Insecurity underlies the human condition and reveals our need for a Savior

I wanted to expand on Donal’s post Tissue Paper Walls.

“Much of this insecurity comes from the gap in physical prowess between men and women. We men are much more capable of defending ourselves and imposing our will on our environment than women are- at least at the individual level. But whatever its source, it has a profound effect on female behavior. Women are constantly, and often at an unconscious or subconscious level, trying to alter their environment to make it feel more secure.”

Having thought about it more, I can think of additional reasons for female insecurity.  One of them is that women know (mostly at an unconscious level) how vulnerable pregnancy and child-raising makes them. Another is that women, again unconsciously, realize how limited their peak fertility and SMV window is. They worry about optimizing that time, and covering for when they are no longer at their peak. There is plenty of room for speculation there, and my commenters can feel free to contribute.

However, I want talk about how the insecurity should be handled. One of the problems with that insecurity is that ill-intentioned men can exploit it. Often times quite easily. And course, it usually isn’t entirely unwillingly. But exploitable it still remains.

At the same time, I think that this insecurity is something that good men can relieve or buttress. They can, in the right scenario, build up women’s confidence in a positive way. This can help women resist that lure of exploitation or build up a wall against it. Men can supplement the tissue paper or paper mache walls that women may have with walls of stone and gates of iron.

There has been many a pastor nowadays who say that “insecurity is a sin” or in other words “a lack of self esteem is a woman’s greatest sin.” After all, insecurity supposedly leads to low self worth. Men, of course, are parroted with the typical sins of pride, lust, greed, and so on. However, the source of womens’ greatest sin issue is a lack of self esteem generated from insecurity.

Of course, all this is bunk.

Insecurity is simply a source of temptation.

God created man to dwell with Him in the garden:

Genesis 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

God also created man with the ability to be tempted, and to make free will choices regarding temptation:

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

The reality is that temptation has always existed, and men and women are given the choice to fall into temptation or not. Insecurity is simply one form of temptation.

You could argue that Eve was “insecure” in herself and thus desired to be like God to feel un-insecure. You could also argue that Adam was “insecure” without Eve and thus followed her into temptation rather than trusting in God. Both of these are the Truth.

Distinguishing what occurred “before the fall” and “after the fall” is important because it leads to numerous conclusions we can draw on in pursuit of Jesus. For example, unlike the egalitarian argument on marriage, there is ample evidence to suggest that headship existed prior to the fall. Indeed, there was a structure of authority prior to the fall with the husband as the head of the wife. This completely destroys the egalitarian argument that men and women were somehow “equal” prior to the fall, which, according to them, nullifies the statements of headship-submission between the husband and wife in the NT.

Given how Genesis 3 plays out, insecurity existed well before the fall. God created such an attribute within man as an interaction with free will. Since God was dwelling with men, the righteous action in the garden would have been to flee from temptation to the Creator. This “insecurity” was meant to be a free will choice between “sin” and “relationship with God.” We should should seek refuge in the Lord in our insecurity.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

It is no mistake that it was this way in the beginning, and that it is the same way after Jesus has redeemed us.

Insecurity reveals our need for a Savior.

In regard to Donal’s post, Christians are to build up other Christian’s faith and also act as earthly models of Christ. It is not so much that we should focus building up security out of insecurity, but that we should focus on kingdom principles and covenants. Marriage is one of those. Seeking God in insecurity is another. A husband modeling Christ-Church relationship when his wife or kids are insecure is another.

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Thoughts on wisdom and omniscience

One thing I’ve been mulling over more recently is human behavior and statistical probability. I’ve written on vetting and statistics before, so this was going more deeply into it.

  • Statistical models tell us the probability that any random person exhibiting certain characteristics or behavior will have a particular outcome.
  • In the same way, our world is also probabilistic if you’ve studied quantum mechanics at all.
  • Likewise, I can take a glance at any random relationship, and tell if they are more or less likely to break up in the future based on certain attitudes, behaviors, and trends.

Prediction of human behavior is not all that complex when you see the patterns behind their interactions. We can say for certain that those who have previously been in violent relationships will most likely get themselves again into violent relationships. Cheaters will cheat again. Those who have had pre-marital sex have the highest risk of divorce. Those who smoke have an inflated risk of lung cancer. And so on.

This is is also why it is true that only through Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit can we make any change that goes against a probabilistic and therefore deterministic future. Materialism, without the metaphysical, is bound to determinism. The divine nature changes the material.

Thus, free will allows us the foresight to examine the future. Wisdom is foresight into the statistical patterning of creation that allows one to choose righteousness — or insert other characteristic here — for any particular situation. In effect, it is limited omniscience to be able to see the consequences of future possibilities and change/choose our behavior to do the right thing.

A divine being, who knows the hearts and minds of all, necessarily has omniscience due to unlimited foresight into statistical patterning and behavior into the future (otherwise known as cause and effect). This should be no surprise to us as we are created in God’s image and have the capacity for the qualities of God to a very limited extent.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

When we exercise our ability to “see the future” according to wisdom, we choose what is right and thus fear the Lord.

