WHEN CHRIST IS LORD OF YOUR HOME
By Danny and Charlotte Akin
On May 27, 1978 we began a great journey together. From the start we had a commitment both to the permanence of marriage and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We could never have imagined then where God would take us and what all He would allow us to experience. We have been blessed with four wonderful sons, 3 beautiful daughters-in-law, 2 grandchildren and a 3rd on the way. Our life together has been a fantastic adventure. We have laughed and cried, succeeded and failed, been glad, mad and sad. Through it all, however, we have attempted to follow God’s guidelines found in Scripture for marriage and family. The Bible has been our compass and we, to the best of our ability, have sought to allow it to chart our course.
When it comes to leadership in the home, we recognize that God has designed distinctive roles and assignments for the husband and wife. Texts that inform us of what God created and redeemed us to be include Genesis 1:26-31; 2:18-25; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Psalm 1; 127; 128; Proverbs; Song of Solomon (!); Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7; 11:2-16; Ephesians 5:18-6:4; Philippians 2:1-5; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 3:4-5; Titus 2:1-8; Hebrews 13:4; and 1 Peter 3:1-7. There is no want for Scripture to show the way. We have discovered that obedience, not knowledge, has always been the greatest challenge.
To understand the issue of leadership in the home, it might work best if we each share about what God has shown us, and how we have struggled and grown in what God wants us to be. Then we will talk about parenting and share a particular experience where we sought to practice what we believe Godly, biblical leadership looks like. Ladies should always be allowed to go first, so Charlotte will begin by sharing her thoughts.
Charlotte on the wife/mother role
I entered marriage with a lot of hopes and dreams. I also brought some painful baggage as well. My parents were alcoholics and divorced when I was 8. My sister, brother and I bounced from home to home until we were placed in the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home in Palmetto, Georgia. I was 9, and I lived there until I was 18 and graduated from high school. While those were difficult years, there were some good times as well. It was while I was in the Children’s Home that I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord, and God became my perfect heavenly Father (John 1:12). As we began our marriage I had no difficulty accepting God’s assignment for me as a wife and mother. The Bible was God’s Word and whatever it said I believed. Still, believing it and living it are not always the same thing. The Bible says “submit to your husband as to the Lord.” That is easy to do when your husband is obeying God and doing what you want. But what about those times when he doesn’t? Danny is a loving husband and a very smart man. However, there are times when I cannot for the life of me understand what he is thinking. Because I had to watch out for myself as I was growing up, it is easy for me to just do things my way, the way I think is best. But this is neither honoring to God or to Danny. When I honor him by following his lead, even when I disagree, I am also honoring Jesus. This doesn’t mean I cannot voice my concern and give my opinion. Neither does it mean I follow Danny if he were to ask me to do something unbiblical, unethical, immoral or illegal. Ultimately my Lord is Jesus not Danny. Gratefully, I can never think of a time where I had to make a decision like that.
Personally, God’s pattern in Genesis 2:18, along with Ephesians 5:21-24, has been the most helpful to me. There God says, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him” (NKJV). The word “helper” is used elsewhere in Scripture of God as He condescends to help us. There is nothing demeaning in this at all. Danny is a gifted man with strengths and abilities. He also, like all of us, has areas of weakness. One of the joys of my life is filling those gaps. Danny often compares marriage to a football team. To be successful you need a head coach and a quarterback. It is also essential that they work well together as a team. Danny is my head coach and I am his quarterback and God is president. Good teamwork requires mutual love, respect and understanding. I believe Danny is really good at being a man, husband, father and leader. That is the way God planned it. I also believe I am really good at being a woman, wife, mother and helper. This is also the way God planned it, and when we follow his plan the family works well.
Danny on the husband/father role
Being the leader of our home has been an awesome assignment and one I am completely inadequate to fulfill on my own. I will be the first to admit that when we were first married I had a lot to learn. I tended to be selfish and self-centered. I was delighted for Charlotte to wait on me hand and foot and meet my every desire. However, over the past 30 years God has been growing me in my understanding of what it means to lead your wife and family. Two truths in particular stand out when I think about Charlotte.
First, I am to love her. That is the thrust of Ephesians 5:25-33. The love described there is quite detailed and particular. I am to love her sacrificially, “as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” Such love is volitional. It is an act of the will, which seeks the best for another. I do not love her “if” or “because” … I love her period, including those times when she is unlovely. I love her sanctifyingly with a goal of aiding and encouraging her to be more like Jesus. My love is to be sensitive. “Husbands ought (there is a moral imperative) to love their wives as their own bodies.” Care and concern should characterize my love. My love should be satisfying, “nourishing and cherishing her just as Christ does the church.” I always knew Charlotte had as goal of her life to make me a success. I now understand that one of my goals as a Godly leader is to make her a success, not before the world, but before God. Nourishing and cherishing love is essential. My love is also to be specific. Verse 33 says “nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself.” This verse has taught me the importance of being a “one woman kind of man.” There should never be any doubt in the mind of Charlotte or the boys, family, friends or foe that Danny Akin is in love with and committed to only one woman, and that woman is his wife. In trying to provide a model of leadership Charlotte can trust and our sons Nathan, Jonathan, Paul and Timothy can follow: I committed, when we were first married, to never be alone with a woman other than Charlotte. That commitment has caused me to be criticized as a Neanderthal, sexist, Pharisee. It has also won the heart of my wife and the confidence of my sons. I can live with that.
Second, I am to know her. First Peter 3:7 says that a husband is to love his wife according to knowledge or with understanding that his prayers will not be hindered. Charlotte is a very talented and gifted woman, far more than she realizes I believe. But Charlotte, like all women, has some very particular needs because of the way God made her. She needs me to be a spiritual man of conviction, courage and commitment. She needs to know I appreciate her for all the many things she does as a wife and mother. She needs romance and affection, and in a language she appreciates and understands! Sex may or may not be a part of the package. She also needs me to be honest and open and engage her in heart to heart conversation. She needs me to bring security to our home by my presence and involvement, and she needs to know that after Jesus, nothing is more important in my life than she and our family. As I strive to be a man of God my priorities look something like this:
4) Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church
5) Southeastern Seminary
I do not always follow these as I ought, but I continually keep them before me as I seek to be the spiritual man and leader God wants me to be.
[This is the first in a two-part article. The second part of this article will be posted tomorrow.]