About three weeks ago after I already had these sessions planned out, the Lord began to impress something upon my heart as a rebuke to me in my narrow-mindedness and my lack of sensitivity. That I was not putting a very important thing into this leadership seminar; and that has to do with how we deal with our wives; the other half of us. If we're going to be true, spiritual leaders, we're going to have to become students in this area of dealing with our wives.
So the Lord began to lay this upon my heart. You know how sometimes leadings are - they're kind of in the background and there's a lot going on and I just kind of left it there in the background. But as the days went on, it got a little bit clearer and I began to wonder, "Now maybe the Lord wants something else to be said..." And that's the way I left it and I continued on with my direction. But as the week has unfolded here, I'm very strongly impressed that I need to share, the things that I want to share here. And I share them out of much failure. I assure you. I have failed many times in being the spiritual leader with my own wife. My failures have caused some reproach to come upon my name. My failures have caused some hurt in my home; some insecurity in my children; and even the name of the church here to be reproached some for my own failures in this area. So I share out of failure, some lessons that I have learned. I don't feel like I've learned them all, but I am learning.
For years, since I've been bringing home messages and the Home Series is going out and it seems like it goes in every direction in this country, I've always known in my spirit that there was one message that was missing in that Godly Home series, and I knew why it was missing. And I knew it. It was missing, because it was missing.
So God very lovingly a few years ago showed me how drastically it was really missing. And from that I have learned a few things, and I'd like to share them. The title of this message is A Spiritual Leader Will Have A Radiant Wife.
Many men today are missing one of the most glorious crowns on their lives that they could ever have. They are missing a glorious crown that God wants them to have, but they do not have. In Proverbs chapter 12 in verse 4 the Bible says, "A Virtuous woman is a crown to her husband." A crown to her husband; and I believe and have learned by my own mistakes, that a husband has a lot to do with whether a woman is a virtuous woman or not. And I've learned by my mistakes that we have a very active role, in helping our wives to be radiant wives.
The Bible clearly teaches us that it is the husband's responsibility to help his wife to become a glorious, radiant, shining woman. And I had to think while I was preparing this lesson, that fathers have a very big part in helping their daughters to be virtuous women also. I mean if you're going to find virtuous women, they don't happen by accident. And I think that many of the things that I'm going to share here today you can also apply them to the relationships that you have with your daughters, especially as they get into their teenage years. May God give us all wisdom, to exercise ourselves in these areas, that we might first of all, have radiant wives, and second of all, have radiant young ladies; pure radiant young virgins, to godly young men, to establish solid homes for Him.
Turn with me if you would please to Ephesians chapter 5; I want to read here. In Ephesians chapter 5, we're going the verses where it speaks about the husbands loving their wives and it gives the relating points that we're to love them the way Christ loved the church, etc., etc. And I like to read a few words in replacement of other words, so that we can get the effect of what God is saying to us as men concerning our wives. Reading chapter 5, verse 25 and following: "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it. That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the water by the Word, that he might present her to himself a glorious woman. Not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives, as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself."
These are very interesting words as we look at it in light of our responsibilities to our wives. Picture your wife - a glorious woman. And I emphasize the glo-rious woman on purpose. Because we're speaking about wives that are radiant. We're speaking about wives who glow. We're speaking about wives whose lives depict the very character and nature of the God of Heaven. And it's our responsibility. Where there's a radiant woman; a woman whose been cleansed by the Word of God, by the continual exercising of the Word of God upon her heart. A radiant woman, is a woman of godly character. She has godly character wrought in her life. She's a woman with mature judgment because her heart's been filled with the Word of God and she's a wise woman, and she can see all of life from God's point of view and she's filled with wisdom and understanding and yet she has proper judgment for the things of life that God calls her to. A radiant woman is a woman that has no major spiritual problems in her life because she has a husband who's jealous over her spiritual well-being and he has sought out by wisdom and by prayer and by earnest Bible study and by seeking counsel, to find and deal with every major spiritual problem that may be inside of that woman's heart. And a radiant woman is a woman with the glow of God upon her countenance, because she's happy and she's fulfilled and she's satisfied, and she's fulfilling her place, and she knows that she's an important person in life.
