Food for Thought: Spiritual Leadership

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansingb her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” ~Ephesians 5

I’ve been contemplating this past couple weeks a question.  I want one day to marry and that my marriage will glorify God in every way that it should.  I know we are in an imperfect world and so it cannot be perfect or glorify Him completely as it should, but that is no excuse for the effort not to be made.  One of the ways that I see that God wants it to be is that I would submit to my husband and that he would be my spiritual head, just as Christ is the spiritual head of the church.  It’s not that I can’t speak, for I believe that God created Eve to help Adam, and so I am supposed to be a help mate.  But my husband is to be the one who leads me down the road of sanctification.

My question is this: what is the difference between being a spiritual leader and being a helper spiritually?

I was thinking of this question as I went through my bible readings.  In 1 John, I learned that the leader walks in the light with God.  He must love others and obey God’s commands because if he does not then he is a liar and not in the truth.  And when he sins he knows that he was an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who has washed away all his sins.

But these things must be true of a helper as well.

Then I was reading in Philippians.  In chapter 2:3-11 I read about how we are supposed to view others as higher than ourselves and be as Jesus.  Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but made Himself a servant and obeyed the Father, even to death on the cross, and this resulted in glory.  This made me think of a leader.  A leader is a servant, for Jesus said, “27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22).  A leader is obedient to the Father no matter what the cost is. Also, a leader, although putting others as higher than himself, puts the glory of God as higher than even them.  And, just as Jesus is, the leader is an example to those around him.

Can a helper be an example?  Can a helper be obedient to the Father?  Can a helper be a servant?  Can a helper glorify God?  Yes, and the helper should.

But in the end, it is the leader who is and does these things more, for the leader is to be seen by everyone as being like Christ, while the helper is to be seen by everyone as the church.  The helper does all these things, but the leader does them more.  It is on the leader that the helper can trust and lean on, and the leader seeks after the helper for help, but both ultimately find their foundation in the Lord.

What do you think?  What is the difference between a spiritual leader and a spiritual helper?


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