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The relationship issues that get in the way of following Christ

Still quite busy with RL work which is why I haven’t been posting much.

Snapper has touched on a couple posts recently such as Belief versus Scripture.

A while back, when I was going through the issues with my pastor, I had a conversation with my daughter about her, my youngest son and myself doing an at home bible study, to which she informed me she didn’t want to take part in because she “didn’t believe what I believed about the bible”. Now, the more and more I think about this the more and more irritated I become. I think some Christians need to make a determination about what people “believe” and what the bible actually says.

Case in point: The bible says Jesus is the son of God. If you are a Christian there is no “what you believe” or “what I believe” about the statement. If you believe the bible, then you believe this to be true. You cannot say to another Christian, “Yeah, well, I don’t really believe that way”, unless by that statement you mean, “I am not a Christian and I don’t believe in the bible”.

[…]

I mean, the only other explanation is that a person simply wants to have the appearance of being an obedient follower of Christ, but in reality has no interest in being obedient. By doing this they give themselves the appearance of being so, but also give themselves an escape route, just in case.

Don’t be that kind of Christian. Though it may fool those around you, your ruse is not very effective on the one who can see the heart, and knows your every thought. When a verse is clear, it would be wise to take its meaning as such.

Lots of things “get in the way” of the Truth. In fact, the Bible is quite clear of many such things that get in the way. Pride is usually the main one, but it can be other temptations like the other deadly sins of Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth, and Greed. Some others are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but we are warned about that too.

In general, even those who are trying to be followers of Christ tend to slip up because we cling to our past more than the hope of Christ for the future. What I mean by this is that we tend to be shaped by our past experiences.

For example, a child that grew up with his father absent may often feel like God the Father is not there for him. His experience(s) shape the way he views God, rather than the other way around. Another example of this is a mother who is abusive to her children. Children coming to our heavenly father may get stuck in the mindset of being unworthy of forgiveness, feel that it’s right that authority is abusive, and so on.

Both past experiences and the feelings associated with them tend to shape our thinking and beliefs rather than the other way around. This should not be a surprise, and biologically it makes sense. When we are placed in stressful situations, we often have very strong feelings associated with it, and that is how the strongest memories in our brains are formed. This is precisely why we tend to remember hurts rather than joys and evil rather than good.

In Snapper’s example of his daughter, the problem is that his daughter had certain behavior modeled to her for a long time. This includes the unsubmissive and unrepentant attitudes and actions of his wife. It really should not be a surprise that she is going to feel a certain way and react to a changing situation negatively, as she had viewed the previous situation as normal. This type of thing is a huge problem.

The longer the past experiences have gone on, the harder it is to change the acquired momentum the impression of past experiences on a relationship.

This is generally why if you’re in a ‘newer dating relationship,’ and things go south and stay south it’s generally better to move on rather than try to fix things. Relationship dynamics, especially Biblical Christian principles, that are already screwed up are tough to fix and in many cases not worth it. Of course, this is not possible with all relationships, especially marriage.

Change, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can right the ship. Or maybe it will never right the ship. But we change to be Christ followers not because we have the answers, but because we honor the One who has saved us.

Realistically, through the power of the Holy Spirit, all Christians have to consistently model Christ-like behavior until it becomes the new normal for those around us. Change is a funny thing, and people always think that those who are being “good” are doing it because they want something from you or are trying to manipulate you. The only thing that can dispel that notion is Christ working through us consistently, over short or long periods of time.

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Insulated

Donal’s post on Sympathy and Understanding talks about how married men tend to be insulated once they marry.

Which drives me to the subject of this post- men shouldn’t expect much in the way of understanding from those around them re: the MMP. In fact, the only ones who might understand are men in the same position (or who recently occupied it). I don’t know about most of my readers, but I find this to be a terribly frustrating matter. On more than one occasion I have been asked why I’m not married yet. And no matter how much or well I explain it, I can see in people’s eyes that they don’t understand. I find this quite isolating at times- it creates a climate of being cut off and without aid.

Generally speaking, this is both true and false.

I know quite a few men who work with an on-campus ministry, and they are not insulated from the cultural changes in marriage simply because they mentor and listen to the stories of the young men. On the other hand, as has been stated before, there is definitely a lack of sympathy and understanding from a lot of married men who don’t know what it is like. They are stuck in the 1960s and 1970s prior to “no fault divorce” and “free love.”

The problem is that Christians who don’t step out to actually engage the culture become insulated in their own bubble. Christians are not supposed to remove themselves from the world, but to be in the world but not of the world. This is the theme of Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17.

The major problem(s) of the Church tend to be traced back to these two themes. The Church and Christians try to isolate and insulate themselves from the world in many circumstances. For example, sheltered homeschool children. On the other hand, the Church and Christians also become of the world rather than in the world but not of the world. For instance, feminism and most of the rest of the issues the Church battles with in Revelation 2 and 3.

