Tuck and I were able to spend a day in the woods last week, here in the mountains, and we wanted to share a bit of that hunt with you. I let him miss a day of school, so I guess you could call it a mountain man field trip. Tuck took a buck by himself, and we packed it out after walking about three miles from where he made the shot. I cannot emphasize enough to dads to do things with your sons and daughters that they will never forget. Get out of the ordinary. Do something that will make the day you do it, literally, a day they will never forget. In a world of technology, video games, texting and social media, I can tell you that Tuck and I will never forget the smell of fall, the rising sun and fog that morning, the roar of his muzzleloader, the blood trail and recovery after the shot, and the tasty backstraps fried up for supper. Do something soon, Dad, that you and your child will not forget in this lifetime.
Seems like there are a lot of professing Christians who have now moved to a position of support, regarding same-sex marriage. We expect it out of Hollywood and pop-culture in general. We shouldn’t be surprised that politicians are following the cultural tide. But we should be appalled that those who profess the name of Christ would stand on those things that reject the Word of God as our authority. It is scary to see and hear the number of young Christians who are allowing the culture, rather than the scripture, to shape their beliefs, opinions, and overall worldview. People often misuse and misinterpret a verse or passage of scripture to support an opposing view, but the Word of God is clear on this. There is a constant, overarching theme in scripture when it comes to marriage and what God intends it to be. I want to point out three things that God intends marriage to produce, and provide, for this world. So-called same-sex marriage fails at all three points.
Marriage is for Making Babies
The first one is simple and obvious. Even though we live in a society in which 30 million children live without both parents at home, we know that God intends for Godly marriages to produce Godly legacies. This requires that the most intimate physical act between two people be expressed and enjoyed in such a way that God is glorified. One of the earliest mandates God gave humanity was to reproduce it’s own kind. In Genesis 1:28, God tells man to “be fruitful and multiply.” God then brings the first man the first bride and performs the first marriage. It is a biblical marriage, and it involves a man and a woman. It takes a man and a woman to make a baby. Two men cannot do it. Two women cannot do it. God designed it that way. He reiterates this mandate to Noah when the earth is in need of repopulation following the flood.
Marriage is for Making Us Holy (sanctification)
Within the context of a marriage, we are called to serve one another in the progressive work of the Holy Spirit in making us more like Christ. This requires a relationship between two people that is, what we will call, “complementarian.” To make it simple, a husband and wife are to serve one another in such a way that they are growing in Christ. My highest priority in marriage is the spiritual growth and discipleship of my wife, Little. Through this, our kids will grow in their own faith. We are in an amazing position to reflect the Trinitarian love of God.
If marriage is the most intimate of relationships, then even our sexuality is to serve holiness. By God’s grace, he even made sex and sexuality to be very gratifying and pleasurable, but not without design. The goal of it all is to bring holiness, and that requires complimentarianism. Paul says in Ephesians 5:26 that I am laboring for my wife’s sanctification. This is the high calling of being a man, a husband, in marriage.
Marriage Shows us the Relationship of Christ and His Bride, the Church
The church is not the same as Christ, the head of the church. Paul tells the Ephesians that Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. This is a self-sacrificial love. Even within the biblical idea of submission, we have the church submitting to Christ and Christ submitting to the father. The Son is, no doubt, equal to the Father, and that is the picture wives are given of submission. The Son, however, shows us how to serve our wives, by laying down his own life, and even his own position, to be murdered for his bride and for her salvation.
Same-sex marriage cannot duplicate any of this. Marriage, then, is a biblical mandate. Anything seen by God as a mandate is not negotiable. The Corinthian church gives us clear examples of what happens when a church is shaped by the culture. God does not negotiate or compromise when it comes to his character and our holiness. Marriage is so woven into the story of redemption that it is impossible to sever the two. On a more sobering note, perhaps the reason so many “church kids” are climbing on board the same-sex marriage bandwagon, is because they have never seen a heterosexual marriage cover these three biblical realities. We should be convicted and convinced of the high call of marriage, and we should labor to that end in our own marriages, and pray toward that end in our singleness.
The church is still the bride of Christ, and nothing can legislate away that reality.
