Have you ever said, “I’ll pay attention to that passage when it is addressing me?” I certainly have. In fact, the past two Sundays i had planned on missing Sunday service for the simple fact that as a church we were going to hear sermons on 1 Peter 3:1-6 (addressing wives) and 1 Peter 3:7 (addressing husbands) on May 6 and 13, respectively.
I missed on the 6th, spending the day in extended prayer and meditation, but i decided to go yesterday–May 13, 2018.
Peter has a very important thing to say to husbands in his first epistle, but we miss the point if–in our exegesis–we say, “This only applies to husbands.” The verse i’m referring to says,
“Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
It’s the closing phrase i would like to focus on in this post. But first, i must do two things: 1) i must recommend this sermon from church yesterday morning; 2) i must briefly describe the same sermon.
In the sermon, the pastor emphasized the utter necessity of obeying the Bible in this specific area. For husbands specifically (of which group i hope to be a member someday), he explained three things that should define them:
- considerate — “live with your wives in an understanding way” (ESV).
- chivalrous — “showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” (ESV).
- companionship — “since they are heirs with you of the grace of life” (ESV).
He also biblically explained that these three attitudes are not to be defined the way the world defines them. Considerate is not defined as leaving romantic notes around the house; chivalrous is not defined as opening doors; companionship is not defined as the number of hours spent together. Rather, considerate is defined by the fact that a husband must consider his wife as worthy of knowing the Word of God, and as such he must take the time to teach her (cf. Ephesians 5:25-26); chivalrous is defined by the fact that the husband must provide for his wife (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8); companionship is defined by the fact that what God has joined together no one must separate (cf. Matthew 19:1-12).
All three of those points can directly relate to my life, even as a single guy. If i take the attitude i took briefly at that point in the sermon–“this is written to husbands, so my prayers cannot ever be hindered if i’m single”–then i am totally missing the point. There was a reason why i paused over Proverbs 13:19 in my devotions yesterday morning (before going to church):
“Desire fulfilled is sweet to the taste,
but to turn from evil is an abomination to fools.”
We pray for our desires. However if we refuse to repent of our sins–even the “acceptable” ones–our desires will not be fulfilled. This is the same thing Peter is cautioning the husbands about in 1 Peter 3:7. If husbands are not considerate, chivalrous, or compassionate toward their wives, then their prayers will be hindered.
If i do not view women in a considerate, chivalrous, compassionate way, then why should God answer my prayer for a wife?
Considerate as a single guy
The picture above quotes Ephesians 5:25 as one key way in which husbands show consideration for their wives. A husband is responsible for the spiritual maturity of his wife. A wife is ultimately a stewardship entrusted to a man from God. As such, a Christian husband must be drowning himself in the Word of God and prayer so he can teach his wife and help her to become as mature in the Word of God as he is. To neglect this is to not consider the eternal good of one’s wife, and thus, to be inconsiderate.
So, as a single guy, this means i must keep growing in my knowledge of the Word of God so i can better teach my wife when God graces me in that most glorious of ways (this side of eternity).
In addition, this means i must study the Word and teach it to the people in my life. Currently, this is done primarily through this blog, but there are other ways in which it is to be done as well. And even though i don’t have any authority over anyone in my life except for myself right now, this doesn’t for a second mean that i can not practice my biblical teaching and continue to hone it more and more in line with biblical theology when i am given opportunities (outside this blog).
(Pray for me as regards my calling to ministry; as of today i am totally content with not pursuing full time ministry; my biblical knowledge is first and foremost for the benefit of my future family.)
Chivalrous as a single guy
When i usually think of chivalry, i think of knights and dragons and swords and princesses. Perhaps i need help, but this is just the kind of guy i am. (The original Sleeping Beauty is the best Disney Princess movie for all of these reasons.)
However, now that i heard the sermon yesterday, chivalry has taken on a new meaning. In addition, it has been very challenging to me. For the past almost 8 years i have wanted to do nothing but be a minister of the gospel. As such, i more or less fled from any other career path. As such, i have been blind to the fact that as a man i am called to provide for my future wife–and since i have no sustainable way to do that, maybe there’s a reason why a wife has been denied me (to this point).
While i open doors for women no problem, and while i strive to fight “dragons” for them as well, i am not being truly chivalrous if i have no way to successfully provide for one. As such, i must “leave my father and mother” and find a real job and become “self-sufficient” as far as income and rent and bills are concerned.
(This does not mean i need x grand in the bank before God will bring a woman to me, but it does mean i need a sustainable source of income [and not just a slew of seasonal jobs].)
Compassionate as a single guy
Compassion is composed of two words, the prefix “com-” which means “with,” and the word “passion” which means “feelings.” Actually, a better definition of “passion” would be the following:
“intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction” (Mirriam-Webster.com).
For a husband to truly act “with passion” (as the Bible defines it) he must have an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction” that his wife is the only woman for him, and that their marriage together is a lifelong commitment. There is no escape clause (though check out this paper for clarification on that statement). To be truly compassionate, the consideration and chivalry mentioned above must also be present. If those are missing, it doesn’t really matter what a husband does that might be considered compassionate, he is not truly being compassionate.
As a single guy, i must practice compassion. If i refuse to be involved in the life of a local church, i am not being compassionate. If i don’t sacrifice my rights for the good of others, i am not being compassionate. If i don’t carry other peoples’ burdens, i am not being compassionate. If i am not doing these things, it shows that my prayers will be hindered, and thus God will not necessarily bless my request for a wife.
(I am repeatedly blown away by the fact that every passage i study somehow comes back to the topic of the sacrificial love Jesus modelled [1 John 3:16] that we are called to imitate [1 John 4:15-17].)
In conclusion, i hope you enjoyed reading my musings on the sermon i heard yesterday. Again, i would highly recommend checking it out if you have forty-five minutes to spare. But more than my musings on a sermon, i hope you see that God showed me several things about myself through Sunday’s sermon. Let me share a brief portion of a prayer i prayed last week–Wednesday May 9, to be specific.
“Also, please guide and comfort me as far as work, woman, and worship are concerned. I feel lost.”
When we pray, and when we sit under the Word of God, God reveals things to us. Sure, He did not specifically tell me to get x job, or marry y woman, or do z as far as a local church is concerned, but He did show me attitudes and actions that need to take place to achieve more clarity in those areas.
God is good. And i can trust Him (much like this series of posts has shown).
Soli Deo Gloria