Men who try to impart knowledge simply based on their knowledge of themselves without taking into account the changing and rapid secularization of culture — not that 1950s America was some bastion of Christianity in the first place — have insulated themselves in their own bubble. Whether this is deliberate, accidental, or both is neither here nor there. But it does happen, often with disastrous results.

Young, unmarried and married Christian men beware and be wise.

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Most men are not afraid of commitment

I realized something when mulling over commitment.

Most men are not afraid of commitment. The reality is that most men are afraid of a lack of commitment from women and the consequences thereof. It is pure projection from women.

We know that the majority of divorces — 65-70%+ — are initiated by wives who are unhappy.

Men will often go a hell of a long way — wording intended — to try to satisfy a discontented and contentious wife because he loves her. Albeit, it isn’t the right thing to do, according to the Scriptures.

Men are not dumb. They can see that marriages are a bad deal for them when women are commitment-phobes. Likewise, they can see how many wives are completely apathetic about their marriage: uninterested in sex, uninterested in his likes and dislikes, uninterested in his hobbies. Men can see women that blow up marriages with no consequence win cash and prizes.

Next time I hear “men are afraid of commitment,” I’m countering with “men are afraid of women’s lack of commitment.” Some interesting conversations will probably come from this.

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Why men aren’t eager missionaries

Dalrock critiqued this Piper article from the perspective of women, but I’m going to do it from the perspective of men. It starts off with this question submitted to Piper:

So it’s no surprise, we get a lot of questions from missionaries in the field, and a number of questions from missionaries in training, and a fair number of questions from college students who are interested in giving their lives to missions. Today’s question comes from a podcast listener named Amy, who writes, “Pastor John, I’ve recently noticed that the number of women going to the nations far outweighs men. I looked for more statistics on this, and struggled to even find information. If this is the case, what are your thoughts on this trend, and what do you think are the most probable causes?”

Piper first looks at statistics.

Two-thirds of active missionaries are married couples. Another third are single women. The rest are single men. Well, if that went by too fast, two thirds plus one third don’t leave any room for single men. And it is only a joke in part because it is almost that way.

To be more accurate, the actual situation among most evangelical faith missions is that between 80–85% of all single missionaries are women. It is a rare thing, like two out of every ten, for a single man to make missions his life’s vocation, which results in the overall statistics being that one-third of those in evangelical world missions are married men, one-third are married women, and 80 percent of the last third are single women. Which means that something just less than two-thirds of the total missionary force are women.

It’s interesting because we already know Christianity is feminized in the western world. Already in Churches there is the preponderance of 55-70% of Churches are made up of women. It should really be no surprise that women are over-represented in such endeavors.

Pile onto that the push for cultural achievement of women — the majority of college and graduate degrees are now obtained by women — then it should also be no surprise that Churches tend to push women into ministry and the mission field in droves. This is as opposed to teaching and training women to be good wives and mothers. God forbid we do that.

1) Opinion number one: Let’s start with the observation that many single women in missions would like to be married, not all. Some regard it as a divine calling to serve as a single woman, and they have no intention of even hoping or praying toward marriage. And I thank God for that and for them. But many would like to serve in missions side by side with a similarly called and devoted husband. But by and large, it is men who propose marriage. Women have less control over being married than men do — they can always say no, but I mean taking the initiative in a positive way. Therefore, the single missionary woman who would like to be married is not exactly in the same position as a single missionary man who would like to be married.

Here is a little anecdote. Elisabeth Elliot — I went down and got this from my wife, because I knew she said this once — Elisabeth Elliot told of an interview she had with Gladys Aylward, a single missionary to China who died in 1970: The Small Woman: Gladys Aylward is the name of one biography. Here is what Elisabeth Elliot said. I think she was talking at Urbana when she said this, “Miss Aylward talked to the Lord about her singleness. She was a no-nonsense woman in very direct and straightforward ways and she asked God to call a man from England, send him straight out to China, straight to where she was, and have him propose to me.” I can’t forget the next line. Elisabeth Elliot said, “With a look of even deeper intensity, she shook her little bony finger in my face and said, ‘Elisabeth, I believe God answers prayer. And he called him.’” And here there was a brief pause of intense whisper. She said, “‘He called him, and he never came.’”

Now, that experience, I would guess, is not unique to Gladys Aylward. So, that is my first opinion, that the disproportion of single missionary women to missionary men is that the initiative of proposing marriage among those two groups, singles, lies with the men and not the women.

I’ll summarize these three paragraphs in four words:

Men aren’t stepping up.

Really? That’s the best they could’ve came up with?

There’s no shortage of irony there.