Ephesians clearly teaches us that we have a large part in this. And it is to be done in the tenderness of our Savior's example; the way that he deals with us. Aren't you glad that we have such a clear revelation of how we are to carry these tasks out with our wives? We're to love them the way that Christ loved the church. We're to love them the way that Christ loves us. And we all know how that is, and we know how tenderly he deals with us, and we know how gently he works with us, and we know how lovingly he gets ahold of us and guides us and we know how patient he is with us and how longsuffering he is with us and how patiently he waits for us sometimes, even months, and sometimes even years before that thing is changed in our lives the way that he wants us. And all the while that he's waiting patiently, to see those things change he's still pouring out his love and his blessing, and his acceptance upon us while he gently deals with us, like the loving Savior that he is.
I'm so glad we have such a beautiful picture in the Word of God. How we're supposed to deal with our own dear wives that God has given us.
A Spiritual leader will have a radiant wife. She'll glow. Her face will glow. Her life will glow. Her character will glow. Her testimony of her life will glow. And brothers, it will only be a crown upon your own head.
Turn to 1 Peter chapter 3. Before we read in chapter 3, I'd like to drop back and read chapter 2, verse 22 through 25 so we can get the context here. There's a couple of key words here that give us again, the beautiful example of how to deal with our wives. In chapter 2 in verse 22, reading; speaking about our Lord Jesus: well let's read verse 21: "For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judges righteously. Who his own self bear our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye are healed. For we were as sheep, going astray, but are now returned unto shepherd and bishop of our soul. Likewise ye wives..." and that word likewise is pointing back to the verses we just read. "In like manner, ye wives, looking at your savior and the way that He suffered redemptively for the sake of your souls, likewise ye wives, you suffer in a redemptive way, that you may live in a right relationship with your husbands. But look down in verse7. The "likewise" shows up again. And I believe the "likewise" is pointing again, back to those verses. Only this time it's dealing with us as men. And it says, "Likewise, ye men, in the same way that your savior suffered redemptively for you, that he might see you to be part of the glorious church without spot or wrinkle, and he longed and he loved and he looked forward to that day that your life might be transformed and purified. And he suffered that he might see that happen in your life; husbands, "likewise", "dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers be not hindered."
So many times I read those words and I wondered, "What does that really mean - "your prayers be not hindered?" And you know when you read over a verse and God is trying to get something across to you, but you don't stop long enough on the verse to learn it, there's a question that comes up in your spirit as you read it, and so many times that same something spoke to my heart and said, "There is a gold nugget in there." And there is brethren. That word "dwell", it means to "commune and tabernacle" with your wife. What a beautiful picture of the relationship of husbands and wives. "Dwell" or "Commune" or "Tabernacle" with your wives according to knowledge." Just like God communes with you according to knowledge. Aren't you so glad that he does? Aren't you so glad that he doesn't cut you off? Aren't you so glad that he doesn't withdraw his communion from you? But rather he dwells with you according to the knowledge that you have. And he never lays upon you more that you can bear, does he? He's such a loving savior. Never lays more on us than we can bear. But he dwells with us according to knowledge. And the scripture here says, "giving honor to the wife, as unto the weaker vessel." Honor. You know what we do so many times, we just say, "They're the weaker. That means they don't know anything. They're dumb, they don't know this, they don't know anything about that." But it says, No, we're to give honor unto the weaker vessel. Not shame - so many times we give shame unto the weaker vessel. "What do you know? You're just a woman!" And those kind of thoughts, and maybe we don't say them, but they go through our minds sometimes, brethren. But the Bible says we're to give honor unto them, because they're the weaker vessel. They are to have a place of tenderness and care. Just like we give special honor to our eyes. We then dust starts blowing, we squint our eyes; we take care of those eyes. They're a small member; they're a sensitive member. We take care of them.
