Real men practice real love instead of the fake variety that the world and Satan want you to believe and practice. The fake love is what creates confused thinking that you can "fall in love" and "fall out of love."
“Flashing ME” Prevents REAL Men
Because of the sin nature, the PROBLEM, and judgment for men, Christian men focus on the wrong things.
- Working and money become more important than leading and developing his wife and family.
- Falling into patterns of ruling (use and abuse) instead of loving and cherishing his wife.
- Seeking pleasure for himself instead of discipling and teaching others.
- Accumulating things instead of character and spiritual rewards.
- Lusting after other women instead of finding contentment and sexual exhilaration with his wife.
So, where is your focus? Does everything revolve around serving “ME” instead of serving others? If so, that is your sin nature in full blossom. The more you choose according to the flesh means you are plugged into the world, which is ruled by Satan. If you maintain that focus, you can expect to hurt your relationships, especially those with your wife and children.
Thankfully, God has an answer.
REAL Men Are Godly
Do you remember the importance of these statements “Where you look, you tend to go” and “Structure demands behavior”? If you are NOT a REAL man, you will look at or focus on anything that serves your “flashing ME” or “Glorifying God.” Those are the two ways you can live.
Focus is essential. Your focus dictates whether you live in the PROBLEM and your Judgment or in the SOLUTION and your Design. Where you look demands the kind of man you will be – structure demands behavior.
REAL men focus and depend on God. That removes cultural confusion, distorted definitions, and the power of the PROBLEM and Judgment structures.
Walk In Mercy and Power Selflessly
Ultimately, REAL men focus on becoming “W.I.M.P.S.” They pursue being men who
“Walk In Mercy and Power Selflessly.”
The building blocks for WIMPS are found in Titus 2.
Before you get more details about WIMPS, notice something that the Lord tells you in verse 1.
…speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: – Titus 2:1
What comes to your mind when you think about “sound doctrine”?
For me, I think of theological terms or the deeper issues of Christianity. In fact, most people associate it with something that is taught.
But consider what Paul says about doctrine. It is something that protects the reputation of God’s Word.
…that the word of God may not be blasphemed. – Titus 2:5
…in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility… – Titus 2:7
God tells REAL Men something extremely important, sound doctrine is about how you live! The truism “actions denote character” is what God is saying. REAL Men and REAL Women do not just know what the Lord asks them to do, they DO IT! Actions will show who you really are on the inside – what you know becomes what you show.
Everything Paul talks about in Titus 2:1-8 is not specifically about knowledge, but it is about teaching God’s word with the end result being men and women who choose to live their lives according to what God asks.
It is not improper to state REAL Men = Sound Doctrine and REAL Women = Sound Doctrine.
Now you have the background to understand that REAL Men are WIMPS. Paul tells Titus –
But as for you [Titus], speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. – Titus 2:1-2, 6-8 (underline added)
When he talks about older men, it is uncertain whether Paul was thinking of a specific age. Is “older” over 40? 50? We are all “older” than someone. Anyway, Paul gives a list of qualities for both older and younger men.
You can also see these qualities through the lens of God’s image – some are merciful or relational, while some are powerful. The more merciful qualities (sound in love, sound in patience, easy to respect) are all for the Older men. But the more powerful qualities are assigned to both. Three to the young, two to the older, and one to both. This is an outstanding reminder that God asks a man to be merciful and powerful, even though his design emphasizes power.
Real Men Are Merciful
You are a REAL man only if you reflect God’s image. That means you hear the Apostle Paul in Titus 2:1-2, 6-8, and choose those behaviors for your life. When a REAL man demonstrates merciful qualities, he is sound in love, sound in patience, and easy to respect. While these qualities are stated for Older men, they still apply to all men.
Sound in Love (7 Elements of a Husband’s Love)
25 Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:25-31
There are seven dimensions of a husband’s love. This is a significant challenge for any husband. Sound in love is challenging enough, but when you study Ephesians 5:25-31 it is even more challenging.
When you read the passage, there are seven elements relating to how God asks a husband to love his wife. Unconditional is extremely difficult, but God asks a husband to go beyond unconditional. Considering all seven elements, you are challenged to be JESUS to your wife!