2) Here is opinion number two: Many, it seems to me, of those single men probably avoid missions out of the same personal dynamics that keep them single. Among Christian men who do not get married, say, in their 20s and 30s, they are probably held back from that relationship of marriage by — here are my opinions — a sense of inadequacy that they could be a spiritual leader or a fear that they might be rejected as they pursue a relationship or a lack of purpose in life that would give support and meaning in a marriage relationship. Any of those hindrances to forming a long-term commitment of marriage would also explain why he may have a sense of inadequacy about missions or a fear about missions or a lack of purpose about missions.

In other words, the very things that keep a man single in his late 20s and 30s are probably the same kind of things that would keep him from pursuing a life in missions. On the other hand, single women may not feel any of those hindrances. They would happily marry a godly, mature, purposeful, mission-directed man if he came along. But they can’t make that happen without men doing their part.

Mike Delorenzo: Singles, mission work takes strength — more than you know, but not more than God will give you.

Now, I am sure the matter is way more complex than those two opinions have hinted at, but those are possible explanations for the disproportion number in the single missionary force — like 80% women and 20% men. So, the way I would like to end is by taking the words of Mike Delorenzo who works for Africa Inland Mission (AIM) and close by reading his challenge. Thinking of single men as opposed to single women in missions, he said,

Yes, it may be harder for [men]. Harder to cut through the lies and the apathy. Harder to raise money in a self-reliant society. Harder to enter into relationally-driven cross-cultural missions. Harder to find your ministry in your vocation. But the gospel needs men. The Christian life is a battle, so much so that the Bible calls us to put on armor. And the mission field is a battle field, where a man’s strengths and passions are called upon to be spent for the greatest cause creation has ever known: the cause of Christ and His redemptive work to save this world — and I mean really save this world. It takes courage — courage to step out of your slumber and into the fray. It takes humility — to be willing to fail or at least be deemed a failure by your peers. And it takes strength — more than you know, but not more than God will give you.

Honestly, I had to do a double take. Piper’s “other option” is that men feel inadequate and/or are not strong enough. Hence, they don’t pursue missions or marriage.

In other words: Men are not stepping up.

Piper literally gave two options and they’re basically two different ways to blame men for not stepping up on the mission field or marriage.

It gets better

What are some reasons why men would generally avoid the mission field?

I’ll walk you through a multiple examples of actual reasons Piper could have used but is too blind to see.

  • Most men have a strong sex drive. Most men want to marry. What is one way that has been ingrained into men in our culture that is required to get married? “You need to have a good job to be able to provide for your family”

Funny that. Missionary work doesn’t typically come with or segue into having a job that is able to reliably  support a family.

  • Most men don’t want to beg others for money to support missions work.

Surprise surprise.

  • Churches/families/others tend to support women more than men with monetary donations for missions. Women in need are worthy of support, but men are not. See: Vast majority of the homeless population = men.

This goes back to the fact that men are supposed to be able to provide for themselves no matter the circumstances at minimum. If not, you’re a failure akin to living in your parents basement.

  • As stated before, the Church is already feminized. No surprise that there are a majority of women in various “Christian” activities.
  • As stated before, Churches/Christians push Christian women toward “achievement” both in college, graduate school, and not surprisingly ministry and missions.

All of these are clear cut reasons why men tend to avoid the mission field and why women are pushed toward it. Yet, all we get from mainline Christian leaders is that “men aren’t stepping up.” Maybe if the Church actually focused on mentoring men for leadership positions and teaching them to be masculine and cultivating masculine traits there would be more of such men. But I digress.

You gotta wonder how long the blame game that “men aren’t stepping up” can be perpetuated by these Christian leaders.

P.S. Real life is still super busy, which is why I’m not posting all that much at the moment.

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Compilation of advice for men struggling in their marriage

This information is spread all across the web in various places. I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list here since this is one of the most often asked questions for men coming to these parts.

Who this advice is for

Most of the men that come around this blog are in relationships or marriages where their woman or wife is acting rebellious. In most cases, the rebelliousness has continued even after the husband has spoken to her about it, including discussing relevant Scriptures. For example, the wife is sexually denying her husband, so the husband brings up 1 Corinthians 7. Another example is if the wife is being willfully disobedient with finances or other parts of the relationship.

In some drastic cases, the leadership of the Church(es) a husband in attending also affirms their wife’s rebelliousness. The leadership of said Church may heretically claim that a husband needs to earn his wife’s submission (helping her with chores and other duties), or that the submission of a wife to her husband is based on making her feel some certain way (a wife is like a slow cooker and you need to act romantic if you want to have sex), or that her submission is only required if he does the right thing (your wife is a barometer of your spirituality).

Clearly, these things are against what the Scriptures council, and no amount of bringing up the Scriptures or reasoning to said wives and/or pastors seems fruitful. This is the very definition of contentious women. Proverbs even reiterates it twice:

Proverbs 21:9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

Proverbs 25:24 It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

Proverbs 27:15  A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious woman are alike;

The nature of how to act in these situations

In these cases, it is my general contention that those who are disobedient to the Word are acting as unbelievers and therefore should be treated as such. Divorce is not an option, even if the wife is an unbeliever.