"Give honor unto the weaker vessel, as being heirs together, of the grace of life." The glorious honor that God has given to bring children into the world. We're heirs together, of the grace of life. A glorious honor that God has given us. And then it says, "that your prayers be not hindered." I wonder how many husbands and wives are effective prayer teams, that go to war together, and battle against the enemy in prayer together. "That your prayers be not hindered..." I'm afraid more times than not, the relationship between husband and wife has enough strain in it that they don't even pray together, or very little. But I believe when it's talking about prayer here, I don't think it's that little prayer we pray at devotion time, I believe it's prayer. "Honey, here's a need. Let's go after it. Since we are a prayer unit, and we are one, and we agree together as one. Let's go after this one." A ministry of prayer with husbands and wives.
If a man was preparing for the ministry, the Bible would say he is not ready for the ministry unless he has had an effective ministry in the life of his wife. One of washing and purging, teaching, cherishing, praying and discipling that woman. You want a man, ready for the ministry? You find one who has a radiant wife. You find one who has a sanctified wife. You find one that has a wife that's been cherished and guided and loved and taught and washed and comforted and discipled in all the areas of life. You find one like that. And you'll find a man that will be able to disciple someone else. Look up here young men; look up here.
How can I help my wife be a radiant, glorious, spotless, holy, blameless wife? Oh, that be a good question upon each one of our hearts today. How can I help my wife to be a radiant, glorious, spotless, holy, blameless wife? Well, number one, you can begin by recognizing that she is a different creature than you are, that God made her different. Brethren I think we need to become students of our wives. We need to know them. We need to understand them. We need to know how they think. We need to know how they feel. We do that in any other area of ministry, don't we? The man who has a burden for the "down and outers" out on the street, he'll be out there with them and he'll listen to them and he'll find out what makes them tick, and he'll find out what their struggles are and what their burdens are, and the temptations that they face. He'll find all those things out and he'll get to know those struggling drug-addicts and those struggling alcoholics out on the street. He'll get to know them inside out because of the burden he has to see their lives changed and sanctified. Brethren, why don't we have a burden like that, that we may know our wives and find out what their struggles are, and what their fears are and what their burdens are and what their temptations are, that we may be able to have the wisdom to be able to minister to them, and make them glorious, radiant, spotless, holy, blameless wives. It is the Lord's will. It is his will. And it is hurting the effectiveness of our ministry. Best of all, we can be a spiritual leader in our home, and with our wives and deal with problems as they come up. And I don't think I need to say a lot about this, because we've spoken a lot about being spiritual leaders. But brethren, I don't think we realize sometimes how much security it gives our wives, when they see us leading out and being spiritual leaders in the home, and taking care of problems when they're there. And you know how it is brethren sometimes, we wish that we could put our heads in the sand and wish those problems away, but they don't go away, do they? Have you ever seen an individual who is filled with insecurity, radiating?
Next of all, through wisdom, and counsel, we can be wise managers of money in our homes. And take the pressure, the financial pressure off of our wives. It's not right, brethren. If it's that way, it's not right. Through mis-management, through spending on things that we don't need. Things that we want that we don't need, we bring pressure, financial pressure. And then when our wife needs something and she comes and asks for it we say, "We don't have any money. We can't afford that." And she knows where you spend the money. She knows when you want that tool, you go get it. When she needs something in the kitchen, "we can't afford it". Well that's her workshop. And that's just an example. My plea here today, is that we by wisdom and by wise counsel, and carefulness; we'd be wise managers of the finances of our homes. And relieve the pressures off of our wives. Now God does allow cycles of poverty in our lives. And I fully agree with anyone who wants to live more in poverty for the sake of the gospel. But if I believe if you're doing that, and you're doing your homework right with your wife, you'll have a radiant wife through that poverty. But I'm talking about those unwise things that she sits back and watches you do. And then when she comes and says, "We need some money for this or that." "Ahh, we can't afford it." That is like a wound in her heart. "You don't matter." That's what it says.
