Overcoming Self Pity

 

Overcoming self pity – “Self pity is a selfish tendency that takes our eyes off Christ and puts them on ourselves.”
http://thankful-homemaker.blogspot.com/2012/09/overcoming-self-pity.html

 

 

 

 

I have been camping out in The Excellent Wife book and I encourage you ladies if you haven’t read it to read it and if you have it, as my friend Jasmine said, “I think now would be a good time to remove the dust from my copy of The Excellent Wife”.  Wipe off the dust and bring it out again – it will bring your focus of marriage back to a biblical one.

 

 

One of the chapters that surprised me that I gained much from was the one on loneliness.   One statement she made in the addendum on loneliness was shared from her friend, “being alone and lonely is not the same thing.  If you are alone (and bored) you can find someone to do something with.  If you are lonely your thoughts are wrong and most always involve self-pity.  Martha Peace shared it was her favorite chapter because it caused her to think about and desire the Lord and it quickly became my favorite too.

 

 

I know we can all relate to self-pity as women, wives and mothers.  How many times do we focus on our needs that aren’t met?  Unfair situations or circumstances?  Self pity is a selfish tendency that takes our eyes off Christ and puts them on ourselves.  We forget that “God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose”.  Are we able to give God “thanks in all things”?

 

 

We need to be reminded that God has a purpose for every situation that comes into our lives and His purpose in each and every one of them is to mold us into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.

 

 

“The antidote to self-pity is delighting in the Lord.”  ~ Martha Peace

 

Practical Ways to Repent of Self-Pity
1.  Be discerning about what you are feeling and thinking.  If you feel lonely and it is painful for you, realize what you are thinking.  Write your thoughts down and analyze each one of them biblically.
2.  Cultivate gratefulness to God and to your husband.  Think “thank you” thoughts to God often especially when something doesn’t go your way.
3.  Learn to be content.  There are a lot of material things we can definitely live without and there is a lot of attention from our husbands that we can also live without.  Give your husband blessings instead and think about your responsibility before God to be content.
4.  Realize that God could remove you from the circumstance today if He wanted to but that God’s purposes are higher than yours.  And if the Lord does remove you from the circumstance of your husband being aloof or closed off from you, you don’t want to be ashamed of yourself before the Lord that you whined and complained and were angry and bitter when (looking back) you can see how God was working even though you didn’t know it.
5.  Realize that God has a purpose.  Romans 8:28-29 is true.
6.  God wants you to go against your feelings and think and do what is right.  He will, then, help you not to slip into your self-centered pity-party, “poor me” routine.
7.  Adopt a high view of God through reading and thinking about the Psalms and also reading good books by godly men and women who challenge your thinking.  Read with a dictionary handy in case you need to look up a word.  Read when you are awake and clear-headed.  Also underline sentences that stand out to you so that you can refer back to them.
8.  View time alone as a grace gift from God to spend more time with the Lord reading His Word and learning about Him and talking to Him.
~Taken from The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace (emphasis mine)

 

 

Let me leave you today with a prayer from The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges.  May you delight in the Lord always!

 

 

“O glorious God!  The vast oceans You hold in Your hand and the billions of stars You hold in their courses are but faint pictures of Your infinite greatness.  Indeed, You spoke the universe into existence in the beginning and now by Your mighty power You hold it all together from hour to hour.  Fill our minds with awe and adoration as we think upon Your greatness.  Fill our hearts with gratitude and gladness as we realize that with all Your infinite power and sovereignty, You have condescended to be our God.  Through Jesus, Your Son, we praise you.  Amen.”

 

 

“As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord!”

 

 

 

 

Helpful Resources:

 

 

 

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25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband

 
Actions speak louder than words. You can say you respect your husband, but he’ll have a hard time believing that unless your behavior backs it up.

 

What does respectful living look like? Here are 25 ways you can communicate respect to your spouse without uttering a word. If you’ll make it your habit to do these things, the next time you tell your husband how much you respect him, he won’t have to wonder if you really mean it.

