A husband’s authority

A husband’s authority.

What springs to mind when we see this phrase?

  • Part of God’s good design
  • Given for a purpose
  • Given for the glory of God and the benefit of the family

Or is it:

  • BAD!
  • Oppression!
  • Abuse of power!
  • Great potential for evil!

Certainly there is great potential for evil.

What’s the solution?

Should we even be talking about a husband’s authority?  By talking about it are we distracting ourselves from more important things; or worse: do we demonstrate that we are at increased risk of the bad kinds of things?

A different phrase

Let’s change the phrase under examination for a moment.  What if the phrase were:


What springs to mind when we see this phrase?

  • Part of God’s good design
  • Given for a purpose
  • Given for the glory of God and the benefit of the family

Or is it:

  • BAD!
  • Of the devil!
  • Great potential for evil!
  • Lifelong consequences!

Certainly there is a great potential to use sex for evil.  But sex is a beautiful part of God’s good design, given for a good purpose, the glory of God and the benefit of the family.  Within God’s parameters, it is beautiful and right.  A lack of understanding of God’s good design here puts one at greater risk of the misuses (and attendant consequences) of sex.

I contend that in the same way, the great potential for evil when a husband’s authority is misused must not stop us from seeking to understand what God’s good design is in this important area.

Why now?

Why am I thinking about these things now?  Don’t I have enough going on?  Doesn’t the mere fact that I’m thinking through these things at this busy time in my family’s life demonstrate that I’m being distracted and unhelpful in a crazed quest for some kind of ego power trip?

Or worse:

“You’re just trying to force your wife to ‘submit’, aren’t you?”

No, what a perversion.  Have there been so many wrong applications of husbands’ authority that now we can’t even think of the phrase “a husband’s authority” apart from the idea of a negative, sinful abuse of power by which a husband seeks to dominate his wife?  Submission is a beautiful gift a wife gives voluntarily if and when she chooses.  You can’t coerce submission any more than you can preserve beautiful snowflakes by microwaving them.  Ugh!

On the other hand, it’s certainly possible that my heart isn’t right, even if I think it is.  The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked – who can know it? I encourage anyone who is concerned to ask Mary Ann how she feels about my leadership lately as I’ve been working to understand these things.  If you see concerns in her eyes or hear them in her voice, PLEASE confront me right away.

“Why think about this now?”

This is a question worthy of an answer.  Perhaps I should wait to try to understand this.  Certainly if I’m neglecting my duties to Mary Ann during this busy time to pontificate about some abstract concept, that would be horrid.  What a disgrace to my Lord that would be.  Lord, let it not be so!

But is this concept really so peripheral that it need not be understood, or can be deferred?

What does God say?  What is a husband’s authority supposed to be?  What is God’s good design?  How does God work it out for his glory, and for the good of the family?

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m convinced of the importance of looking for the answers in this area.

Lord, I’m going to hang on to you and not let you go until you show me how to glorify you and bless my family with this authority with which you’ve entrusted me.

Lord, make it be…
A good authority
Nourishing and
Strengthening and
Supporting my family
Protect me from sin
Coldness, selfishness
Ugliness, rottenness
May my beautiful wife’s countenance
Not wilt with harsh rays
But shine under the warmth of my tender care
May my children know that they are blessed as well
Let all see your goodness and praise your Name
Be glorified in us, O Lord!

Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
–Psalm 25:3-5 (NIV)

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