1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not [f]put her away. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not [g]send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through [h]her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called [i]us [j]to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Wives have a good example of this in 1 Peter 3.

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.

Wives are told to win their husbands without a word, chaste and respectful behavior, and a gentle and quiet Spirit, with all submissiveness. This echos the similar qualities of a hierarchical relationship discussed in 1 Peter 2, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and so on.

Husbands can learn from this example to act according to what the Scriptures command. If words aren’t working, then it must be actions that must win a wife. In the Scriptures, a husband is tasked with the headship/leadership of the marriage (Eph 5), provision for the family (1 Tim 4), instruction (Eph 6), and protection in various ways (OT).

One of the traps of this that is very easy to fall into for both husbands and wives who want to win their spouse is that they do all of these things with the intention of trying to earn back the devotion of their spouse. This is false.

Husbands and wives should obey Scriptural roles and responsibilities to each other because they want to please God first.

Certainly, God may use the way you act to win a wife (or husband for that matter), but it is far from guaranteed. It certainly is possible that you can learn to act and be one of the most godly men on the planet, and a wife may will want to divorce you. That’s fine. Many people who listened to Jesus, saw the miracles He performed, and watched his ministry up close did not believe in the end or mocked Him when He was on the cross.

James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various [c]trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [d]endurance. 4 And let [e]endurance have its perfect [f]result, so that you may be [g]perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and [h]without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a [i]double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

If you suffer for the sake of doing what God has called you to do that is normal. The Scriptures tell us to count it all joy. Yes, it’s a hard thing to learn how to do — to count suffering as joy. However, remember that is what Jesus did as He went to the cross for us.

Concepts to understand how to act if a wife is acting rebellious

In general, the thing to keep in mind is that as a man and husband are a few things.

  • You are responsible for the way you act. After we die, when we are judged by God we are held accountable for the roles and responsibilities that we had. If we are tasked with leadership, then we should lead, even if those under us are rebellious.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.

A husband’s love is to work toward sanctification — holiness — so it is the primary duty of a husband to point out ways in which to shed the ideals of the culture and put on the ideals of the Scriptures. Likewise, loving his wife as his own body (3x).

  • The speck versus the log. It is often the case in a contentious relationship that each side of the relationship thinks that the other side is the problem. Sure, to an impartial observer you may be the lesser “problem” but you still have problems to take care of. Remove any logs and specks as much as possible.

Matthew 7:3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how [a]can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

  • Don’t ignore the nature of women. Yes, society, family, friends, and even the Church may have lied to us that women are just men with boobs. Yes, it’s easy to become bitter. However, don’t be ignorant of the human nature of women, and don’t get jaded because of it. Yes, you need to understand that women are the weaker vessel.

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with [c]someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

Practical ways to act if a wife is acting rebellious

Biblical roles and responsibilities:

  1. Do what is required of you, according to the Scriptures as the role of the husband: love your wife as your own body (Eph 5), don’t be bitter toward her (Col 3), and try to live with her in an understanding way as a weaker vessel (1 Pet 3).
  2. Continue to lead. Initiate family activities and events. Give the wife and/or kids instructions on what to do and teach them as necessary if they’re struggling.
  3. Be a good provider and protector. Look to see how you can meet a need when applicable. Distinguish what are needs and wants and prioritize the needs.
  4. Don’t complain. Ever. It only validates what she thinks and says. If you need to complain, you complain to your superior: God in prayer.
  5. Spend more time with your children, if any. Be the best father you can be, along with instructing them according to the Scriptures.
  6. Never deny your wife sex when she wants it (1 Cor 7).
  7. Keep initiating sex, but don’t get mad if you are denied.

Uncontentious behavior on your part:

  1. Don’t argue. She clearly does not believe the Scriptures, so bringing up the Scriptures or arguing of any kind is pointless.
  2. If she wants to argue, don’t argue. There’s no point, and it will only serve to make her more angry and volatile. If you give into her contentiousness, you’re only propagating it.
  3. Don’t respond to threats. What is she going to do? Divorce you? If you’re already at the point where divorce would only be a relief, then why not try to win her to Christ before she divorces you?
  4. Just listen, don’t speak. If you need to say something then let it just be listening: “It sounds like you’re feeling hurt, how can I understand why you’re feeling this way better?” and just let her tell you how she feels without getting upset or responding. Then thank her for telling you how she feels afterward, even if it’s about you.
  5. Don’t throw any accusations around. It will only start arguments. You don’t want arguments.
  6. Try to never, ever, raise your voice. This goes with all of the points above, but it bears repeating.

In general, treat conversations non-chalantly and kindly. She can’t continue to get mad if you’re overwhelming exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit through patience, longsuffering, and kindness. It’s very hard to get angry at someone who is not angry back.