 

  1. Choose Joy
    It’s true: A happy wife makes a happy life. Please don’t use moodiness as an attempt to manipulate your man, but in all things rejoice, because that’s the right thing to do. (1 Thessaonians 5:16; Philippians 4:4)
  2. Honor His Wishes
    Give weight to what your husband thinks is important. Make those things a priority that matter most to him, whether it’s having dinner ready when he gets home from work or keeping the house tidy or limiting computer time. Don’t make him ask twice. (Philippians 2:4)
  3. Give Him Your Undivided Attention
    Yes, I know that women are masters of multi-tasking, but when your husband is speaking to you, make a point to lay other tasks aside, look into his eyes, and listen to what he is saying with the goal of understanding and remembering his words.
  4. Don’t Interrupt
    Have you ever been around a person who won’t let you finish a sentence? That gets old fast. Even if you think you already know what your husband is going to say, allowing him to say it without cutting him off mid-sentence shows both respect and common courtesy.
  5. Emphasize His Good Points
    Sure, he has his faults (as do you), but dwelling on them will only make you (both) miserable. Choose instead to focus on those qualities in your husband that you most admire. (Philippians 4:8)
  6. Pray for Him
    Ruth Graham advises wives to “tell your mate the positive, and tell God the negative.” Take your concerns to God. Faithfully lift up your husband in prayer every day, and you will likely notice a transformation not only in him, but in yourself, as well. (Philipians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  7. Don’t Nag
    Your husband is a grown man, so don’t treat him like a two-year-old. Leave room for God to work. You are not the Holy Spirit, so do not try to do His job.
  8. Be Thankful
    Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Don’t take your husband for granted. Be appreciative for everything he does for you, whether big or small. Always say thank you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20)
  9. Smile at Him
    Smiles spread happiness. Smiles have even been shown to create happiness. Smiles are contagious. And a smile makes any woman more beautiful.
  10. Respond Physically
    Did you know that the way you respond (or don’t respond) to your husband’s romantic overtures has a profound effect on his self-confidence? Don’t slap him away when he tries to hug you or make excuses when he’s in the mood. Your enthusiastic cooperation and reciprocation will not only assure him of your love, but will make him feel well-respected, too. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
  11. Eyes Only for Him
    Don’t compare your husband unfavorably to other men, real or imaginary. It is neither fair nor respectful and will only breed trouble and discontent. Avoid watching movies or reading books that might cause you to stumble in this area, as well. (Psalm 19:14; Proverbs 4:23)
  12. Kiss Him Goodbye
    I once read about a study done in Germany which found that men whose wives kissed them goodbye every morning were more successful than those who weren’t kissed. Success and respect often go hand-in-hand, so be sure to send him off right, and don’t forget to greet him with a kiss when he returns home, for good measure. (2 Corinthians 13:12)
  13. Prepare His Favorite Foods
    Although the rest of the family is not overly-fond of spaghetti, my husband loves it, so I try to make it at least two or three times a month as a way to honor him. Next time you’re planning meals, give special consideration to your husband’s preferences. (Proverbs 31:14-15)
  14. Cherish Togetherness
    I love to sit near my husband, whether at home or away. Our church shares potluck dinners every Sunday afternoon, and although the men and women normally sit separately to visit, I like to position myself close enough to my husband that I can listen to the conversation, as I think everything he says is so interesting. At home, I’ll take my book or handwork to whatever room in the house he’s working in, just to be close to him, because I enjoy his company, even when neither of us is talking.
  15. Don’t Complain
    Nobody wants to be around a whiner or complainer. It is grating on the nerves. Remember the serenity prayer: accept the things you can’t change, courageously change the things you can, seek wisdom to know the difference. (Philippians 2:14)
  16. Resist the Urge to Correct
    I know one wife whose spouse can’t tell a story without her stopping him fifteen times to correct inconsequential details: “It wasn’t Monday evening, it was Monday afternoon…. It wasn’t blue, it was turquoise…. He didn’t ride the bus, he took a shuttle.” Please. Please. Please. Don’t ever do that to your husband — or to anyone else, for that matter! (Proverbs 17:28)
  17. Dress to Please Him
    Take care of your appearance. Choose clothes your husband finds flattering, both in public and around the house.
  18. Keep the House Tidy
    To the best of your abilities, try to maintain a clean and orderly home. Seek to make it a haven of rest for your entire family. (Proverbs 31:27)
  19. Be Content
    Do not pressure your husband to keep up with the Jonses. Take satisfaction in the lifestyle he is able to provide for you. (1 Timothy 6:6-10; Hebrews 13:5)
  20. Take His Advice
    Do not dismiss his opinions lightly, especially when you’ve asked for his counsel in the first place. Make every effort to follow your husband’s advice.
  21. Admire Him
    Voiced compliments and heartfelt praise are always welcome, but you should also make it your habit to just look at your husband in a respectful, appreciative way. Think kind thoughts toward him. He’ll be able to see the admiration in your eyes. (Luke 6:45)
  22. Protect His Name
    Honor your husband in the way you speak of him to family and friends. Guard his reputation and do not let minor disagreements at home cause you to speak ill of him in public. Live in such a way that it will be obvious to others why your husband married you in the first place. (Proverbs 12:4; 22:1)
  23. Forgive His Shortcomings
    In the words of Ruth Bell Graham, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Please do not hold grudges against your husband. Do not allow a root of bitterness or resentment find a home in your heart. Forgive your husband freely, as Christ has forgiven you. (Mark 11:25; Matthew 18:21-35)
  24. Don’t Argue
    You are not always right, and you do not always have to have the last word. Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.” Be willing to accept the blame. It takes two to argue, so “abandon a quarrel before it breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14; 21:19; 25:24)
  25. Follow His Lead
    If you want your husband to lead, you must be willing to follow. Neither a body nor a family can function well with two heads. Learn to defer to your husband’s wishes and let final decisions rest with him. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

