but we are to FOLLOW him...

The husbands, however, are charged (in verse 25) with... "...husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her" Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Basically, Christ lived FOR the church... he did everything for us... he even died for us... Bro. Steve said that this way of thinking makes men think they are weak, but actually they are strong in doing this.

Our pastor gave us an example of himself and his wife. He said, "I don't let my wife fill up her own car with gas... I take care of chores... I will do things for her and make her sit down... unless she just wants too to do them... I treat her like a princess, like a queen!" He said, that this just further proves the relationship Paul is describing in this passage. When husbands treat their wives as princesses/queens... their wives hearts melt, and they further trust in them and want to FOLLOW them. Husbands lead, wives follow.

He said there are 2 types of leadership. The "cowboy" way and the "shepherd" way. They are drastically different.

The "Cowboy" way of leading is this: you are going to do what I say... there is no option - like cowboys herding cattle. The cattle have no option, they are whipped into formation and herded with everyone else. He said the military is much this way. They say go, they go. This way of leading is firm, and is "the only way" the cattle don't get to choose :)

The "Shepherd" way of leading is this: caring... the sheep follow their Master not because they have to, but because the WANT to... they trust in their Shepherd to keep them from harm... they are not MADE to go, but they CHOOSE to go.

Christian husbands are supposed to lead like a Shepherd. Our pastor said that many men now-a-days in our culture view the "Shepherd" way of leading as weak... In the older days, women didn't get much of a choice. But, if husbands led as Shepherds, we are more likely to trust in their leadership and WANT to follow.

He said Husbands are to be one step ahead of wives.
"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." 1 Peter 3:7
It states that wives are weaker... not many women like to hear that... but that is the reason we follow... the Husband leads and we follow. That is why he has to be one step ahead... if he weren't, the relationship would not work.

I found our next topic very profound! He was saying that from the day we accepted Christ and were saved, we are being sanctified. Think about a sculptor (Christ) and a big piece of granite (us). The sculptor sees what it is going to be... He starts to chisel... with a big chisel and mallet. Those first few hits are hard... they hurt... BIG chunks begin to fall. We are being shaped into the image of Jesus. Once the big chunks fall... He starts using smaller chisels... defining us more into the image of Christ... once He starts to see the shape... all He needs to use is a polishing cloth.

Bro. Steve said many of the older people in our congregation are being polished right now :)

Those big chunks are our trials or hardships. We humans think of things like comfort, happiness, peace to be good... and they are... but read this.
"2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.." James 1:2-4
James tells us RIGHT HERE that our trials are good! hard things good!?? yea, I know! But, the more we "hurt" or go through trials (chunks falling) the more we are becoming like Christ - "not lacking anything".

Bro. Steve said that marriage is a blessing and it is very much integrated into our "sanctification" process. Once married, God has new tools to use. He will use us as "chisels" on each other! IMAGINE... no one else are we going to be more vulnerable with, no one else are we going to trust the most, no one else knows what buttons to push, no one else are we going to be the closest with - than each other. God will use us to shape each other...

I have learned so much and can't wait to marry this man of mine :)