How can we make our wives, radiant wives? Let your wife be the object of much praise from you. Much praise. You know something about ladies, about wives? One of the greatest desires of the hearts of women, is that they may please their husbands. Basically, if they're converted, and their hearts are set in a right direction, there is within them a need and a desire to do the things that make you happy. But so many times, they don't know what makes us happy, because we never praise them for all the things they do. And I'll say this just to give a little caution here. There's a difference between praise and flattery. And we need to be careful, that we're not just flattering our wives. But praise, oh, that will motivate your wife. It will show her what pleases you and motivate her to do it more. Cutting our own throat, aren't we? But we ought to praise our wives for the godly character that they have. And brethren, they all have some, don't they? I thought to myself, "Now how can I get this point across?" Because you may be sitting here today and say, "Well my wife doesn't have very much to praise her about." Brother, you just sit for a little while and imagine what it would be like if your wife died tomorrow, and how many things you would all of a sudden appreciate in that woman. That's a good healthy exercise. "What if my wife died tomorrow? What would I be missing?" And brethren, you know as well as I do, the character and the blessings and the care, and all the things that they do for us will come looming up before us when we think of that. You'll think that way. And you'll look and you'll be alert and you watch and you praise that woman that God has given you and you encourage her for all the things she does for you. And she'll be a radiant woman for it. She'll shine, and she'll thrive on that.
Best of all, give your wife the attention she craves for. See, she's not a man, she's a woman. Men like admiration. Women, love attention. They love it. We have a little saying at our house, a little bit of attention goes a long way. And it really does, and I've learned that some. A little bit of attention goes a long way. Tender, loving, care. I have many times seen my wife blossom, under a little bit of attention when she was a little down-hearted. It will tell her, you are important. And she needs to sense that from you. "You are important."
How can we have radiant wives? Be continually finding creative ways to say "I love you" to your wife. "You are special". "I need you", "You're the most important person in my life". Be continually looking for creative ways to say that. And here's one we need to park at a little bit. A lot of us have heard, "Yeah, tell your wife you love her." "Hey, I told her I loved her. I tell her once a day I love her." No brother, that's getting old. Remember the sameness? Don't just tell her I love you; write her a little note, and lay it on the bed. And when she comes through the bedroom in the middle of the day, to put the clothes away, she'll see that note there, and pick it up and there's a note from that man, that's her husband that fires the desire to please, that says, "Honey, I loved you enough today to take the time to write a little note and let you know it." A card every now and then that comes in the mail unexpectedly; tender words at the end of the day; when you see her laying on the bed and she's not feeling well. Tender words of sympathy and kindness say, "I love you". A small gift occasionally, when she's not expecting it. And brethren, please, remember your anniversary. It's very precious to that wife of yours. Remember it. Remember that day. Remember to make it special to her with kindness, with a card; maybe you don't have enough money to do anything special with her. But she's not looking for that special thing anyway. She's looking for that special attention that says, "You are the most important person in my life."
Next of all, make a priority of spending quality time with your wife, talking with her; listening to her; communicating with her; having intimate conversation, and by that I mean intimate heart-warming conversation. Not necessarily, "I love you sweetheart" conversation, but intimate conversation. "Here's how I feel"; "Here's how I feel"; "This made me a struggle"; "Here's a goal I have in life"; "This is something I'd like to see happen in my own life". Intimate, heartwarming communication, with that other half of you, that you are one with. So many times we leave our wives out of our real world, and they long to be in the middle of our real world.
Next be alert to the dangers and pressures that your wife faces. We need to learn to be sensitive. Sensitive enough to be watching when the pressure is getting too much on our wife, and be wise enough and a leader enough to eliminate the pressures if we can. Now some of them we can't, and if we can't eliminate them, then let's be the encourager, that comes along side and lifts them up in the midst of that which they're going through. But many times, we can eliminate some of those pressures. Many times we can look at some of their problems and help them solve them. And oh, what a blessed relationship if our wives would gain that confidence in us and know, that "If I come to my dear husband, and share a problem that I have he won't just sit there and listen, but he'll also say, "Now how can we solve it?"
