Chapter 7 – A Man’s Foundation

Becoming is more important than doing. Inside the home is where a man becomes; outside the home is where he does. A man’s home is where he is most shaped into Christ’s image.


A man’s inside-the-home calling could be compared to a foundation while his outside-the-home calling could be compared to the structure that is built on that foundation. The structure may look more impressive from a distance, but it’s not the most important part. You can have a foundation without a building, but you can never have a building without a foundation. Eventually, it will collapse.


Marriage and Long Term Fruit

One Christian author shared the response he gave when a friend asked him whether he should get married or stay single and devote himself to serving the Lord. He told the man, if you want to be free to serve Christ, stay single. Marriage takes a lot of time. But if you want to become like Christ, get married. Nothing is a more powerful for shaping a man into Christ’s image than marriage.


Becoming like Christ is not only superior do things for Him, it is more fruitful in the long run. Jesus accomplished more in 3 short years of ministry than any person in human history. A person’s capacity to produce eternal fruit increases exponentially with the maturity of his Christlikeness. A person could perhaps accomplish more in one year with 50% of Christ’s likeness than he could laboring for 30 years with only 10% of His likeness. This is one reason why God is never in a hurry to use us to produce fruit. He is much more interested in us becoming like His Son. If we do this, the fruit will take care of itself.


A Wife Is Her Husband’s Crown

Proverbs 12:4 says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.” A crown is a symbol of authority. In the God’s kingdom, a man’s authority to lead others comes, in large part, from how he fulfills his charge as a husband. A thriving wife is the seal of his ability to rule.  She is the evidence that he can lead in a humble, loving way – the way Christ leads us.


After relating to the Lord 1-on-1, a man’s most important ministry is to his wife. She is his first disciple. He is not really qualified for this since he is not above her, spiritually. Therefore, the largest part of his headship is really to model humility and dependence on the Lord. When we lead from a place of dependence on the Lord, He gives us grace for it.


God’s Blanket Statement Concerning Marriage

God’s blanket statement concerning marriage since the beginning of creation is Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Husbands and wives need each other. God alone does fully satisfy us because He did not create us to be satisfied only by Him. Even though Adam lived in God’s manifest presence and talked with Him face to face, God still said he was “alone”. Without a woman, he was incomplete. He could never become who he was called to become or do what he was called to do. This is as true of us as it was for Adam.


This applies to every person not specifically called to singleness, or to seasons of singleness. When the disciples said it is better for a man not to marry, Jesus replied in Matthew 19:11, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.” In other words, the calling to remain single is given to certain individuals.



Similarly, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am [referring to his singleness]. However, each man has his own gift from God…” Notice how Paul reaffirms what Jesus said in Matthew 19:11 – marriage or singleness is based a man’s “own gift from God”, or his calling.


The second thing to understand about Paul’s statement is this: It is right and good for every person to sincerely feel like his or her calling is the best calling in the world. If we fully knew everything God had in mind for us, we would never want to be anyone else. This is how Paul felt.



Have you ever said about a close friend or family member, “I hope they meet someone and get married someday”? Or maybe you’ve said, “I hope they have children someday”. We say things like this because we sincerely believe marriage and parenthood are wonderful and fulfilling and they would be missing out by not experiencing them. It is good and right for us to feel this way because marriage and family are part of our calling. However, Paul felt the same way about remaining single. It was no sacrifice for him because it was his calling.  He considered it a gift, not a sacrifice.



If a man or woman remains single who was not specifically called to singleness, either because of choice or circumstances, God can certainly redeem this. He or she can still enjoy close fellowship and community with others, have deep intimacy with God, and be used powerfully by Him. However, given the choice, Genesis 2:18 should be a believer’s default approach toward marriage.


The Power of Two

Several passages of scripture indicate that there is something very special about the power of two people being in agreement. Here are some examples:


“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.” (Eccl 4:9-12)


“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matt 18:19-20)


“How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight…” (Deuteronomy 32:20)


Another example can be found in Mark 6:7 when Jesus “began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.” Notice how Jesus linked these two together – being assigned a partner and being given authority over the enemy.


These passages highlight some of the advantages of two equally yoked people partnering together. They comfort, protect, and rescue each other. They multiply each other’s labor, prayers, and warfare. They invite the presence of God into their midst. They keep one another accountable, encouraged, and focused on the mission Jesus gave us.


There is no context to which this principle is more applicable than marriage. This is why it is so deep in God’s heart for husbands and wives to learn how to labor together in unity. His kingdom depends on it. The power and light of His church rises and falls dramatically according the oneness of its marriages.