The beauty of this passage is that you can measure whether you are moving toward or away from that target of being Jesus to your wife. Each of the seven elements is specific so that you can know if you love your wife the way God wants.
And keep this in mind, you have the life of Jesus in you if you are His child. Further, you have the Holy Spirit to energize that abundant life to do all God asks of you!
So, husbands here are the details of the “Sound Love” measuring stick.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church… – Ephesians 5:25
Obviously, the best place to start is the definition of love that we use.
Pursuing their best patiently, kindly, sacrificially, and unconditionally
Unconditional love is not dependent upon whether the object deserves it or not. It is not based on how your wife acts or lives and is not subject to the whim of your emotions. Christ did not die because the church deserved it. When you love your wife, you submit to Christ, your head, and decide to submit to your wife’s need to be safe and secure. (See courses 09A and 09B about Submission.) Notice the word “decide.” Love is a decision to pursue her best – it is not an emotion.
Men, your love is a gift to your wife to help her not follow the Judgment for Women. It turns your focus on relating to her, not “ruling” over her, and meeting her relationship design. Keep this in mind, you can do everything God asks of you, but it is still her decision to accept the love.
The Love Road
Love is often difficult to see in practical concrete terms, so below is a picture that might help – the Love Road, the “Pursuing Her Best” Road. You are either on the road or you are in one of the ditches on the side of the road.
In rural areas, most roads look much like the picture below. You may know that the ditches on the side of the road are called “bar ditches”, but you may not know why they have that name. Well, here is a Wiki definition of “bar ditch.”
A bar or “borrow ditch” is a roadside channel dug for drainage purposes. Typically, the dirt is "borrowed" from the ditch, and used to crown the road. ... Also, adjacent to pasturage, the ditch confines livestock, keeping them from straying onto road.
With this picture, you can more easily apply the Image of God to the word “love.” Like the definition says, you borrow dirt from the sides of the road to form the road or at least the crown of the road.
Love has the full image of God because God is love. Therefore, love is both powerful and relational. But love gets distorted in the same way as God’s image gets distorted when you focus on one instead of both elements.
Love is powerful when it says difficult things to people to help them. That is often referred to as “tough love.” Actually, it is just love because love is powerful and relational.
While the following is primarily for husbands, it works for all relationships.
So, how does this work in real life? If you try to control your wife (dominate or manipulate) to “make her change”, then you are in the Power Ditch instead of on the road. Or you might be all about belonging, getting along and “putting up with her” which means you are in the Relate Ditch instead of on the road. Either ditch distorts God’s Image and what love is.
Each ditch creates problems for relationships, but a bigger problem occurs when you start trying to apply both elements (powerful and relational) in your love to your wife. From my experience, in the beginning you may end up moving from one ditch to the other as you learn how God asks you to love her.
Suppose you are in the Relate Ditch and say, “I’ll love her no matter what she does.” Obviously, that is what God wants. But, if you are in the Relate Ditch you may be thinking, “I’m not going to say anything, even if she is in blatant sin, because when I say something, the relationship becomes miserable.”
Tolerating or “putting up with” sin is not unconditional love. Love pursues her best, which means that you accept her where she is and you hope, pray, encourage, exhort, and even rebuke her ungodly behavior. If you live in the Relate Ditch, you will not “exhort and rebuke”, because that requires power.
So, at some point, you have had enough and you “trade ditches.” You think you are on the “Pursuing Her Best Road” but you end up in the Power Ditch. For example, you know you should not tolerate sin and you think, “That’s right, I am tolerating her bad behavior. That behavior is wrong, and she keeps doing it!” You confront her in a powerful, unconstructive, mean-spirited way which means– you just moved from one ditch to the other.
Or you were in the Power Ditch and become convicted about your judgmental attitude and cross the road to the Relate Ditch, just to try to get along. That type of behavior often requires giving up good values to just relate or get along.
Both ditches are bad, the road is what is important. Jumping back and forth from ditch to ditch solves nothing. The road is a combination of both Power and Relating – that’s where God wants you. Stand on good and Godly values and relate those values patiently, kindly, sacrificially, and unconditionally.
AND always remember that her change is HER DECISION, not yours. God calls you to pursue her best, but her change is between her and God.
