Monday, March 26, 2007

Unrealistic Expectations?

My pastor is preaching through some major texts on marriage, which has proven, as always, to be a Gospel-centered time of Bible study and growth. He is currently on male headship and in lieu of his sermon yesterday I found myself in a conversation with a group of young women. To premise this conversation I will give you his three main points that he then fleshed out (and that you can listen to at www.desiringgod.org when they put the sermon up this week). Here they are:

1. Godly, male leadership means spiritual and physical provision
2. Godly, male leadership means spiritual and physical protection

The overwhelming consensus among these women was “we really aren’t ever going to find a man who is like that.” And unfortunately this is not an uncommon concern among young women. I have had many older women tell me “oh honey, good luck finding a man who will lead you. They just aren’t out there.” One of the young women whom I was speaking with yesterday said she had an older woman tell her this week that she should be more realistic in her expectations and not be looking for “Jesus” because He’s not going to come back and marry her.

I graciously disagree with the sentiments of these older women on so many levels, and would venture to say that their ideas about marriage are probably stemming from unmet expectations by the men in their own lives. But is it biblical?

No.

Marriage is the exact way that God has decided to display the mystery of the Gospel—the image of Christ and His Church. Of course He wants us to live according to the Scriptures. The longings of these young women’s hearts are not false hopes and unrealistic expectations—they are longings put there by their Creator because He wants us to display His glory. If God did not want us to strive and desire male leadership then He would not have put it in the Bible for us to examine and live by.

We live in a culture of overwhelmingly low expectations of everything. We have become so desensitized to laziness and conformity that we almost expect our men to sit on the couch with a remote control while they drool on their t-shirts watching NASCAR and Sports Center (not that there is anything wrong with Sports Center, or NASCAR). We must get out of the cultural norms and see what the Bible says about how we should live, instead of embracing complacency. This is not the model for biblical manhood, and we need to begin recognizing it as such. For far too long we have laughed off male (and female) immaturity as simply a fad to be grown out of. But what we are now seeing is that they are not growing out of it—delayed adulthood seems fun. This does not mean, though, that as Christian women we should acquiesce and take the “leftovers”. We must be willing to wait on a godly man, even if it means never getting married, or getting married when we are forty. We are not displaying the mystery of Christ when we hurriedly marry a “Peter Pan-type” man because we are fearful of becoming an old maid.

Secondly, when we expect men to live according to the Scriptures, then we won’t need to “find him”, he will find us. Biblical manhood necessitates pursuing and wooing a woman, because Christ’s relationship to His Bride necessitates Him pursuing and wooing her to Himself. Our desires are correct because they were put there by a loving Father who wants our contentment in our roles to display His glory. But in our desire for a man who leads according to the principles laid out in the Bible, we must not be a on a “quest” for him. Just like our Savior found us in our pig sty and lovingly rescued us, so will our future husband (when the time is right, which we don’t get to decide) lovingly pursue us and bring us to himself.

To be continued…

(I decided because there is so much more I want to say about this, I will talk more in my next post, maybe tomorrow, about biblical womanhood in relation to our desire for a godly man)

4 comments:

Rachel said...

It is hard to remember that God has our lives planned and ordained. If He wants us to marry, He has the right prince picked out for us. I think women often hinder mens leadership because we like to take charge and be independant.

Steven said...

What are the explicity qualities of a biblical man?

katie said...

no man is perfect tho, so if we are suppose to wait for the "right" one, how do you decide which sins to overlook? i mean, how biblical can a man be? how do you decide if a man is biblical enough when you know that no man is perfect, and they all have different failings? i know God has our lives planned out, and has us marry imperfect people (since obviously no one is perfect) but i dont know, my question makes sense in my head, but im having trouble typing it out! sorry..

cdt said...

Rachel,

Thank you for your insightful comments. You are so right that women often hinder men's leadership. I know in my own life I hate not being in control--and the Lord has really had to break me (and continue to break me) of my own inclination to manipulate situations for my own liking.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Katie and Steve,

You both read my mind! I planned on writing about those exact things in my next post. I know that saying we should wait for the right man will cause us to say "what is a biblical man" and "should we expect perfection?" So, I intend to try and write about those exact things today or tomorrow. We must think alike!

Thank you all for your comments! They are encouraging and thought-provoking!