 

Proverbs 18:22 tells us, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Do these 25 things consistently, and your husband will never have trouble believing that fact.

 


UPDATE: After posting the above suggestions for wives, I received many requests for a similar guide for husbands. You can now find just such a list posted on my husband’s blog: 25 Ways to Show Your Wife You Love Her. Read it and let him know what you think.

Also, for those who have requested printable versions of these articles, you’ll find the list for wives here and the one for husbands here, with an option to print either article in its entirety or as a one-page summary.

25 Ways to Show Your Wife You Love Her

 

 


The key to a successful marriage is putting your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. Here are 25 practical suggestions gleaned from 25 years of happy marriage.

 

  1. Listen
    To be truly heard is the longing of every human heart, and your wife is no exception. It sounds simple, but listening can be harder than it seems with so many distractions around us and within us. Set aside some time every day to look into your wife’s eyes and really listen to what she has to say. You may be surprised at what you hear. (James 1:19, Matthew 11:15)
  2. Communicate
    Don’t make her guess what you are thinking or feeling.
  3. Sing Her Praises
    Shamelessly brag about her good qualities and quietly pray about her bad ones. Her reputation is your reputation. (Proverbs 31:28-29)
  4. Pray For Her and With Her
    Praying on your wife’s behalf not only enlists the help of the Almighty, but also puts her and her needs at the forefront of your heart and mind, right where they belong. Praying alongside your wife will strengthen your relationship like nothing else. Studies show that couples who regularly pray together stay together, enjoying a 1% divorce rate compared to the usual rate of 50% or more. (Philippians 4:6; Matthew 18:19)
  5. Value Her Individuality
    Your wife is wonderfully unique. Don’t compare her to your mom, or your ex-wife, or your old girlfriend. Your mom may make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, but unfavorable comparisons won’t win you brownie points.
  6. Put the Seat Down
    Perpetually raised toilet seats are a pet peeve of wives everywhere. And while you’re at it, tidy up a bit. A little consideration goes a long way. (Philippians 2:4)
  7. Throw Your Dirty Clothes in the Hamper
    It’s likely just a few steps from wherever you are dropping them anyway. Make this a habit, and it will let your wife know your don’t consider her your personal maid.
  8. Turn Off the T.V.
    Lay aside the video games, pocket the iPhone, and shut off the computer, as well. It is staggering how many hours we waste gazing at some sort of screen instead of interacting with the real people in our lives. Consciously set limits on your tube-time, whatever form it takes. Use the time saved to invest in your marriage: take a walk with your wife or play a board game together instead. (Psalm 90:12)
  9. Loosen the Purse Strings
    We all have to keep an eye on our budget, but an occasional splurge can be well worth it. Seemingly frivolous things like flowers, jewelry, and overpriced restaurants let her know that she is more valuable to you than a number in your bank account.
  10. Practice Servant-Leadership
    All organizations have a hierarchy. It’s impossible to function without one, but being a leader isn’t the same as being a dictator. The best role model is Jesus Christ, not Joseph Stalin. Jesus washed his disciples feet and then died on their behalf. It’s a challenge to exercise authority while maintaining a spirit of humility, but that is what being a godly leader entails. (Matthew 20:28, Philippians 2:1-8; Mark 9:35)
  11. Remember that Intimacy’s a Two-Way Street
    Unfortunately, men are notoriously selfish in the bedroom, yet are dumbfounded when their wives are less than enthusiastic in this arena. Make this area of your relationship as pleasurable for her as it is for you and it will pay huge dividends. It may mean washing the dishes or helping with the kids, so that she has energy left at the end of the day. It may mean cuddling and candlelight, so that she can relax and let the worries on her mind drift away. If you aren’t sure where to begin, just ask her, and then listen. (1 Corinthians 7:3)
  12. Give Her Time to Herself
    Everyone needs an occasional break to rest and recharge, and this is especially important for a wife who is at home all day with young children. Yet it’s very easy to neglect this legitimate need unless you regularly and intentionally schedule time for it. (Luke 5:16)
  13. Set Aside Couple Time
