Give Not Thy Strength

The first principle king Lemuel’s mother teaches him is: “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.” (Pr 31:3) A man devoting a disproportionate amount of strength to pursuing women is one thing; giving away his strength in the process is quite another, and seems to be the larger point in the instruction.

A strong, confident man is naturally attractive to women, and this is a good thing, encouraging men to be strong in body, soul and spirit. (1Co 16:13) God has designed men with this capability and tendency so they can protect and bless women, since women are the weaker gender. (1Pe 3:7) God commands men to pursue strength and develop it (1Co 16:13), so men ought not neglect, compromise or relinquish their strength. (Ps 84:7)

Men should bring their strength to any relationship, especially with a woman, rather than looking to women to strengthen them. Women want to draw strength from men, to sense their confidence and capability, to be able to depend on them, to be supported, defended and protected.

A weak, frail, incompetent man who refuses to strengthen himself as well as he can, sabotaging himself such that he depends on women for validation, does no one any favors in this; it is a perversion of God’s design. In looking for his strength, a woman may quickly sap what little he has, and find him unable to support and stabilize her in a crisis, or worse, find herself dominating and disrespecting him … causing the Word of God to be blasphemed (Tit 2:5) and frustrating them both. (Est 1:17-18)

When a man believes he’s weak without a woman’s affirmation, he buys into the lie that he’s not uniquely fashioned in the likeness of God, made directly in His image for a unique and significant purpose. This undermines his confidence, such that he becomes more fearful of women, more easily threatened and intimidated by them, and dependent on their acceptance in a way that defrauds them both of what God has designed him to be.

The truth is that Man is made in the image and glory of God differently than Woman, and this is good for both men and women. Man is made directly in the image of God (Ge 1:27); Woman is made in the image and glory of Man, in the image of God in Man: she is an image of an image of God. (1Co 11:7) This is intrinsic to God’s design, empowering a synergistic, interdependent one-flesh relationship between husband and wife which enables them to fulfill their mutual destiny together. (Ge 1:28) A man should respect this design, and guard his dignity here for both their sakes. (1Ti 2:11)

In pursuing strength, a wise man looks to God to strengthen him (Ps 18:32); he does not look to women. He is unashamed of involuntary weakness, and will routinely take stock of his particular aptitudes and capabilities, asking God to enable and quicken him (Ps 143:11), always growing stronger. (Pr 24:5) As he pursues God he finds dignity in God’s design, sufficiency in God’s grace (2Co 12:9), and power for his journey in Christ. (Php 4:13)

Though unafraid to face his own weaknesses, a man ought not to seek weakness, voluntarily weakening himself, either by speaking so as to make himself appear inappropriately vulnerable or deficient, or by neglecting to discipline and exercise himself physically, mentally and emotionally. He should always act in a manner that engenders respect (Ec 10:1), both for himself and for others. (1Pe 2:17)

God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2Ti 1:7) This is true for all of us, for both men and women, but in a day of role-reversal corruption and proliferating anti-male sentiment, this reminder is particularly needful for men.

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3 thoughts on “Give Not Thy Strength”

  1. Tim,

    Enjoyed your input on give not your strength to women. A practical example would be in relation to Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.”

    Ex refers to any man’s ex-wives. Current refers to any man’s current wife.

    Since the husband is the head of the wife, and a good percentage of men have exs, it seems scriptural to hold the man [more accountable] for failures either with the ex or the current. The head bears the brunt of the responsibility. Other than sexual selfishness which men may fall into if not careful, would be interested in anyone’s comment on the following points.

    1. Was an ex better off or worse off for having [oneself] as the [head]? In what ways was she better off? In what ways worse off?
    2. What should I learn from either failure with an ex or a current in leading the household to submit to the Almighty?
    3. Have I actually repented for being a [false] head in many ways?
    4. Did my [head-ship] in the family bless the fruit of my wife’s womb? Where was I faithful? Where was I unfaithful?
    5. Have our ex’s or currents been wounded by our headship to the point of bitterness?
    6. What does our Father think of how we treated His daughter?

    As a man, scripture leads me to believe that we men ought to repent in this area. Any women out there reading this blog, your input is invited as to how men fail to be [godly] heads of households. Perhaps we can learn something from our sisters who have endured the failures of Christian heads of households.

    The Goal:
    “Husbands, love your wives, [even as] Christ also loved the church, and [gave] himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

    The practical steps to achieve this goal we may need to study. Did anyone spend time fasting and praying about whether to marry a certain sister? Did anyone spend time fasting and praying for a sister after marrying her?

    Stephen

  2. Before entertaining any of the above questions, I recommend reading two articles which attempt to lay out the biblical foundation for the home: Of Power and of Love (for husbands), and Be In Subjection (for wives).

    Answering any question related to marriage merely from the standpoint of common culture, or from the feeble, broken witness of the church in our day, is to answer a matter before hearing it; it is a folly and a shame. (Pr 18:13)

  3. Tim,

    I salute your bravery in addressing the topics you speak about. And was glad to see you spoke to concerns that touch the points in my comment.

    There is a generation which is AFTER my generation, after your generation — and the points I try to make are to help them. I have an ex, I have a current. What are the snakes which bit me?

    Give not your strength to women, interestingly is spoken by a mother to a son. Did her husband give his strength to her? The question about fasting and praying before one’s marriage, whether arranged or arranged by self simply points out the FACT that if one enters into marriage without fasting and praying one has already given your strength to women.

    WHO one marries has a profound effect on one’s life. Whether a woman or a man. In the culture of America there are MORE deadbeat dads than deadbeat moms. [my understanding from conversations with medical professionals]. Women need to recognize the characteristics of a head who walks worthy.

    After one is married if one is not fasting and praying for one’s mate, you have again given your strength to woman and vice-versa.

    The six questions asked in my previous comment were to help one grade one’s own self 🙂 — not grade the mate, be it ex or current.

    For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. The verse is taken in the context of communion — which parallels Ephesians

    For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

    The comment in general is geared to understanding and growing in humility, esteeming other better than one’s own self. Includes mates :).

    A story I take some latitude with. I am meek and lowly of heart. Can a man say that in relation to a wife? Lowly of heart. And Yeshua bends to wash Peter’s feet, and Peter is aghast. This is not right he says. You know the story. Do you know the culture? Who were the ones who washed feet? The old washed up wrinkled women who had no families to care for them. [Despised], having no beauty that one would desire them. Certainly not a pole dancer for King Herod. And Jesus identifies with the lowest of the low to wash Peter’s feet and Peter understands it not. This is not a whore with ointment washing the feet of Jesus. This is Jesus [demonstrating in action] what it means to be meek and lowly in heart. If I then your Lord and master, etc.

    I repeat, six questions:

    1. Was an ex better off or worse off for having [oneself] as the [head]? In what ways was she better off? In what ways worse off?
    2. What should I learn from either failure with an ex or a current in leading the household to submit to the Almighty?
    3. Have I actually repented for being a [false] head in many ways?
    4. Did my [head-ship] in the family bless the fruit of my wife’s womb? Where was I faithful? Where was I unfaithful?
    5. Have our ex’s or currents been wounded by our headship to the point of bitterness?
    6. What does our Father think of how we treated His daughter?

    Let us help the generation which comes AFTER us.

    stephen

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