Masculine behavior and nature of women:

As we’ve discussed multiple times before, Donal’s PSALM/LAMPS explores the nature of attraction of women. Most of these things are a result of being naturally masculine. However, in this day and age, most men are not masculine because we have been conditioned to be feminine. Hence, specific work may be needed in order to become more masculine.

  1. Be disciplined in your work/job and ambitious to be better and promoted.
  2. Workout — gain muscle and lose weight.
  3. Nutrition — get control of your nutrition and start eating healthier. Nutrition is the main way you’re going to lose weight if you’re overweight.
  4. Dress nice, all the time if possible. Good grooming.
  5. Get some hobbies.

Some have objections about understanding the nature of the attraction of women. I outline here why the Scriptures indicate that marriage is an earthly institution to serve earthly needs. A Christian understanding of attraction and the role it plays in marriage Part 2. Hence, it is foolish to ignore the nature of what men look for in marriage (beauty, helpmeet, companionship) and what women look for in marriage (leadership, power, status, athleticism, looks, money/provision, protection).

Summarized:

In general, emotional outbursts are a woman’s way of telling you that she feels powerless or insecure. Telling a woman like this what she should be doing is the wrong response. The correct response is to be strong and comforting. Women don’t necessarily want solutions to problems — just to be heard and/or held (hugged) when their emotions are going crazy.

In general, if you start being more masculine by understanding the nature of women and how to act around them like the above examples, then women will tend to become more feminine and less combative and less emotionally needy and hostage taking. However, this is not always the case if the wife is narcissistic, BUT you don’t have to let it affect you and how you act even though it is difficult.

The focus needs to be on what you can control, and the only thing you can control is you and how you act. This is a very difficult thing to learn, but you need to learn it to be an effective man of God.

End notes:

  • I know I didn’t cover all actions a man can take. If you have more to add, then post them in the comments.
  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle, Masculinity and women | Tagged , | 31 Comments

Revisiting Matthew 5:27-28 on lust

There’s a lot of contextual background that goes into this verse. I’m going to try to explore all of it.

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The ‘modern’ interpretation of this verse has done a lot of damage to men as it has been wielded as an arm of judgment against the sex drive of men. Today most Christian men avoid even looking at women out of shame that they’re potentially sinning which is some warped version of gnostic heresy where the desires of the body are sinful. I’ve covered this a bit in posts such as male and female sexual desire are not sinful.

So what is the actual background of this post?

  • In Sunday school is superfluous, there is a command from Deuteronomy 6 to teach the commands of God to sons (implied by fathers) all the time. This is the background of which Jesus is teaching the Law.
  • This verse is from the Sermon on the Mount (which is similar to the Sermon on the Plain in Luke). The sermons are actually fairly identical, so we understand that Jesus was very consistent with what He was teaching the crowds. This type of teaching was probably similar to what He taught other crowds such as the 5000 and 4000, who he actually ended up feeding as well. These crowds were composed of the number of men present, while the women and children were not counted.
  • The word for woman in Green (G1135 — gune) is both the term used for “women” in general and also “wives.” Therefore, there is some context built into the passage.
  • The word lust (G1937 — epithumia) is mainly translated as illicit desire. In this case, illicit desire corresponds to coveting that which is not yours (e.g the 10th commandment). Epithumia is used positively once in Luke 22 where he “desired” to eat the Passover with His disciples.

When you put all of these contextual pieces together, the verse can only be interpreted in two possible ways:

  1. Jesus is teaching these to married men, who lusting on other women/wives is adultery because he already has a wife.
  2. Jesus is teaching these to men in general, in which case the only context that makes sense applies to a specific situation. The options of two are as follows:

For example, if a man is single, then he should not look at a woman to lust where a woman is a “wife.” If he desires a woman who is not married, then he should take step to marry her (e.g. 1 Cor 7 — it is better to marry than to burn).

If a man is married, then #1 applies as coveting another woman and/or wife is akin to adultery. In Matthew 19, Jesus affirms the “one-man and one-woman” from Genesis as the ideal, both in prohibition of divorce and likely in exclusion of polygamy now that the Law has been fulfilled.

John Chrysostom’s Matthew 17 Homily implies that he believes the #1 interpretation is correct, specifically in the context of another man’s wife. Chrysostom goes on a long  discourse on this passage — the longest I’ve seen from him on two lines of Scripture — and implies through his wording that Jesus is speaking mainly to married men with wives.

 You have heard that it was said to them of old time, You shall not commit adultery; but I say unto you, that every one who looks upon a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Having now finished the former commandment, and having extended it unto the height of self-denial, He, advancing in course and order, proceeds accordingly unto the second, herein too obeying the law. And yet, it may be said, this is not the second, but the third; for neither is the first, You shall not kill, but The Lord your God is one Lord.