    Soak in the tub together each evening or go on a date night once a week — whatever gets the two of you alone on a regular basis. (Genesis 2:24-25)
  14. Be Careful with Female Friendships
    We all have friends and colleagues of the opposite sex, but tread cautiously. Not all affairs are physical ones. Honoring your marriage vows means remaining faithful in thought and word as well as in deed. (Matthew 5:27-28)
  15. Use Good Hygiene
    It is amazing how meticulous guys can be prior to marriage in their attempts to impress a girl, but once they walk down the aisle, all bets are off. Clean up a little; I promise it won’t kill you.
  16. Limit the Gross Stuff
    Few women find burping and farting nearly as hilarious as the typical guy does. Good manners are always a win. (Ephesians 5:4)
  17. Be Patient
    In whatever way this applies to you and your situation, apply it. (1 Corinthians 13:4, Proverbs 14:29)
  18. Cherish Her Children
    A mother’s bond to her children runs immeasurably deep. When you invest time or energy in them, you are investing in her as well. Kindness to them counts as kindness to her. (Malachi 4:6)
  19. Choose Her Over Hobbies and Buddies
    Invariably there will come times in your relationship when you will be forced to choose between your wife and something else that you enjoy. Always choose her.
  20. Provide for Her Needs
    This is so much more than just putting food on the table. It is all-encompassing. Whether it is physical needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, you name it — do your best to provide. Sometimes life’s circumstances hinder us in one area, but we can compensate in another area. Often the effort is as important as the outcome. (Galatians 6:2)
  21. Dial Down the Anger
    Your caveman instincts are handy on the battlefield, but horrible for a happy home life. Every outburst or flare-up is a relationship setback. To go forward, the first step is to stop going backwards. Learn to control your temper or it will control you, your marriage, and every other aspect of your life. Just because your wife puts up with it and your co-workers tolerate it, doesn’t make your short fuse an asset. Do whatever it takes to gain victory in this all-important struggle that has haunted man since Cain slew Abel. (Ecclesiastes 7:9, Ephesians 4:31)
  22. Cut Out the Condescension
    If you have been blessed with a quick wit, you can either be the life of the party or a pain in the neck depending on the circumstances. Condescension is anger’s younger brother. It isn’t as loud or as dramatic, but it can be equally hurtful and all the more so for its subtlety. Lay off the snide remarks, the sarcasm, and the belittling. Speak to your wife in the same way that you would speak to a respected colleague. She is, after all, your partner in the most valuable investment of your life — your family.(, (Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 3:19)
  23. Actively Seek Your Wife’s Insights
    Value her input and give it a preferential place in your decision-making process. (Proverbs 19:20; 12:15)
  24. Learn to Forgive
    Freely forgive your wife’s past, present, and future offenses. Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel and at the heart of every meaningful relationship. (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)
  25. Verbally Express Your Love
    There are lots of ways to show your love, but women still like to hear it spoken.

 

Obviously no list is comprehensive, and one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but hopefully this one will prompt you to compile a list of your own, tailor-made for your own wife. For any women reading this blog, you may be interested to know that my wife has published a similar list entitled 25 Ways to Show Respect to Your Husband. Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

Also, for those who have requested printable versions of these articles, you’ll find the list for wives here and the one for husbands here, with an option to print either article in its entirety or as a one-page summary.

A Call to Biblical Womanhood

by Nancy Leigh DeMoss 

 

Due to the modern feminist revolution, the value of women has come to be equated with their roles in the community and in the marketplace. Relatively little value is assigned to women’s roles in the home.

 

Today, no bouquets are handed out to women for being reverent and temperate or modest and chaste or gentle and quiet. Women are rarely applauded for loving their husbands and children, for keeping a well-ordered home, for caring for elderly parents, for providing hospitality, or for carrying out acts of kindness, service, and mercy. In other words, little attention is paid to the kinds of accomplishment that the Word of God says women should aspire to (1 Timothy 5:10; Titus 2:3-5).