Perhaps the prophet Isaiah was an example of this. Isaiah was given the most panoramic vision of any Old Testament prophet. His book is filled with lucid prophecies not only of his own time, but also of Christ’s First Coming, Second Coming, and the Millennial Kingdom. Perhaps part of what prepared him to be entrusted with these revelations was that fact that he was equally yoked to a prophetess wife (Isaiah 8:3) and devotedly raised his children to be “signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord” (Isaiah 8:18). This is a rare and outstanding quality among Old Testament prophets, or among any of the men in scripture.


Satan Forbade Ministers to Marry

A man desperately needs the influence of a woman in his life to minister to others. He is incomplete without her. He is unbalanced in his view of the world and unprotected from the enemy. Perhaps for this reason the enemy inspired a doctrine that forbade ministers to marry for so many centuries. Satan knew the church’s power would be severely handicapped if its leaders were cut off from marriage and family.  


It is easy to feel godly and surrendered to the Lord when we are all alone. However, when every decision must take into consideration someone with completely different needs and desires, we begin to see how selfish and immature we are. Then, when we must work together with our spouse to serve totally dependent children, we see our condition even more clearly.


Unless he has grace for singleness, a man will never reach his full potential without his wife’s input. So many men in spiritual leadership have become imbalanced and deceived either because they did not marry or because they did not let their wives speak into their lives. They only had one part of God’s perspective of themselves and their ministries because they didn’t receive the rest from their wives, which left them unprotected from the enemy.


When Jealousy Is Godly

One of the ways a wife protects her husband is by becoming jealous when anything other than God becomes more important to him than her. Because men are more accomplishment oriented it is easy for them to unconsciously put ministries, careers, or other outside-the-home pursuits ahead of their wives. And since our marriage relationships often reflect our relationships with God, this is usually a strong indicator that they are also putting these things before Him. Sometimes a woman’s jealousy is a reflection of her own insecurity, but other times it is a reflection God’s nature in her, which He expressed in Exodus 34:14, saying His name is “Jealous”.


When a woman expresses jealousy, a wise man will recognize this as a gift and examine himself. She may be protecting him from the most dangerous and subtle sin there is – idolatry. By calling him back into relationship with herself, she also calls him back into relationship with God, and reminds him that relationships in general are more important than accomplishments.


The same can be true of women. If a husband is grieved or jealous over a wife’s lack of attention to their marriage because she is so focused on caring for her children (or other pursuits), this could be an indicator of her idolatry. It’s possible the husband is just having trouble adjusting to sharing her with their children. However, if she really does value her children in her heart more than her husband, she is putting the third most important thing in her life ahead the second. This may very well mean she is also putting them ahead of the first – she may be finding her sense of purpose and fulfillment more from her children than from God.


Because we live in such a fallen world, idolatry can feel natural and right. Likewise, keeping proper priorities can feel uncomfortable and even wrong. It takes careful intention and faith to agree with God over our feelings and desires.


My Pride and Idolatry

Early in my marriage, I had an intense zeal for the Lord, but was also full of pride and selfish ambition. My outside-the-home calling was the most important thing in the world to me. Together, these traits were toxic and dangerous.


Because Jenny was less intense than I was, I always felt afraid she would somehow hold me back from my fulfilling my calling. However, whenever I brought this to the Lord, I felt as though He was saying I needed Jenny to fulfill my calling. If I had known the extent of my pride and idolatry, this would have made sense. If I had been willing to listen to her, God could have used her to protect me. But I wasn’t willing and it nearly destroyed everything good in my life.   


Jesus Our Model

There is a sense in which Jesus modeled putting family above of ministry. Although He was called to singleness, Jesus did have a small group of people who were like family to Him that He prioritized ahead of everyone else. He even called them His family members (see Matthew 12:49).


Try to imagine yourself in Jesus’ position. You are the most famous minister in your nation. Huge crowds flocked to you continually. Everywhere you minister countless people are saved, healed, and delivered. The whole nation is being transformed because of the revival you are leading.


Human logic suggested Jesus should have fully devoted Himself to visible, “platform” ministry, but this is not what He did. Instead, He regularly left the masses behind to devote huge amounts of focused time to His disciples and the women who travelled with them. This is analogous to a man putting his wife and children ahead of his ministry.


Sometimes, doing the humbler, small-picture thing ultimately bears more fruit than the outwardly impressive, big-picture thing. A man’s wife and children are his first disciples. Can a man really consider his ministry a success if he fails with his first disciples?


If Jesus had only ministered to the multitudes, much of the fruit of His ministry would have been lost since no one would have gotten close enough to Him to carry on His legacy. In the same way, our greatest eternal fruit is borne out of our closest relationships, not our most visible accomplishments.



Ephesians 5:1 tells us to “be imitators of God”. How do husbands and wives represent God to one another? We’ll find out in the next chapter.