Being the head of anything brings with it much excitement for me. Usually there’s responsibility, perks, challenges, rewards, and many other things. As the head, I get to some extent, control people, conditions, environment, etc. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a pastor, husband, or dad, it’s expected of you whether you like it or not. Most of the time I enjoy being a man and being the head of my household, except when I begin thinking of the awesome responsibility I have and the expectations God has for me as the head of my family, for which I will one day have to give an account. It doesn’t stand to be a very good accounting when I juxtapose my headship to Christ’s example.
“And He hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). Let’s understand that at the forefront of the study on headship is the need to get the fact down that Christ was set as head of the church by God. We, the church, are His body. Christ is head over all the members of that body (Ephesians 4:15-16). Again, Colossians 1:18 reminds us that, “He is the head of the body, the church…that in all things He might have the preeminence.” But not only does Christ serve as the Head of the church, but He also feeds and nourishes it. Read Colossians 2:19, “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” In other words…the church draws strength and nourishment from Christ, and, since we all are members of one body, Christ should be the head of each of us, as we draw strength and nourishment from Him individually.
Now, if you look, there is a hierarchy that extends from the God to Christ to the Church and ultimately to the family. Study 1st Corinthians 11:1-12 and you’ll see this plain and clear. Verse 3 pretty much encapsulates everything: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” See…God is the Head of Jesus. Jesus is the Head of the man. The man is the head of the woman. Now what’s interesting is that even though those “under” us are to be subject to us, it’s a two-way street my friend. Jesus was obedient and subject unto God His Father, but God certainly provided His needs throughout His ministry. We are subject unto Christ’s Headship, but He provided salvation for us through His shed blood on the cross at Calvary. So too, your wife and children should be subject to your headship, but the same responsibilities Christ has toward you and the rest of His church, are your responsibilities to your own family, and I think I can make that argument clear by taking you to Ephesians 5:23-33.
I’ll not transcribe here the entire text, but I’ll hit a few bullet points to make the case. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church: and He is the Saviour of the Body” (vs. 23). Husbands and Christ share the same repsonsibilties for their respective bodies…the husband for the family…Christ for the Church. As Husbands, we’re also expected to sacrifice for our families: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (vs. 25). Just as Christ “sanctifies and cleanses” His church, we, as husbands and fathers should be watching out for the spiritual well being of our family. Is there a difference in your family when compared to an unsaved family in your neighborhood? Christ is working to make His Church body better, we must work on making our family better. Why work so hard to make our families better? “That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but it should be holy and without blemish” (vs. 27). We will not be able to bring about total glorification to our families, as that is the sole job of Christ. But we can help the Lord in the process of sanctification along the way as we lead our families. Through actions such as prayer and direct involvement with our families, we can help their spiritual growth and development, to help them reach a point of having a testimony of blamelessness before others. Lastly, according to Ephesians 5:29, we are to “nourish” and “cherish” our families. We are to feed our families and love our families. First and foremost we should feed our family spiritually with all God has to offer to us, through daily prayer for the needs of our families. But the only way we will pray daily for our families is if we cherish and love them. Our families need to mean as much to us as the Church means to Christ. Even during those times when our families disappoint us, we can’t turn on them, because Christ’s example is that He doesn’t turn on us when His Church disappoints Him.
There are two scriptures that explain why there are “heads.” We’ve already looked at Colossians 2:19 earlier. Ephesians 4:15-16 states: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: From Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” As the heads of the households, we should teach our families the truths of God’s Word and what it is that God expects out of our families. To be a Christ-like, obedient, and blessed family should be the goal that we have for our families. Also, we should recognize that each member of our families is important to the functioning of the family as a whole. We should make it our goal to encourage growth in areas where the family is weak, and utilize and further develop our strengths. Then, not only will we have stronger families, but stronger churches, and an overall stronger Body of Christ globally.
Another very interesting thing about the head is that it is the only part of the body to hold all five senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. In Ephesians 4:15-16 we saw that the head can be responsible for nourishment and growth. The fact that the head is the only part of the body containing all five senses leads me to believe that the head is also responsible for protecting the body. Consider the human body. If we touch something hot, our body will immediately retract from that heat source. What happens is that a signal is sent from the hand, to the brain, which then processes the information and realizes that there is potential harm and immediately sends signals to the arm to retract the hand away from the source of harm. That’s what we should do as the heads of our families…we should protect them.
But protection doesn’t mean that you walk around with an attitude of you know best and it’s your way and that’s final! No, that’s not how our brain works with us. Before a decision is made by the brain to make the body remove itself from danger, it processes information and makes decisions after input from the other parts of the body. The brain does not act in an authoritarian and dictatorial mode. There’s communication between the body and the brain before the brain makes the ultimate decision…all in the best interest of the body. Incidentally, just like the arm obeys the brain when the brain senses danger; so too should children and other’s subject to the authority in the home, listen to the heads of their respective families, to ensure their physical and spiritual safety (Ephesians 6:1).
As Father’s Day approaches, may we be subject to Christ’s authority and learn from Him, so we can be the proper heads of our families as God intended from the beginning.