 

The feminist revolution was supposed to bring women greater fulfillment and freedom. But I can’t help feeling a sense of sadness over what has been forfeited in the midst of the upheaval—namely, the beauty, the wonder, and the treasure of the distinctive makeup of women.

 

It should come as no surprise that the secular world is confused about the calling of women. What I find more distressing is the extent to which feminism has taken hold within the evangelical world.

 

The Feminist Revolution Comes to the Church

 

As prominent Christian speakers, authors, and leaders promote an agenda that encourages women to define their worth in the workplace, in society, or at church, we see modern feminism at work within evangelicalism. These same leaders minimize women’s roles in the home as daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers. They don’t seem to see women as bearers and nurturers of life, as caregivers, as those privileged to shape the character of the next generation.

 

We see the fruit of this revolution in women who are sinking in a quagmire of divorce and remarriage and wayward children. We see it in women who are exhausted from trying to juggle the demands of one or more jobs, function as single parents, and remain active at church. We see it in women who are disoriented and confused, who lack a sense of purpose for their lives, and who are perpetually shrouded in woundedness, self-doubt, resentment, and guilt.

 

Yes, the feminist revolution has come to the church. And when I add up all the gains and losses, there is no question in my mind that women have been the losers.

 

As have their husbands and their children and grandchildren. As has the church. As has our lost, unbelieving culture.

 

A Counter-Revolution of Biblical Womanhood

 

Some years ago a fresh mission began to stir within my heart. Since that time, hope and excitement have replaced my sense of pessimism and of being swallowed up by the feminist revolution.

 

A study of the development of modern feminism (feminism itself actually dates back to the Garden of Eden) impressed me with the fact that this massive revolution did not begin as a massive revolution. It started in the hearts of a handful of women with an agenda—women who were determined and intentional in their efforts.

 

I began to wonder what might happen in our day if even a small number of devoted women would begin to pray and believe God for a revolution of a different kind—a counter-revolution—within the evangelical world. What would happen if a “remnant” of women were willing to return to the authority of God’s Word, to embrace God’s priorities for their lives and homes, and to live out the beauty and the wonder of womanhood as God created it to be?

 

Your Place in the New Revolution

 

Unlike most revolutions, the counter-revolution I envision does not require that we march in the streets or send letters to Congress or join an organization. It does not require us to leave our homes. (In fact, for many women, it calls them back into their homes.) It requires only that we humble ourselves, that we learn, affirm, and live out the biblical pattern of womanhood, and that we teach the ways of God to the next generation.

 

I invite you to become a part of this counter-revolution, believing that in God’s time the changes that will result will be more profound and on a higher order than any of the sociopolitical changes our world has experienced in this generation.

 

Making it personal

 

Does the call to a counter-revolution in favor of biblical womanhood resonate in your own heart? If so, be an example of a godly woman to the world. And pray that others will heed the counter-revolutionary call too.

© Revive Our Hearts. Adapted from Biblical Womanhood in the Home edited by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Used with permission. http://www.TrueWoman.com

How Do We Reform The Way We Think About Our Children?

Advanced Family Strategies CD #1

By, Doug and Beall Phillips

How do we reform the way we think about our children?

The Problem: We live in a culture that is constantly disparaging of the family, a culture that emphasizes fragmentation, as opposed to family unity. Consequently a culture that emphasizes selfishness. We are instructed to have our “me time”, (IE- advertisements of all these activities for kids for the summer otherwise how are parents going to make it through the summer if you have to spend all day with your kids.) The message: “Get away from your kids and lead your own life.”

Attitude #1: “My children are just a pain in the neck!  There are just too many problems, constant problems! Help!”

Attitude #2: “My children are so expensive!”

Some parents feel their real joy & happiness is when they get away from their kids.

We are laying up our treasure in our private time and our entertainment & our own adult peer groups & agendas. That becomes the idolatry of our lives.

Language of division and fragmentation is another problem. The way we talk to our children and about our children contributes to the way we think about them.  When we look at scripture we see a tender language between fathers and sons, “Son give me your heart let your eyes observe my ways.”  (Prov 23:26)

Dishonorable talk in our homes is another problem. When you speak honorably about someone, you will begin to feel  honor toward them.  If speaking negatively (“The old ball and chain”) we begin to think negatively about that person. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

The goal for this topic is to set a “Joy Goal”: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”. (3 John 4)

Whatever joy I have in work or with my friends, it’s not as important as seeing my children walk in truth.