Next, and this one's very practical, fix the things that are in need around the house. Many times, brothers, we undo every sweet word that we say to our wives, by that faucet that just keeps on running for days and weeks and months. And it's a frustration to our wife. And when she goes to it and sees it again and faces the frustration of it, she wonders, "Why doesn't he fix it? Why doesn't he know how this frustrates me?" Let's fix the things that need to be fixed and help her organize her home. Woman are detail creatures. We need to help them to organize their home and aid them in it, in any way we can. God made them to be detail creatures. I'm so glad I have a detail, creature wife. There's so many little details that I can't remember that she just.... (several snaps of the fingers) right down the line. She's my helpmeet, brother! Let's aid her, in her job and her responsibility to be our helpmeet. She needs a shelf put up, help her put it up. She needs something organized? Help her with it.
The next one; cultivate good manners. This is a very important one. And we all know what it's all about, because when we were courting, we had them. We had those good manners when we were courting. We brushed our teeth before our dates. We made sure we were clean, we had clean clothes on; we made sure we were kind; we made sure we were gentle; we said, "excuse me" we said, "thank you"; we gave encouragements; we did all those things when we were courting. We had good manners for the most part. Get them back. Cultivate them. They are a burden to our wives, some of our, what we call, "manly" mannerisms. They're simply bad manners.
Next of all, overcome fleshly habits, and show her a disciplined life. Overcome those fleshly habits. Gluttony, anger, whatever else it may be; laziness. Overcome them, through the grace and power of God. And show your wife a disciplined life.
The next one. Show her humility, by admitting when you're wrong. And ask her to forgive you. I've heard this so many times: "My husband never says, "I'm sorry". He never says I'm sorry." And you know brethren, it's really not right for us to have a whole week on leadership, and not touch this area at all. Because it's so easy for us to just be the "leader with the boots on". And just come stomping down through. "You do this.... you do that.... I don't like the way this is being done.... I don't like this over here." And our wives, a lot of that falls on them, because they're the first one in line to receive the commandments from us. So let's show our wives humility, by admitting when we're wrong. Because brethren, we are wrong. We're wrong a lot! We wound our wives a lot! We say things in a short way, a lot! Most of us can go to them and say, "Honey, I didn't say that right. Would you forgive me?" The joy bells will go off in her heart when you do that. And her respect level for you will just go like this.......See we have that all backwards, we think, "Cover your faults, cover your faults, cover your faults, so you'll be somebody." And the reality, the more you humble yourself and acknowledge, where you're wrong, because she sees it anyway, the higher respect level your wife will have for you.
The next one: Love, honor and cherish your wife more than any other woman, job or hobby. 1 Corinthians says that the married man desires how they may please their wives. I think that there's some good in that. Let's not write it all away and say, "Yes, but it's the time. The time is that "such as they that have wives, be as if they had no wives..." We like to quote that one real...(tape ended on this sentence.) "They who have wives, they think about the things of this life and how they may please their wives..." Do we? Do we have that thought continually? Let's see. How can I please my wife today? What will make her happy? Love and honor and cherish her, more than any other woman, job, or hobby. And what it will do is it will build much trust in her heart towards you.
Next; prepare ahead of time for changes. Don't just spring them on her. Prepare her ahead of time. This is one that I have learned the hard way. "Well, we're going to do this." "God said this, and we're going to do this." See, a woman lives in the immediate. And the man is future oriented. He's the dreamer, he's the visionary. He sees out ahead. But a woman is living in the immediate. Be wise brethren. Don't drop your future goals on your wife. She's living in the immediate. She wants to know how it's going to work out today. So don't just spring some new thing on her and tell her. "Well, I'm quitting my job tomorrow......" "What?" "Yes, yes. I'm been thinking about it, and I've been praying about it, and I decided I'm quitting tomorrow." Can't do that. We need to prepare her. If you feel that God wants you to quit your job, she ought to be one of the first people you counsel about it, number one. And number two, you need to be wise enough to prepare her, and help her to see how God's opening up another door, and there will be finances and the children will have food to eat, and we will have a place to live when we get done changing jobs. Because she thinks in the immediate.
