In tight circumstances, I cried out to the Lord. The Lord answered me with wide-open spaces. The Lord is for me—I won’t be afraid. What can anyone do to me? – Psalm 118, 5-6
- image from a men’s event I spoke at in SC September 2019
Wow! Thanks, Bible Gateway. I wish I had read this (Psalm 118) before going to my small group this morning. Talk about apropos.
So today the Saturday men’s group launched a new study. For the next few weeks our focus is going to be on marriage – specifically the ones we are in – and how God encourages us to be better husbands.
It’s kind of a no-brainer. Because our fundamental commitment as a group is that of “being better disciples.” It only follows that we bring our role as disciples of Jesus into play in our most important relationships.
“Inviting Jesus in makes everything better,” I said. “Jesus showed up at a wedding party and the wine got better. Invite Jesus to dinner and the conversation is better. Take Jesus along with you when you go to work, play golf, go shopping. And,when Jesus is integral to our most important relationship the potential is so much more. Fact is, the presence of Jesus brings everything up several notches!
Jesus is nothing if not practical. The teachings of Christ must make a difference in every aspect of what it means to live as a man in this Twenty-first Century.
Jesus is invasive/subversive:
It’s kind of funny how invasive Jesus is – or wants to be – Jesus gets very personal. There is very little about Christianity that encourages us to dictate the positions other people should take in terms of social politics, who to vote for, who’s right and who’s wrong… On the other hand, following Jesus absolutely has a whole lot to say when it comes to humility, love that changes us, how we treat one-another, the attitudes we should take, how we comport ourselves, and how generous he expects us to be.
I remember a conversation I once had with a man who insisted it was God’s will that he exercise what he called, “Godly leadership and authority” in his home. Essentially this guy was looking for justification for his leanings toward sexism, chauvinism, control, and bullying.
“Okay, so you want to be a leader in your home?” I asked, rhetorically. “Then be a leader like Jesus. Be a leader in humility, be a leader in submission, be a leader in service, in grace, in self-giving love…” That conversation didn’t exactly go well! And, interestingly, he eventually broke fellowship with me and found a church and a group of men happy to help him play the “leadership as dominance” card all he wanted.
Here at WFPC we had a very helpful conversation this morning, seven men around a table encouraging one-another as disciples of Jesus. We talked about the following questions:
- “Why do we even need a study designed to help our marriages?”
- “What has faith got to do with it? Does being a Christian make a difference when it comes to being married?”
- “Share one strong principle that has helped you in your marriage?” (answers included commitment, faithfulness, listening, honesty…).
- “What is servant leadership?”
- “How can we pray for one another over the coming week?”
So we are going into this study with the commitment to follow Jesus as husbands, to be honest about where we need to grow, to pray for one another, and to have open minds and open spirits as we move forward in serving God in the context of being a group of men who have been married anywhere from nine to forty-two years.
Marriage as Faith Statement:
Jesus said the world would look in at the church and say, “Wow! Will you look at how those people love one-another!” The Lord said this would be our strongest witness.
If we really want to follow Jesus, and to directly apply his constant invitation to love selflessly and serve one-another with humility… then our marriages are a great place to start!
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails… 1 Corinthians 13
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.