[…]

Why then did He not make a distinction here also? Nay, very great is the distinction which, if you attend, you will see here also included. For He said not simply, whosoever shall desire, since it is possible for one to desire even when sitting in the mountains; but, Whosoever shall look to lust; that is to say, he who gathers in lust unto himself; he who, when nothing compels him, brings in the wild beast upon his thoughts when they are calm. For this comes no longer of nature, but of self-indulgence. This even the ancient Scripture corrects from the first, saying, Contemplate not beauty which is another’s. Sirach 9:8 And then, lest any one should say, what then, if I contemplate, and be not taken captive, He punishes the look, lest confiding in this security you should some time fall into sin. What then, one may say, if I should look, and desire indeed, but do no evil? Even so you are set among the adulterers. For the Lawgiver has pronounced it, and you must not ask any more questions. For thus looking once, twice, or thrice, you will perhaps have power to refrain; but if you are continually doing this, and kindling the furnace, you will assuredly be taken; for your station is not beyond that nature which is common to men. As we then, if we see a child holding a knife, though we do not see him hurt, beat him, and forbid his ever holding it; so God likewise takes away the unchaste look even before the act, lest at any time you should fall in act also. For he who has once kindled the flame, even when the woman whom he has beheld is absent, is forming by himself continually images of shameful things, and from them often goes on even to the deed. For this cause Christ takes away even that embrace which is in the heart only.

[…]

Just then as one may feel wrath at random, so may one cast looks at random; that is, when you do it for lust. Rather, if you desire to look and find pleasure, look at your own wife, and love her continually; no law forbids that. But if you are to be curious about the beauties that belong to another, you are injuring both your wife by letting your eyes wander elsewhere, and her on whom you have looked, by touching her unlawfully. Since, although you have not touched her with the hand, yet have you caressed her with your eyes; for which cause this also is accounted adultery, and before that great penalty draws after it no slight one of its own. For then all within him is filled with disquiet and turmoil, and great is the tempest, and most grievous the pain, and no captive nor person in chains can be worse off than a man in this state of mind. And oftentimes she who has shot the dart is flown away, while the wound even so remains. Or rather, it is not she who has shot the dart, but you gave yourself the fatal wound, by your unchaste look. And this I say to free modest women from the charge: since assuredly, should one deck herself out, and invite towards herself the eyes of such as fall in her way; even though she smite not him that meets with her, she incurs the utmost penalty: for she mixed the poison, she prepared the hemlock, even though she did not offer the cup. Or rather, she did also offer the cup, though no one were found to drink it. […]

Therefore, if Chrysostom’s interpretation is correct and all of the background is accounted for, then the Sermon on the Mount passage is mainly speaking to husbands with wives not to “look at another man’s wife with desire” (e.g. covet another man’s wife) that is not theirs. If he does then he would commit heart adultery and injure their own wife in the process.

Gleaning from the rest of the Scriptures, it seems that #2 interpretation is not necessarily incorrect either if #1 is correct. They are not mutually exclusive. Unmarried men who “look at a woman with desire” if the other woman is unmarried should aim to marry them if they are equally yoked, and unmarried men who “look at a woman with desire” if the other woman is a wife still commits adultery in his heart with her.

Conclusions

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus is speaking mainly to men in the Sermon on the Mount.

  1. If you are a married man, don’t covet another man’s wife. Appreciating the beauty or other qualities of another man’s wife is not coveting, but don’t let desire invade the look. Starting to think of ways to possess that which is not yours is heart adultery.
  2. If you are a single man, don’t covet a married woman as it is adultery if the deed is done. Based on the implications of #1, that too is committing adultery with her in your heart.
  3. If you are a single man and you see a unmarried women and desire her, pursue her for marriage (1 Cor 7 — it is better to marry than to burn) if you are equally yoked (2 Cor 6 — do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers).

For #1 I believe some general ‘wisdom’ for that is: don’t do a double take and don’t let your eyes linger. Appreciate the beauty or quality and move on thanking God for ‘not leading us into temptation.’

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Economics, human nature, and contentment

I suppose I could have called this post something along the lines of analysis of capitalism and socialism/communism along with human nature and contentment. Whatever.

Socialism’s problems are much more readily obvious than capitalism. Usually summarized as something along the lines of:

  • Governmental corruption
  • Lack of desire/motivation of people to start businesses due to profits being reduced heavily from taxation
  • Lack of productivity
  • Envy/covetousness of what others have**

** Thanks to Chris in the comments for mentioning this.

Capitalism comes with some obvious and not-so-obvious problems:

  • Greed — pretty obvious
  • Exploitation of the market — fairly obvious. Reduction of costs and wages (outsourcing) is one of the biggest issues here in pursuit of profit above all else.
  • Products are geared to exploit addiction — probably the least obvious.

The reason for this post was to specifically talk about the last one. In socialist markets, there are also products geared to exploit addiction, but it can most readily and obviously be exploited in a more capitalistic leaning market.

Smoking is a surefire product that aims to exploit addiction with nicotine. So are addictive drugs like opiates or any other possible drug where people chase a “high.”