Brethren, these things damage the spirit of our marriages, continually. They destroy the oneness of spirit; they hinder the flow of love and respect in husband and wife, don't they? They do. Constantly! And the more of these insensitive areas we have in our lives the more it hinders and makes trouble and oh, brethren, if we could just become students of our wives and how they feel and what they think and how we are hurting them so many different ways, if we just become students of our wives, it would save so many hours of counseling. You see, that's the way it is so many times. We just keep doing it and doing it and doing it, and then finally, our wives say, that's enough. I just can't go on. Then we call in the counselor. Let's be counselors, not the one's that call in the counselors.
Another one; don't make comparisons with other women. "Did you see Ellen? Why she looked so nice after she had her baby." Oh, no, no, no. "How come you can't be like..."? "Did you ever consider the way that... she does it?" Don't do it brethren. If you do it, put it away. Put it away from you. What that says to your wife is, "My husband is not satisfied with me. He's not pleased with me. And he's looking at other women instead of me." And it's like a knife in her heart, in her tender heart, in her emotional heart." And then just turn it a few times while it's in there, you know. Because I tell you what happens a lot of times when a man tries to do that, he'll bring something up to his wife, pointing at another woman, and then he gets a reaction, because she's wounded by what he says, and then rather than realizing, "I offended my wife" instead he tries to drive the point home a little more, and the wedge just gets deeper and deeper and deeper, to divide the spirit of your marriage. Don't compare your wife with others, other women. Be a "one-woman man" brethren. A one-woman man. That will build such a trust in your wife. It will make her glow with radiance.
Next. Seek her counsel and desire her advice. Let her know that you depend upon her opinion. God has given us a counselor, brothers. One who knows us, like nobody knows us. Nobody can give us counsel like our wives. Nobody knows us like they do. You know, being a pastor, you do get to know people. You get to know your brothers; you get to know the sisters in the church more so maybe, than other wives, because you're constantly working with them. And you know, when you get to know somebody, you start seeing their blind spots, and then when they come, and they have a decision they want to make, they don't ask you about it, you just kind of hear it through the grapevine, "Well, so and so is going to dump this job and get another job..." Or whatever it is. You start saying, "Oh no..." You know that person and you see that weakness in his life and you see him going to make a mistake before hand, and our wives go through this continually. When we start making a bunch of decisions without seeking their counsel, because they know us like nobody knows us, and they know our blind spots better than we do, because we usually don't listen to them. About them. So when they know us, and they see our blind spots and then we don't seek their counsel at all, they just sometimes, they just say, "Oh no, what is he going to do?" So, here's what we need to do brothers. Not just ask their counsel, but desire it. I need to know what my wife thinks. I don't have to do what she says, but I desire to know what she thinks. The Bible doesn't say, "do what your wife says", but we do need to know what she thinks, if we're going to be wise in our decision. And it tells her, "You're important. I don't look at you as a dummy. Somebody who's weak, who doesn't know anything. But you're important, and I need your counsel."
Next. I'm not done. Find out what her secret fears are and take action to remove them. Our wives have fears. Maybe they're afraid, you're going to leave them someday. Maybe they're afraid you're going to carry them off to some other place and not take care of them someday. Our wives have fears. I don't know what they are. But many times they have inward fears. If you're going to have a radiant wife, you need, with concern and love to draw out of her heart, what are those fears, and then seek to eliminate them if you can. Many times we can. You ever see a radiant person that was filled with fears? I never have. Ever see a person that could walk with God and was filled with fears? Never have. Fear and faith don't go together. We want her to walk with God. We want her to be radiant! We want to eliminate those things that we can in her life that are hindering her from becoming all that God wants her to be. Help her to find fulfillment in life, by encouraging her to fulfill her God-given responsibilities. Lead her in the areas, biblical areas. Help her to prosper in those areas of rearing children, and training children and being rich in good works and being a blessing and being a keeper at home. Encourage her and motivate her in those areas. She'll find her fulfillment there. Like a fish who's been taken out of the water and dropped back in again. Lead your wives into those things that they may drop back into that water and go, "Ahhhhhh. Some air again." Help them, lead them in those areas, biblical areas, where they'll find fulfillment.