How do we cultivate this in our home?

Look at our children & imagine them as old men and women. We will long be gone from this earth when they are 80 years of age. What kind of legacy will we be leaving them? We are looking at a person who will stand before the Lord & hopefully will impact hundreds or more for the kingdom of God.  All the hope of the future rests on our children. Understand that we don’t own these children , God does. We are just stewards of them. This helps remind us of the responsibility we have toward God & not just looking at their behavior and worry about what others will think if they act a certain way. We as parents need to get over our selfishness & ask ourselves, ”What is the big picture of this child’s life?”

Do not wait for tomorrow to enjoy our children. Delight in your children. Our duty is to discipline them, but also delight in them as our reward.  It is an honor that we get to work with our children for this short time. The act of enjoying our children is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Not in just watching their soccer game. Delight in the fact that they are reading for the first time, that they are learning and growing, that they are hugging you.

Delighting in them doesn’t come naturally for all of us. There are things we can do to reform our actions:

#1 Affirming our kids every single day:

#2 Being physical with our children: Kissing, hugging, playing

#3 Get a good nights sleep!

#4 Don’t put our children on our checklist for the day. Develop a relationship with them.

Don’t wait until they are gone and then say,”Why didn’t I spend more time with them?”

Is He Ready to Lead? By, Voddie Baucham

When we talk about being godly women, we go to Proverbs 31 or Titus 2 for our instruction. But there isn’t a “Proverbs 31 man”. So where do we go to find what the Bible says about being a godly man? In Voddie Baucham’s sermon “The Four P’s: Is He Ready To Lead”, we find that the Bible has a lot to say about what being a godly man looks like in Titus 1:5-16.
~CM

Titus 1:5-16

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop[b] must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

The Elders’ Task

10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

The Bible says that one of the consequences of not following these guidelines is that a husband/father will not have his prayers be heard.

What are the Four Ps?

  1. Prophet- to instruct
  2. Priest- to pray for and with
  3. Provider- responsible to provide home, food..etc. for his family
  4. Protector- willing to die to protect his family (women and children first)
            The first qualification of an elder includes; modeling a godly family life. (Titus 1:6) Paul says that this man must be “the husband of one wife” meaning he must be a one-woman kind of man. He also says that “his children are believers and are not open to debauchery and insubordination”. In his sermon Dr. Baucham believes that, “his children are faithful” is the best translation for this particular section of this verse. No father can guarantee the conversion of his children, but he can ordinarily ensure that they act in a “faithful” way.  Therefore this qualification is not focusing on his children’s disobedience, but rather how he reacts to the child’s disobedience. Overall this man must have one wife and faithful children in order to qualify as a potential elder.
 
The next qualification is; modeling Christian character. (Titus 1:7-8) To be above reproach does not mean that he must be perfect, which is not obtainable in this life, but he must be, “blameless in his outward conduct.  He is to be upright and just in his dealings with others. The elder is to be the kind of man that no one suspects of wrongdoing and immorality, the kind of man that people would be surprised or shocked to hear charged with such acts. It’s certainly not that he is sinless, but that his demeanor and behavior over time has garnered well-deserved respect and admiration from others.”
“He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain…” (Titus 1:7) If a man is above reproach then, the aforementioned deeds would less likely be seen in his character. What you would notice about him is that he strives to be “… hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” (Titus 1:8) The attributes for sons and potential spouses for daughters shouldn’t be far off from these.
 
The last qualification of an elder is; to hold to, teach, and defend sound doctrine. (Titus 1:9) ”A pastor or elder must have the ability to teach. This includes both teaching what is right and correcting error. The reason for this emphasis is clear from what follows in verses 10-16.” (Titus:9) As Dr. Baucham put it, many may think that this particular characteristic doesn’t apply to parents raising sons but it does. If a young man is holding firm to the word of God, defending it, teaching it, and all the while applying it to his life, the other qualifications (such as verses 7-8) will fall in place.  Dr. Baucham says in his sermon, that a Christian man’s job is to wash his wife in the water of the word (Eph. 5:26) and bring his children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

Ultimately these qualifications, characteristics/character traits  are important for every Christian man, not just elders. Paul wanted Titus to go to the home, find an ordinary family man who is walking out the Christian life as a husband and father and then appoint him as an elder in the church. By reading the Old Testament we can learn a thing or two from the Patriarchs and many other men who did their duty as a husband and a father.