However, most people don’t think of foods or other products in this way. I discussed this a bit in food porn (well, the post is short so here’s the whole thing again):

The most prevailing theory now in obesity research is the concept of food reward.

Basically, the concept of food reward is based around the hedonic pleasure derived from taste. This hedonic pleasure derived from certain foods short circuits the brain, much like an addiction, and encourages increased food intake. The main offenders are foods that have increased sugar/starch, salt, and fat in certain proportions which send signals to the brain to continue eating.

Potato chips are one of the best examples because of the prevalence of starch (the potato itself), salt (copious amounts), and roasted or baked in fat (usually vegetable oils). They are a notoriously addictive food, and there are even marketing tactics around this fact. Lays — “Bet you can’t eat just one.”

Just as marketing is fixated around the sexualization of men and women, so too the food industry is fixated around making food as addictive as possible. After all, they want you to buy more because that means more money. This is one of the inherently negative aspects that all capitalistic societies[1] manifest: greed.

Gluttony is simply one form of how greed manifests. This is why obesity is ugly.

[1] Socialist societies are negative for other reasons.

Indeed, all of the massively sugary or fatty or salty foods including combinations of all of those are designed to be exploit the addiction of taste. You want more and more and more.

Restaurants are similar to that. The restaurant that can best exploit the market via a combination of price and taste stand at the top. For example, Starbucks has been so successful in such a market that their quarterly earnings are at about 5.71 billion, and all of their shares summed up are worth 82.43 billion.

Indeed, what inevitably happens in a capitalistic society is a sort of “globalization” of such companies. As a product gains more popularity, it takes in an increasing market share. If there are enough forces to drive the market share up high enough (and in particular in restaurants there generally are), it tends to force similar but smaller stores out of business.

Walmart is a good example with their low(er) prices than most competitors and their ability to minimally wage their workers has led to the Walton family’s combined fortune of $130 billion, the largest in America (and probably the world).

Note: I’m not saying that minimal wage is a “bad” thing either because there are a lot of factors that go into it. Neither am I saying that a CEO making big bucks is bad either because it’s not. Surface value judgments are sometimes not very accurate.

The ugliness of human nature simply manifests differently in two drastically different economic settings. Socialization has the greedy government officials power grabbing and money hoarding with the businessmen buying them off. Capitalism has exploitation of human desire in various different ways (taste, sex, convenience, etc.) manifested into corporate greediness above all else.

All of this is to say that any ‘economic system’ can play a role in stimulating and bringing forth evil from human desire.

Anyway, the point is that I think it’s a good thing to be aware of how much goes into marketing and exploiting human desires, so that we can learn to be content.

Philippeans 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak [g]from want, for I have learned to be [h]content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things [i]through Him who strengthens me.

That’s the correct context of “I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.” How to be content in all circumstances, whether with little or much.

1 Tim 6:6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

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Complementarians believe that a wife can do no wrong

Still pretty busy, but still trying to get a post out or two.

Hearkening back to complementarians are worse than egalitarians, a majority of Dalrock’s recent posts all harp on this theme:

The general pattern is displayed in several relevant points, namely:

  • If a husband is in sin (e.g. porn), it’s his fault for failing as a leader. If a wife is in sin (e.g. porn, romance novels), what is he doing to make her act this way?
  • “Effort and feelings” (e.g. romance, emotions, feeling it) justifies marital sex. Oh, and it’s only the romance, emotions, and feelings of the wife. Not the husband.
  • Women are responders. A husband’s leadership is justified by how his wife responds. Positively, he’s doing good. Negatively, he’s doing bad.
  • Husbands are ‘brutes’ that need to be ‘civilized’ by their wives.
  • Wives are innately more moral than their husbands.
  • If a husband wants a divorce, he’s evil. If a wife wants a divorce, what’s the husband doing wrong?

The sum of all of this nonsense is: a wife can do no wrong. This is the essence of complementarian teaching, despite the lip service they give to the Bible.

We know that the Scripture preaches that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That we are responsible for our own personal actions. That even if others are treating us terrible or poorly that we should be kind and pray for them and should not sin. That even if we are married to non-Christians that we should act according to Christian principles despite if they sin.

It would be better to clarify the position that complementarians are worse than egalitarians. Egalitarians “overtly” claim equality, while advocating rule of the wife in marriage. Complementarians “overtly” claim the Biblical roles and responsibilities, while undermining the husband and advocating the rule of the wife in marriage.

The deception is far worse than we realize because they try to play their position off as truth, and cut down husbands much more than both egalitarians AND feminists. As Dalrock has noted, even secular magazines have been shocked over how films like the War Room have cut down husbands.

Complementarian teaching [in practice] = a wife can do no wrong.

The list of “complementarian” pastors who believe this is quite astonishing: Moore, Russell, Stanton, Piper, Mohler, etc. Pretty much everyone from Focus on the Family, Acts 29, and other so-called conservative Christian groups that say they adhere to the Scripture. Just look at all of their teachings on marriage.

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