And next of all, help her and prepare her and give her a vision for her future ministry, that she shall have when she's an older woman, who can rise up and teach the younger women, to love their husbands and keep their homes and take care of their children and whatever else it speaks of their in Titus. But you're the one, who can help her in those areas and give her a vision, and help her to see that God has a special ministry for her someday, if she'll be faithful and give herself to the task of what God has given her now. God will give her a beautiful ministry someday, a fulfilling ministry, a powerful ministry, if she'll just be faithful in the things God has given her now. Encourage her in those areas.
Next. Comfort her. Don't correct her when she fails. Oh, failure. I have failed in this so many times. I see my wife fail. And of course, I know why she fails, so I need to tell her how come she failed. That's not what they need when they fail. Is that what you need when you fail? How much encouragement is it? If you make a mistake and a brother right away comes up and says, "I'll tell you why you made your mistake...point number one.... point number two..... Point number three." I mean it's just like, you know, you just go home loaded down. And too many times we load our wives down, when what they need is a comforter. And then later, if you'll comfort them while they fail, later they'll come back and say, "Honey, could you help me in this area. I know I've failed in it, and I want to learn. Teachable moment. Now it's wide open. And see, when we try to correct them when they fail, they get wounded, because we're not being sensitive to them, and then they react to our correction, and of course, we're the leader, so that we get a little bit harder on our correction, and then they withdraw a little bit more, and again we hurt the spirit of our marriage, when if we just had a little more wisdom, and come along side and be a comfort to them while they are looking at their failure, and they're hurting over their failure, later they'll come back to you and say, sitting at your feet, "Do you have any insight for me in this area. This is really a burden to me." Open door. Go through and minister. And along with that point, and I think I've already said it, but I want to say, I've said it in spirit, but not in exact words: You need to allow your wife the freedom to fail. Let her know that it's okay for her to fail. Don't let her feel that you are watching over her and as soon as she fails, "Ahhhh... here's the reason why..." Give her the freedom to know that if she fails, she still senses your loving attention, your loving acceptance, and your loving comfort. And she'll come back to you and say, "Why did I fail? Can you help me?"
The next one, and we're getting close to the end here. I beg your patience. Do all you can to listen to and understand the feelings of your wife. And this is a big one. This is one that we fail at a lot. Many times we walk away and we just go, scratching our head and wondering what is she talking about? Well brothers, if I could just convince you today, to no longer say, "ahhhhh......women... that's just the way women are. You'll never understand them." Brother, you can understand them. You're just not digging deep enough. "Well, how are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way?" And listen to what she says. Don't just listen here, but listen here (pointing to heart?). And look down behind those feelings, and maybe she'll use the words "always" and "never" you know, and look past that and say, "There's a reason why my wife is expressing herself like this." Because we know it's not "always" and "never", we know that. But just look past that and say, "How can I find out what my wife's true feelings are here?" And you'll know what will happen; she'll sense that right away, "Hey, he is going down below the surface." And she'll start opening up. Because she has some deep feelings down there that she just says, "He don't understand me, and he don't even care". Many times. So let's be wise enough to listen deeply to the feelings of our wives.
The next one. Forgive her before she even comes and says, "Will you forgive me?" Oh what a blessing it is. And we know that don't we? In our own relationships with other people, what a blessing it is to come up to somebody who already has the spirit of forgiveness just flowing out of their heart towards you. How easy it is to come up to them and say, "I've failed. Will you forgive me?" And how hard it is, when somebody has this spirit (facial expression to convey thought) to go up to them and say, "I have hurt you, will you forgive me?" It's very hard. Forgive them before they even come. What a blessing to be able to say, "Honey, I forgave you already. God Bless you, I love you." What a blessing.
And lastly, accept her the way she is. While the Bible does give us the responsibility of washing our wives by the water of the Word, and working with them and training them, and discipling them at the same time; we need to accept them the way they are. Just like God does us. Let her sense a spirit of acceptance from you. Not a spirit of "You don't measure up". You know, we grow when we sense God's acceptance, flooding our hearts. We don't grow very well when we sense the other, which usually is the devil is the one that gives us, unless we've chosen to live in sin. Condemnation. Somebody who is desiring to walk with God and live for God, condemnation comes from the devil. God convicts with a loving, still, small voice. The devil comes with a club. Let's accept our wives the way they are.