…and gave Himself for her… – Ephesians 5:25
Sacrifice is defined as “surrendering something you value for something else.” The Apostle Paul says that husbands follow the example of Jesus Christ, Who did not even spare Himself. God asks you to sacrifice for your wife, just as Christ sacrificed Himself for the Church.
How do you sacrifice for your wife? You probably will not have to die for her. But perhaps you could give up some of “your” time to do something with her. How about just having a conversation with her, spend time with her, or even go shopping with her!
What are you willing to sacrifice?
The key to sacrifice is dying to self. Dying to self is similar to LOVE in that its focus is on others.
“The Army, with its emphasis on rank and medals and efficiency reports, is the easiest institution in the world in which to get consumed with ambition. Some officers spend all their time currying favor and worrying about the next promotion — a miserable way to live. But West Point saved me from that by instilling the ideal of service above self — to do my duty for my country even if it brought no gain at all. It gave me far more than a military career — it gave me a calling.” - It Doesn’t Take a Hero, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Sanctifying / Purifying Love
… that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word… – Ephesians 5:26
God gave you the responsibility to protect and help set your wife apart as holy, preserving her virtue and purity. Part of your role is protecting her from compromising or defiling situations and encouraging her to remove anything that brings impurity into her life.
How do you do this? Use the water of the Word to wash the dirt of the world off her. The Greek for “word” implies spoken portions, not the entirety, which implies that you know enough of God’s Word to speak it and converse about it with your wife. This is how you can help develop your wife through speaking and standing upon the Word.
You are not in the business of “making her change.” Your business is to offer, not make it happen. Hope, pray, encourage, and exhort if necessary. But do not make your happiness dependent upon your wife changing. Think about it, Christ deals with you exactly that way! He does not make you change; He invites you to participate in a better life. You either choose it or not.
The ability to cleanse and mature anyone is from Christ and His Word. You lead based on what Christ asks you to do, not doing it based on how you feel or your opinion.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. – Ephesians 5:29
Men nourish your wife! Help her to mature and blossom. What can you do to help develop talents God has given her? What can you do to help her mature in the Lord? Here are a few suggestions: Pray with her. Discuss God’s Word with her. Observe her, not judgingly, and ask if she is interested in what you see. Stop making everything about “ME”.
Nourish also means “to feed.” So, provide for her. This fits with a man’s design to work and provide, and supports the fact that man is to be the breadwinner.
…and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. – Ephesians 5:29
There is something about the word “cherish” that can make a woman’s heart melt. Men, if you tell your wife that you love her, she likes that. But if you cherish her and tell her that, she probably will feel even more valued, secure, and protected. Why? My speculation is that cherish is rarely used and still has a clear definition that is not muddled. Love is used for so many things that it does not carry the clarity and weight of cherish. Try it and see.
In Greek, cherish means to soften or warm with body heat, like a bird on a nest. In English, it means to hold dear, value highly, take great care of, and treat tenderly. So, when you cherish your wife, you provide a secure, warm, soft place for her.
God designed man to work and provide a secure, warm place for his wife, and God designed her for a safe, warm place. Few women dispute this.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. – Ephesians 5:31
Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24, which was before sin, when man and woman were still operating in purity. He reminds you that the sanctity of marital oneness has not changed. Not even the fall could abolish it.
Why a singular love? What about divorce? Some say that even divorce does not actually separate. “Joined” in Greek means “glued together”. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), and God has not changed His mind (Malachi 3:6) (see Chapter 11 for a full discussion about divorce).
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:25, 27
If you take the analogy literally, all of the prior actions result in the wife being presented back to her husband. She is presented to you as the Church is presented to Christ.
That implies that doing what God asks will benefit the husband! That is exactly how God works. The picture is of a bride presented in a marriage ceremony, ideally, she will be without “spot, wrinkle, or blemish.” Preparing her is pictured as the husband’s job, as Christ is about the business of preparing His church.
Will your wife look like the idyllic pictures of marriage ceremonies; a glorious beauty, pristine in her countenance and adornment … or something less, maybe even dirty with tattered clothes?
Scripture says, “woman is the glory of man” (I Corinthians 11:7). Glory implies a shining and a reflection. Some things you do not like in your wife may reflect you! What are you doing to help her walk with God? If this visionary love is true, God will reward you for loving your wife as Christ loves the church.