A lot of our readers have been asking about the trip to Central America that we just took with the SWO staff. Every year, we take our kids to Honduras to work in an orphanage that is home to 600 children. The kids range from newborn to 18 years, and our kids have learned a lot through these annual trips. In fact, I would say that Little and I have learned a lot through these trips.
I have the opportunity to speak a good bit on the subjects of marriage and family, parenting, biblical manhood, leadership, etc. I also have a lot of opportunities to speak at missions conferences. I often challenge parents to consider taking a family missions trip in the place of an annual vacation. We live in such a material-driven world. We live in such a material-driven CHURCH. If we can break away from the commercialism of America and serve others and teach our children to do the same, then God will honor it. He will grow our families. He will give our kids a vision and passion for the nations and for people who genuinely NEED Jesus. As a parent, giving our children these opportunities is very important. I could go on about this topic, because I am so passionate about it. But I want to make the challenge simple. I want the Lord to challenge you to consider exchanging a typical vacation for a life-changing trip with eternal implications.
I can tell you that when you serve together as a family, things change. Dynamics change. Futures change. When your week together is more about feeding hungry children than it is about feasting at a seafood buffet, things change. When you trade in beachfront lodging for a sleeping mat in a third world orphanage, things change. The first time you look into the eyes of your son or daughter as they look into the eyes of one who is fatherless, things change.
It isn’t that difficult, and we can help point you in the right directions. Opportunities abound. But you only get one chance to raise your children.
“As a father, the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12b
I love being a father, but I also really love being a daddy. There is such a joy that comes from investing in my son and daughters. I think one of the most encouraging things I can do for my son is to enjoy him. I talk to young men all the time who know their father loves them, but he doesn’t necessarily enjoy them. There is a whole new element to a father’s love when it is accompanied with pleasure in the father-son relationship. This gives a son a completely different, elevated level of confidence.
Building confidence in my son is important to his development and understanding of who he is in Christ. God loves his sons, but he also takes pleasure in us. This completely legitimizes and affirms me.
One of the ways we do this is by teaching the ways of manhood. I often place the burden of being “man of the house” on my son, Tucker (Tuck), when I am traveling. I spend a good deal of time on the road, so I want him to be learning to carry the weight of responsibility that a man should carry. I will often look him in the eyes, put my hand on his shoulder and tell him, “You’ve got this. You’re in charge of personal security at the “Tajmaholloway” while I am gone. Shoot straight and be the man.” I will always grin at him and let him see that leaving him in charge gives me confidence, and delight. I affirm his masculinity — both the tender side and the rough side — to his sisters and mother. This is good for everybody.
Men, invest in your boys. Teach them all that matters. But enjoy them. Delight in them. That will affirm them like nothing else will.
For me and Tuck, we just spend tons of time together. Quantity of time screams delight. Give ‘em lots of it. And grin and laugh while you do it.
One of the highlights of my week is taking my girls on dates. Each week, I try to take each of my daughters out for a little alone time. Kilby and I do breakfast on Mondays — coffee and cinnamon rolls — and then some quality time talking about life and the Gospel.
For Lailee, it is all about the ice cream! She prefers Party Time, but sometimes we head to McDonalds (I mean, a Reese’s McFlurry is hard to argue with). It doesn’t seem to really matter to them where we go, and it definitely doesn’t matter to me. It is really all about the time we spend together. Cell phone is off — no texting or talking, no distractions. They get my undivided attention.
In addition to our weekly dates, I try to end each day by spending a little time with each one of them — reflecting on the day while sitting on the side of their beds holding hands.
If I could instill in daddies the importance of honoring their daughters with their time — and lots of it — I would do it at most any cost. Daddies need to feel that kind of love that only a daddy can give. He needs to feel the kind of acceptance, value, honor and worth that only comes from him. This is the best way for him to see God. But so many fathers are not “daddies.” They are occupied or stressed or whatever you want to call it; but mainly just selfish. Such a little time and talk goes such a long way in the heart and confidence of a little girl. If we would do this, I think there would be a lot fewer girls who need to be needed in their formative years. We see the repercussions of this a lot at SWO.
Last night I looked at Lailee as she lay in bed, and I whispered, “I love being your daddy.” She smiled those big brown eyes shut and smiled herself to sleep. I think the ice cream is working.