In closing, turn to 1 Corinthians 11. I'm sorry about the time. 1 Corinthians, chapter 11, verse 7 and in verse 14 and 15. Verse 7, "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head for as much as he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. Look at verse 14, "Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him, but if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her. For her hair, her long hair, is given her for a covering." And I'd like us to notice three things here in closing. There are three glories mentioned in this text that we've read. There's man, who is the glory of God, and there's woman, who is the glory of man, and there is long hair, which is he glory of woman. Three glories there. Man, as the image of God, is God's crown. He's the reflected glory of God. And I think that word, "man" there is you know in the broad sense. "But man was made in the image of God. Woman was made after the image of man, but man was made in the image of God, and thus man is the glory of God." Second glory; woman is the man's crown. She's the reflected glory of the man! And thirdly, the long hair is the woman's crown. That's her glory! Brethren, take care of your glory! It's your glory! It will only reflect in your life! It will only crown your head! It will only bring brightness and attention and honor to your life! Take care of your glory!
When I first saw this, I said to myself, "You dummy! Take care of your glory!" I thought to myself, "How dumb of me! My wife is my glory! And she's a crown to my life! And her life, when it glows is a blessing and is filled with godly character. It only enhances my life! She is my glory! She brings attention to my life! She makes my life glow" And I thought, "You dummy! Take care of your glory!"
A little bit about long hair. And my say, my wife takes care of hers. I know that's lost a lot among plain people. But by wife takes care of her glory. And I appreciate it that she does. And when she lets it down for me, it is a glory to her. She takes care of it because of that. Many times at night, I get the glorious opportunity of watching my wife let her hair down and get that brush out and take care of that glory. Why is she taking care of that glory? It's her glory! It gets my attention! It brings beauty to her life! It gets my affection! It draws my eyes her way. She takes care of her glory! And she keeps it washed, and she keeps it clean, and she keeps it brushed out at night, so that it will grow, because it's her glory! And I do so appreciate that fact that she does that.
Brethren, take care of your glory. We're cutting our own throats. We're neglecting our glory. Our wives are not radiant. Their lives do not blossom with the godly character of Christ. Many times they are not washed by the word. Many times their hearts are not clear. Many times they have spiritual problems there that God is waiting on us to deal with because we're the ones that are supposed to. Not the preacher every time. Not at invitation time. We're supposed to. An interesting thought and this is just so exciting to me how this works because my wife had no idea that I was going to speak on this today. But she sent me a little card this morning in here, and I sat there and read it and the little card said, "Honey, I was just thinking about the terms "Bride" and "Groom". And I thought I'd go to the dictionary and find out, what does the word "Groom" mean? And she got two definitions. Number 1, "Cause to appear neat and orderly." And number 2, "To train or develop for a special purpose." And then she said, do you suppose that that's what the word "Groom" means, when you say, the "Bride and the Groom"? I don't know. I want to study it some more. Oh if we can grasp the revelation of this. If your wife is not a radiant, glorious, shining, glowing woman. We are the ones that are missing the crown. We are missing a wonderful crown, that God wants us to have. And brethren, one of God's eternal pictures is greatly distorted. Greatly distorted. Let's commit ourselves today, and at the end of this session, if we truly going to be spiritual leaders, to be be spiritual leaders enough, to turn our attention, on the one who should get the most discipling attention of any, our wives. Let's take care of our glory, brethren. Let's be wise. Shall we bow our heads, and close our eyes.
"Father in heaven, God we thank you for the way you work in our lives. We thank you father for every failure you let us see. For every time, you have a new area of freedom and another beautiful blossom that you want to bring out in our lives. O God I pray, for these men in this room, and God, each one of us here, we just commit ourselves into your hands here today, to go home and love those wives of ours and cherish them and nurture them, that their faces shine, with the glory of God. Father we ask you to do this for the sake of your kingdom, that it might be a glory on the earth, and we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen."