Epaphroditus and Lazy Christians

Epaphroditus was a guy mentioned in the book of Philippians. He was one of Paul’s helpers in the ministry whom Paul thanked publicly.

Epaphroditus nearly died but was spared by God, much to Paul’s relief. But this is not a story about healing, it’s a story about why this man almost died.

“Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”

Epaphroditus almost killed himself doing the ministry that other guys should have been doing.

There is a saying that 20% of the church does 80% of the work, I have yet to see anything that would change those numbers. If anything, I’d skew those numbers to the worse.

Someone does the work of the ministry, and the faithful ones give way beyond what they should have to because unfaithful ones won’t turn over in bed.

Epaphroditus apparently did it without complaint, probably didn’t view it as Paul did, and was seemingly happy to serve Christ in this way. Perhaps his faithfulness allowed others to be lazy.

I don’t know. But the question is, which will we be? An Epaphroditus who gives all he has to serve or a normal Christian who takes it easy and lets the busy guy kill himself?

Changing Men

I’ve been married for over 15 years. I am a different guy than I was 15 years ago, mostly for the good (bad being I’m fatter and softer). I would chalk up most of my change to the fact that I live with a woman.

However, I wouldn’t say that my wife changed me, but more that I changed because I had a wife. Being married caused me to confront issues in life I’d probably never confront otherwise.

I lived on my own for four years before I was married. I ate well, did laundry regularly, showered on an almost daily basis, got myself around, stayed out of debt, cooked and cleaned.

I did not require a wife to stay alive, I was doing just fine. I got married because I knew I was fine on my own but I wanted a wife and kids. I wanted to share my awesomeness with others. Oh, how I’ve fulfilled that one!

I did change because I’m married, but I can honestly say that my change has been from a spiritual source, not from my wife. My wife has driven me to the Word countless times for uh, various reasons.

If I had not gotten married I would not have faced such things to drive me to the Word, and I imagine the same is true if I had remained single. Either way, Christ sanctifies me.

My wife has also changed and she also chalks up her change to spiritual reasons, but also strongly maintains I had much to do with teaching spiritual things, but I wouldn’t say the same toward her.

Women can’t stop wanting to change their men, but the only way it happens is if the Lord changes them. Pray for them, ask them questions about the Bible not your pastor, respect them, and love them.

Judge Judy is filled every day with young women who gave young men money, trying to change the guy. The guy never changes but does take the money. Soon he’ll find another source of income and refuse to change.

Men have such major, diseased issues there is no woman on earth that can possibly rescue him from them. Men can only be changed by Christ.

Women, grasp this truth: Men will take your money, but they’ll never give you change.

Satan’s Women Who Want to Change Men

1 Peter 3:7 describes women as strengthless tools to be treated with honor and a husband should know this and treat her accordingly.

Experience demonstrates the inverse (wow, big words so early in the morning). What I mean is, I aint never seen that.

Instead what I see is a band of strong women who desire their men to change completely. Women are seemingly obsessed with making a guy different, changing them so they are more compatible.

Changing the spouse seems to be a female thing. Sure, there are men who would change their women, but we give up easier. Women don’t stop.

Young women are especially susceptible to this. They fall for jerks routinely in the hopes that they can save them, change them into upstanding males.

Marriage illustrates Christ’s relationship to the Church (Ephesians 5). That being the case, should women desire to change their men? Is changing your man similar to the Church desiring to change Christ? Is there a man on earth who desires a woman to change them?

What part of submission says, “Hey, stop doing that! Start doing this!”

Who is supposed to change a man? The Holy Spirit–remember yesterday’s post that men are part of the Bride of Christ. In Ephesians 5 the only person who sanctifies the other is the husband sanctifying the wife as Christ did the Church.

Men will change their wives one way or the other. There are far fewer men who have been changed by their wives, yet most men have given up trying to sanctify their wives and most women can’t stop trying to change their man.

Then again, I’m just an arrogant, white male, what do I know?

1 Peter 3:7 and Men

1 Peter 3:7 tells husbands to honor their wives as wives are strengthless tools. There is much cause for alarm at this sentence.

Women are offended by such language. Modern depictions of women are that they need to work, run the house, confront bad guys and knock them out with one kick to the face, be sexually arousing at all times and yet have supper on the table when desired.

Men sin their own way in relation to this language. We feel superior, we mock women, make them insecure while bolstering our own machismo. We ignore their needs because their needs are weak and unnecessary while our needs shape the world.

Women are driven to show their strength, to prove they are not weak. Men are determined to make sure women never forget their weakness. Much sickness and pain ensues.

1 Peter 3:7 has implications for men. Men who are believers, men who would actually listen to 1 Peter 3:7 in faith, must understand that according to God we who are in the Church are the Bride of Christ.

Yup, all you strong men are women.

The Church is the Bride of Christ, believing men are part of that Bride and thus, oh you strong man, you are a strengthless tool that Christ cherishes with all His love.

1 Peter 3:7, Cats and Vases

I am a life-long despiser of cats. When I was a boy we had a cat and a dog. The cat became my sisters, and the dog became mine.

Dogs are cool. Dogs can be trained to get stuff, to go for walks, catch things, lead the blind, etc. Cats sleep and don’t come when called. They do nothing and, being a man, I have no use for a cat.

Women generally like cats and men like dogs. Dog is man’s best friend. I would have little problem referring to cats as strengthless tools and they do arouse contempt in me, especially when people spend actual money on them.

Vases are things you put flowers in. Vases are pointless unless you have flowers. Flowers are dumb because they die. There is no point for a flower to be in my house because it will die, attract bugs, and bother my nose.

People, from what I’ve heard, spend money on vases and flowers. I do not, such things are strengthless tools to me.

I despise people who have houses filled with stuff you can’t touch. Things that were too expensive to use let alone touch. Why honor strengthless tools?

I never understood it and still am puzzled by it. But I am becoming more and more aware of this issue in my life and some of the issues I have with women folk in my life. There is a connection.

Whether our society acts as though 1 Peter 3:7 were true or not, men we must be aware of this inherent trait in us and seek to love our wives.

1 Peter 3:7

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. There are some words of God that require more faith than others! Do we believe all of them, or just the ones we’re comfortable with?

“Giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel” is a phrase of God’s word that causes many a person to confront whether they have faith or not.

Let’s define some terms:

Honour: to value, put a precious price on
Weaker: without strength, feeble
Vessel: an implement, equipment or apparatus

The gist is: treat as an expensive yet strengthless tool.

Modern culture views this thinking as wrong, yet the Bible says husbands are to act with this knowledge and if they don’t their prayers won’t be heard by God.

I had a snowblower once that I affectionately referred to as “The Snow Whisperer.” It had no strong desire to move snow to my constant annoyance. I did not treat this strengthless tool with honor.

No, I believe I threw it a couple of times. Men have an inherent difficulty loving tools that are too weak to be effective, which is why my new snowblower was the absolute biggest I could afford. It’s called “overkill.”

Knowing this is true, the Bible also says, “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Don’t let their weakness make you despise and resent, but rather let it foster honor.

C. S. Lewis on Pride

There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in
the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any
people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves.

I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot
keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards.

I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse
himself of this vice.

And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others.

There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves.

And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride. . . .

. . . In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is
to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?”

The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s

It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed
at someone else being the big noise.